In a pleasant turn of events, conservative Vietnam has fallen in love with a new web series depicting the lives and loves of a group of young gays and lesbians.
The debut episode of My Best Gay Friends garnered more than a million views since it was uploaded on YouTube in in 2012. What’s most surprising is that the show’s characters are treated like well-rounded individuals, rather than broad, insulting stereotypes.
“The images of homosexuals [in Vietnam] are very negative, so audiences have an ugly idea of the community,” series creator Dang Khoa, 21, told The Telegraph. “I see my life as very normal. That’s why I want to bring true images of homosexuals to everyone, to change their perspective on us.”
Most of the cast are gay in real life, as well as on the screen, says Khoa.
While discrimination is widespread in the country, and most gays and lesbians marry members of the opposite sex, there has been some thawing of attitudes towards LGBTs: In August, Hanoi held its first gay Pride parade. More recently, the Ministry of Justice announced the ruling party would be considering marriage-equality legislation at this year’s National Assembly Congress.
“I think, as far as human rights are concerned, it’s time for us to look at the reality,” Justice Minister Ha Hung Cuong told reporters Tuesday. “The number of homosexuals has mounted to hundreds of thousands. It’s not a small figure. They live together without registering marriage. They may own property. We, of course, have to handle these issues legally.”