Press Statement on International Day Against Homophobia

Ha Noi, 17 May 2012 – On the occasion of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO), UNAIDS stands together with our gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender friends to celebrate diversity and to speak out against discrimination and violence.


The growing number of IDAHO events held in Viet Nam each year is an indication of the growing confidence of gays, lesbians, bi-sexuals and transgenders (LGBT), and the growing openness and tolerance emerging in Viet Nam. However, LGBT still experience violence and discrimination because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“A society’s value should not be based on money or power. It must be measured by the way it values people, regardless of their sexual orientation or social status. A prosperous society is one that ensures inclusiveness and respects all people,” UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe said in Geneva.

IDAHO’s theme this year is “Combating Homophobia In Education and Through Education”. Every day, students around the world are routinely denied the basic, universal human right to education because of the discrimination and violence they experience in school on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender expression and identity. In a recent online study, 46% of Vietnamese LGBT respondents said they experience discrimination and violence in schools .

Homophobic bullying is a global problem and adversely affects young people’s mental and psychological health. Research has determined that LGBT youth who experience school victimization are more likely to engage in risk behaviours, such as alcohol and substance abuse, selling sex and having unprotected sex. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called it “a moral outrage, a grave violation of human rights and a public health crisis”.

“In observation of IDAHO this year, UNAIDS is full of hope as the LGBT communities in Viet Nam are speaking out more strongly on their rights and contributions to society,” said Mr. Eamonn Murphy, UNAIDS Viet Nam Country Director.

The communities are also playing a critical role in providing HIV services for men who have sex with men. “Their engagement is essential for Viet Nam to achieve the global and national “Getting to Zero” goals: Zero new HIV infections, Zero discrimination and Zero AIDS-related deaths”, Mr. Murphy added. “LGBT communities also can and have capacity to help the battle against violence in education”.


Green One UN House, 304 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh, Ha Noi, Viet Nam