Shamed Citizens: A Case Study on the Lived Experiences of Mature Vietnamese Queers

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Otgonbaatar Tsedendemberel


LGBTQ communities in Vietnam have recently made progress in terms of legal equality, public visibility, and social acceptance. Major historical events include the first Viet Pride (2012), decriminalization of same-sex wedding ceremonies (2013), and the revised Civil Code to allow trans* people to register under a new gender (2017). However, the “social evils” campaign, as a shaming mechanism through derogatory discourses, has been targeting sexual minorities for not conforming to social and cultural norms. This campaign, as a sign of state and public anxieties towards globalization, HIV epidemic and external influences, has not only marginalized and silenced mature queers, but also intensified the queer movement. Through this qualitative research, the author interviewed 65 LGBTQ individuals and allies, including both young and mature queers of Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, and other cities. Focusing on those who were born before 1970 specifically, the author aimed to explore how the notion of shame characterizes the lived experiences of mature queers to give them voice and to document their lived experiences. While perceived to be passive, shamed citizens, and “silent supporters” of the movement, the author argues that shame has an empowering, transformative capability for mature queers as “decent citizens,” while young queers promote same-sex marriage, and civil and political rights through universal human rights standards. As one of a few communist nations in the world, this case study in Vietnam on advancing the rights of sexual minorities is unique not only in the ASEAN region, but also in the world.

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Tsedendemberel, O. . (2021). Shamed Citizens: A Case Study on the Lived Experiences of Mature Vietnamese Queers. Journal of Human Rights and Peace Studies, 7(2), 324–351. Retrieved from
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