Back Society » Health » Health Ministry Stresses 'LGBT Is Not a Disease' in Response to Rise in 'Gay Cure' Clinics

Vietnam’s Ministry of Health recently issued an official dispatch stressing that homosexuality is not a disease.

According to VnExpress, the document was released to address concerns raised by the Center for Supporting Community Development Initiatives (SCDI) regarding a recent trend among some local medical practices claiming to “cure homosexuality.”

Nguyễn Thị Kim Dung, an official from SCDI, told the news source that her center has received various messages from members of the LGBT community who were taken to hospitals by family members to rectify their “homosexual illness.” Some worried parents also reached out to ask whether to seek treatment for their children. Capitalizing on this anxiety, a number of healthcare providers started advertising “homosexuality cures,” causing confusion among parents and distress for young queer Vietnamese.

In the official dispatch, as shared by the Institute for Studies of Society, Economics and Environment (iSEE), the Ministry of Health acknowledged the presence of these advertisements but did not name the medical facilities in question. The ministry quoted the World Health Organization’s (WHO) stance on homosexuality and its removal from the WHO’s list of mental illnesses in 1990.

The ministry urged all healthcare providers under its network to increase awareness among medical practitioners and healthcare seekers regarding the LGBT community and heed caution during clinical sessions.

These include: “Do not treat homosexuality, bisexuality and transsexuality as a disease” and “Do not coerce members of these groups into medical treatment. If any, only provide psychiatric help, which must be conducted by experts with knowledge of gender identities.”

Most importantly, the health ministry stressed the need for equality in general healthcare procedures: “When undertaking medical care for homosexual, bisexual and transsexual patients, [health professionals] must be fair and respectful of their sexuality and must not discriminate against these groups.”

[Photo: Đà Nẵng residents at a local Pride parade in 2018/Ái Linh via Gia Đình Mới.] 

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