Vietnam’s Health Ministry urged doctors and caregivers not to discriminate against LGBT patients whose sexual or gender orientation is “not a disease” in a policy welcomed by supporters on Tuesday.
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“Do not consider homosexuality, bisexuality or trans identity as a disease,” the ministry wrote after reports from doctors who claimed to be able to treat them.
“Homosexuality cannot be ‘cured’, need not be ‘cured’ and cannot be changed,” reads the document released last week, which calls for “respect” from health care workers.
Vietnam is considered relatively progressive on LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans) issues compared to some other Asian countries, but misconceptions about sexual or gender orientation remain widespread.
In some schools across the country, teachers teach their students that homosexuality is a “mental illness,” lamented the 2020 report by human rights NGO Human Rights Watch.
Young people from the LGBT community are sometimes taken to hospital by their parents to be “treated”, described AFP Nguyen Thi Kim Dung of the Support Center for Community Development Initiatives, an association involved, on the issues.
Others have their doctor’s appointments canceled or have to answer discriminatory questions while they do so, she continued.
This text is “official recognition for the LGBT community that they have the right to access healthcare facilities and the right to be treated equally,” she said.
When the ban on same-sex marriage was officially lifted in 2015, the law to legally recognize such a partnership is still pending. Just like a long-promised law to legalize gender reassignment.