Chúc Mừng Năm Mới
February 10, 2013 8 Comments
happy new year everyone! growing up in Vietnam, some of the best memories I have were during new year: no cut in electricity, continuous tv from night of 30th to throughout the 1st, food, firecrackers, visitors, red envelopes, no schools, you name it, two full weeks of happiness. Since we arrived in the US, new year hasn’t quite been the same.. I haven’t joined much new year celebrations… mainly because I don’t particularly identify with the older vietnamese down in Little Saigon except the common love for vietnamese food … namely i have little connection with those who dressed up in old military clothes loudly denouncing communists and supporting wars, or those church goers who preach what they don’t practice… And more importantly, being gay, I had always felt invisible. Even when i came out some 15 years ago, there was a lesson about keeping quiet and not telling anyone else (total BS, i even knew back then, if you are not proud of me, that’s your problem.)
Anyhow, this year, the last few days to be more exact, i’ve felt quite lonely and withdrawn, and i’ve sorted out why. Since 2010, we the vietnamese LGBTQI group had gotten together and participated in the New Year parade in the heart of Little Saigon (the capitol of Vietnam abroad) and those were really the moments I felt belonging. Back in 2010 during our first push for visibility, the homophobes sent harm threats, and for a short moment I debated my own participation. But that’s what they wanted, to bully you into invisibility. To those who claim gays are “a problem of the western world” (you’d be surprised who still thinks so, i once had a heated conversation with my own highly educated colleague), I knew who i was since 7, independent of geography. Altogether, we proudly made our way down the street of Bolsa, and personally i must admit i was extremely happy to finally enjoying Tet as me. (Can i repeat i LOOOVE that dress my sister loaned me, was constantly hogging the cameras smiling :-D).
This year, they tried to exclude us from the parade, citing we’re not part of Vietnamese Culture. And suddenly these feelings of loneliness, anger, resentment, bitterness, the same ones I had before coming out, came rushing back. That’s what it felt like being pushed into non-existence. But luckily, time has changed, i did once manage to come out and live my life, and this year, our group is doing the same. Some of the young and brave leaders within our group have been working extremely hard to keep us visible and thriving today in Little Saigon (we have booth to educate people, and several other groups had invited us to walk in the parade with them to promote unity + equality.) I only wished i could be there having fun celebrating new year with them. But reading the news alone is highly encouraging. Homophobes can try discriminating, it might have worked this year on paper, but that won’t push any of us back into hiding. We will always be part of the community and we will be visible. Happy new year everyone!