To promote family acceptance of LGBTQI people particularly in the ASEAN region, a regional conference was held by the ASEAN SOGIE Caucus with ICS of Vietnam. The workshop eyed to emphasize the key role that families play in the lives of every LGBTQI person.
The workshop brought together pre-selected LGBTQI organizations from across Southeast Asia, and featured members of Vietnam’s Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) as key resource speakers, who shared good practices in promoting family acceptance for LGBTQI persons, and helped participants develop plans of action at the national and regional levels.
“It is not up to debate that LGBTQI people whose families accept them are happier and live better lives,” Dr. Judy Taguiwalo, Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, said in her keynote speech, where she also called on local government units to support campaigns to promote acceptance of LGBTIQ people. “We cannot separate LGBTQI rights from the larger human rights struggle.”
Among the key issues highlighted by participants were the challenges in reconciling LGBTIQ issues 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.
“Southeast Asia is a place of great diversity. And what we want is simple: that people in Southeast Asia embrace that diversity, including sexual and gender diversity,” said Ryan Sylverio, regional coordinator of ASEAN SOGIE Caucus.