Vietnam's capital has held its first-ever gay pride parade. The event reflects a move toward more liberal social attitudes in parts of Southeast Asia.
Dozens of cyclists waving balloons and rainbow flags moved through the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi, on Sunday in a parade organized by the city's Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community.
The event went ahead peacefully and police made no attempt to stop the estimated 100 participants despite their lack of official permission.
"We want people to understand that loving someone of the same sex is not a disease; we are just like everyone else," Huy, a 21-year-old student, said in Hanoi.
It followed a similar event in Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City on Saturday, which saw some 1000 people marching through the city center with rainbow T-shirts and flags supporting gay rights.
Homosexuality remains largely taboo in communist Vietnam, which still has strong patriarchal family values.
However, homosexual relationships are legal, and the country is even considering legalizing same-sex marriage, which is currently forbidden.
A change to the law would make Vietnam the first nation in Asia to allow same-sex unions.
The National Assembly is to discuss a draft revision of the law in May 2013.
Several parts of Southeast Asia are now shifting very gradually toward more liberal views on homosexuality, with gay pride celebrations recently being held in Myanmar and Laos.
tj/ccp (dpa, AFP)