LAOS: US Embassy Supports Nation's First-Ever LGBT Pride Celebration
Laos has held its first-ever LGBT Pride event with the support of the U.S. Embassy.
More than 100 people attended the event, which took place on the sports field of the U.S. Embassy. The guests of honor were U.S. Ambassador Karen Stewart and Dr. Bounpheng Philavong, Director of the Center for HIV/AIDS/STI (CHAS) at the Lao Ministry of Health. During their remarks, both Dr. Bounpheng and Ambassador Stewart congratulated the event organizers for taking an important first step to achieving full acceptance of LGBT people in Lao society.The theme was "Proud To Be Us."
"The message we want to send is that no matter what you look like or where you come from or what your sexual orientation is, every single one of you is a person with value and should be treated with dignity and respect," Ambassador Stewart told the crowd to loud applause. The event drew performers and participation from a number of organizatons that provide outreach and services to Laos' LGBT community, including the Purple Sky Network, Lao Positive Health Association (Lao PHA), Population Services International (PSI), the Burnet Institute, Family Health International (FHI), the Vientiane Youth Center for Health and Development, and UNFPA.