Medical providers in Vietnam have been ordered to end controversial practices like conversion therapy as the Vietnamese Government have said that being gay, transgender, bi-sexual or homosexual is “not an illness”.
In a statement from the country’s health ministry, they declared that being a member of the LGBTQ+ community is not an illness and cannot be treated or “converted in any way.”
It also said that medical professionals should treat LGBTQ+ people with respect and ensure they don’t face discrimination.
The announcement is seen as “a huge paradigm shift” in a nation where LGBTQ+ advocates have campaigned for decades and won tangible reforms in recent years — including removing same-sex unions from Vietnam’s list of banned relationships in 2013 and decriminalising of transgender identity and gender revisions in 2015.
The change also said health workers should not “interfere nor force treatment” on gay patients and emphasizes emotional-behavioural support with “psychological assistance” performed “only by those who have the knowledge of sexual identity.”
It also bans conversion therapy, which has been billed as a way to reprogram a person’s gay tendencies and redirect their expressions of gay identity.
Vietnam’s Health Minister said multiple healthcare facilities around the country were guilty of advertising “cures” for homosexuality.
Kyle Knight, an LGBTQ+ researcher at Human Rights Watch in the US said you could not overstate how big this announcement is.
“As the most trusted source of medical authority in Vietnam, the impact on social perceptions or queerness will be enormous,” Knight said to the Guardian.
“The myth that homosexuality is diagnosable has been allowed to permeate and percolate Vietnamese society. It is an underpinning factor in medical malpractice against LGBTQ+ youth.”
Last Updated on Aug 25, 2022
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