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Celebrating Third World Gay Pride realness

Gay Pride in Vietnam. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre

What do a communist Southeast Asian Third World country and a landlocked republic with a history of corruption in Africa have in common? Gay Pride, naturally.

In what can only be blissfully attributed to Mercury’s latest retrograde — Mercury being the planet that controls communication and even tempers — we on Earth were privy to some unexpected acts of bravery in the face of oppression. Both Vietnam and Uganda held their first Pride marches in uninviting climates, defying the oppression and violence that LGBT citizens live with every day, and inspiring a new term to describe the impossible: Third World Gay Pride realness.

You may have heard about Vietnam not being an ideal place to imagine a gay pride parade (if not as bad as North Korea), but thank God they hadn’t heard the same thing. No permits were granted, but 100 motorcyclists broke out their balloons, streamers (and hopefully a Bedazzler or two) and proceeded to peacefully march through the streets of Hanoi. There was no flack from the police, or protection for that matter. But according to Al Jazeera, there may have been tacit support from locals going through a certain change in their views toward gay people.

Meanwhile, on the neighboring African continent, Uganda — with its inflammatory, atrocious and just plain horrible anti-homosexual laws — fell under a lavender spell as its beaten and ostracized gay community came together (despite arrests and bullying) to host a set of event to celebrate LGBT pride. The events concluded with a beach parade, music, marchers and body glitter (body glitter!!!). The law actually criminalizes practiced homosexuality, or aggravated homosexuality, which is punishable by long-term prison sentences. The LGBT community came out anyway, with a little help and support from our Girl Friday Hillary Rodham Clinton, who visited the country last week and praised the community’s bravery.

For all the advancements that gay Americans have made in the struggle for equal rights, there has been a sort of neutering (just a euphemism, people) some believe needed to happen for us to draw support from mainstream America. And in this age of Modern Family, Glee and GIRLS WHO LIKE BOYS WHO LIKE BOYS, we sometimes forget how much energy, strength and pride comes from our transgressive tendencies. (OK, maybe GWLBWLB’s gives us a little dish that way.) I’m not sure how long before we see more of it exhibited stateside, but I’m so jazzed that gay people living in hostile environments are fighting for their self-respect. You can only beat someone down for so long before they realize there’s nothing left to lose and everything to fight for. And that’s something you can’t get on Glee. #FirstWorldProblems

Photo credit: Tuoi Tre