A recent workshop in Southeast Asia invites all the regional leaders to speak about the issues of LGBT acceptance. The ASEAN SOGIE caucus is an LGBTI coalition from eight ASEAN member countries. It hosted the weekend workshop with ICS of Vietnam (Information, Connection and Sharing in Vietnam) in Quezon City, Philippines. It was focused on the role of family surrounding for the harmony in LGBT community.
Vietnam’s PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) were the main speakers in the event focusing on the necessity of family values and the special situation. ‘It is not up to debate that LGBTIQ people whose families accept them are happier and live better lives,’ said Dr. Judy Taguiwalo, Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development. Dr Taguiwalo insisted that these issues should be promoted by the local governmental organizations. ‘We cannot separate LGBTQI rights from the larger human rights struggle.’ Participants talked about what the main challenges were in reconciling LGBTI issues. These included; with cultural norms surrounding family, engaging with religious communities and providing safe spaces for parents and other family members to share their concerns and fears openly. One of the parents from PFLAG Vietnam called on everyone to engage with families. ‘Live true to yourself. Love will heal everything in the end,’ they said, ‘We will keep sending to you our love from Vietnam.’