First Person: Vietnamese man finds ‘true voice’ in gay community

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12/31/2020

Nguyen Trong Hung opened a café in Son La in northwestern Viet Nam to serve as a meeting place for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and to offer HIV testing. While in middle school, realizing that I was gay, the only thing I could do was to torment and blame myself. My father left, my mum passed away, I was transferred from one relative’s house to another and suffered from both physical and mental harassment. This pattern repeated as I grew up. I wandered a lot as a way to avoid my family and all the memories that come with them. One time when I returned home, I noted down everything about my daily life in a diary. I pretended to have forgotten it and left it on purpose in a place where I hoped a family member could find it read my story. Perhaps everybody read it, but no one said a thing. I was walking in limbo for a while, deciding whether to come out or not.

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