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Social construction of male homosexualities in Vietnam. Some keys to understanding discrimination and implications for HIV prevention strategy

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This article deals with the social construction of male homosexualities and discrimination against homosexuals in the context of the AIDS epidemic in Vietnam. The main objective is to shed light on the Vietnamese homosexual culture between traditions and globalization, given that our Western ethnocentric terminology to describe “homosexuals” in Vietnam lacks precision. Contacts between Vietnamese society and Western cultures have changed not only the patterns of homosexualities, but also the social status of homosexuals. Homosexuals lost their high social status, and faced stigmatization and discrimination all through the twentieth century; this situation was accentuated with the AIDS epidemic. A better understanding of sexual culture in Vietnam and in South-East Asia will help in reducing stigma and discrimination against homosexuals in the region. In addition, a better understanding of homosexual culture will have implications for further HIV prevention strategies and advocacy of sexual minorities' rights. The article offers some explanations and responses to discrimination processes while exploring the role of “sexual culture” as defined by Herdt.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Montreal, Qu├ębec (Canada)

Publication date: 01 December 2005

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