Herve, a French citizen living in Vietnam, shares his thoughts in regards to homosexuals coming out, as well as same-sex marriage.
I have lived in Vietnam for nine years and have never come out because I do not think it is necessary. People I know are aware of my sexual orientation, but why would should I shout from the roofs that I am gay? I don’t see what influence coming out would have on my life, since my work has nothing related to my personal life, and my friends do not hang out with me due to my sexual orientation. If they ask me I will tell them, but if they don’t ask, I don't find any reason to tell them a thing that might affect our friendship. I will not classify a person as gay, lesbian, or heterosexual before I talk to her or him.
Heterosexuals will never say they are heterosexuals when they begin a conversation.
During the time I have spent in Vietnam, I’ve seen that things are not getting better, but are also not getting worse; actually I guess people are free to live their homosexuality in this country. Do not forget nowadays there are still six countries in the world prescribing the death penalty for homosexuality. I know some homosexual girls in Da Lat and they are happy together, but never make it clear to anyone that they’re homosexuals. They are just living their normal lives. I’m also friends with a few gay couples in Saigon who do not want to come out.
In France there is a saying: To live happy, live hidden...
From my point of view, coming out is good for people who are going to be outed by others, that means someone is going to point the finger at them. For example, the current mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoe, publicly revealed his homosexuality in 1998, before his first election in 2001. It was perfect to do his coming out because it’s better to be outed by himself than by other people.
Another reason I do not like young people or teenagersr coming out is I don’t like to see a mother's distress because her son is gay. It’s obvious that any mother hearing that the first time will exclaim “what did I do wrong?”, though she can be happy with her kid’s situation after one or two years.
Live your life, you can be whatever you want, and don’t put a stamp on people. I also don’t want to have a stamp on my forehead saying I’m gay.
Before talk about same-sex marriage, I want to mention heterosexual – homosexual marriage. The statistic showing that 52% of marriages between homosexuals and heterosexuals in Vietnam end up in divorce proves it’s not good at all to force people to get married. I understand for the country of Vietnam, people have to be filial and must have kids. Moreover, if you have more kids, they can take care of you when you get old. However, that time is finished now. In Vietnam, the young generation, even heterosexuals, don’t have to have five kids, because both of them have to work and want to enjoy life at the same time. We cannot ask the old generation to change, but we can ask the middle generation to say no.
In such marriages, I feel sad for the wife more than the husband, because it’s not possible that the wife doesn’t know about her husband’s sexual orientation. The man should say no to the marriage. Nearly all forced marriages finish badly. Don’t do it if you don’t like it. Don’t do it because of your parents or the culture.
Twenty six years ago, my mother asked me when I would get married. I never answered. But I think she has understood and stopped asking. Parents need to understand that their sons or daughters don’t want to get married just because it is not the moment yet. Not only because of homosexuality, also because some prefer to live single.
What I don’t understand is that now, we’re talking about homosexuals being forced to get married with heterosexuals, while at the same time we’re talking about gay marriage. Remember that it takes time to change people’s minds.
I’m certainly not against gays being together because they’re in love, but let’s think about the kids. I think it’s not fair for them.
Early this month when same-sex marriage was legalized in France, there was a massive protest in Paris including not only heterosexuals, but also homosexuals who say "NO to gay marriage", and they claim a kid should have one father and one mother. These people, including me, are scared of medically assisted procreation.
Homosexuals want to get married and have the same rights as heterosexuals, so obviously they also want kids, like heterosexuals, but children can be born from a gay couple only if we practice Medically Assisted Procreation (MAP).
People will buy anonymous sperm and rent a uterus then. There will be no more genealogy, no mother and father, but parent 1 and parent 2.
How come a kid does not have a mother? Even if he is abandoned, he still has a mother! I cannot imagine a young lady of 18 years old wanting to find her roots and cannot figure out who her mother is. What will she say to her kids after? “I had two fathers and no mother?”
In France, I think we should have talked more about what’s happening before legalizing. To me, MAP in this case is something scary.
I agree that gay people, two men, two ladies get together and legalize so they can take care of each other or take the insurance after one of them gets sick or disappears. But I’m against MPA for the kids. Don’t think about two homosexuals having a baby; think about the baby – again I am talking about MPA, not adoption -. I am not against adoption by a gay couple, as the kids can know where they are coming from easily in that case
The problem for me is a semantic problem; the word marriage should be kept for heterosexuals.
In Vietnam, I think it’s not time. Maybe in five more years, but please talk before issuing a law, and see how other countries are handling it.
Allowing gay marriage would only further shift the purpose of marriage from producing and raising children to adult gratification. Gay marriage will accelerate the “assimilation” of gays into mainstream heterosexual culture. The gay community has created its own vibrant culture. By reducing the gap of opportunities and experiences between gay and heterosexual people, this unique culture may cease to exist.