community discussion on being gay and vietnamese

Over the weekend in San Jose, a group of activists and couselors held a public meeting to encourage family support for gays and lesbians to talk about what it's like to be gay and Vietnamese: Often difficult to be gay and Vietnamese says panel in frank and open community discussion.
"Please treat us like you would a friend or a son, just like all your other friends and sons," said 22-year-old James Chuong, who told an audience at the San Jose Public Library on Tully Road that he has not been able to speak with his parents and other relatives since they learned he was gay more than two years ago.

"They think we are bad people, and will go to hell," Chuong said in Vietnamese, his words translated by an English-language interpreter. Standing in front of about 60 people, mostly Vietnamese-Americans, Chuong added that he considered suicide when his parents first kicked him out of their home.

"I'm a good student, a good citizen," he said. "I have a hard time trying to figure out what I did to have to bear this stigma."
The event was organized the Gay Vietnamese Alliance and Vuong Nguyen of Song That Radio, a gay-oriented weekly radio broadcast. It was reportedly a really great turnout, considering that organizers were expecting maybe ten people to show up. Hopefully, this is the start of more constructive dialogue among and about gays and lesbians in the Vietnamese American community.

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