Gay street children need help

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VietNam News English - 33 month(s) ago 6 readings

Most interviewed lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) street children and adolescents are engaged in the sex trade and are alone in their efforts to protect themselves from getting infected with HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

HA NOI —

These findings, from a research on LGBT street children and adolescents in HCM, conducted by the Institute for Studies of Society, Economy and Environment (iSEE) and Save the Children International (SCI), were released in a workshop on protecting the rights of these children yesterday.

PhD Nguyen Thu Nam of iSEE said LGBT street children's lives were full of hazards including irregular meals and sleeping places, lack of health care, threats of violence and harassment, and the potential dangers of HIV and other diseases.

The research results also showed that most of the respondents used tobacco, alcohol or marijuana.

According to the respondents, they had at one time or another experienced discrimination from neighbours and passers-by and had no chances to find a job.

A number of interviewed children also reported instances of psychological abuse, which led to suicide attempts, drug abuse and self mutilation.

Tran Lan Anh (not her real name), a bisexual adolescent told Viet Nam News that she everyday moved from one place to another with a group of five lesbians because they had no money to rent permanent accommodation. Having enough food was also a big problem for them.

"When I applied for manual jobs, the employers refused to hire me and used impolite words, reasoning that because I am not a normal person, I will steal their money," she said.

Lan Anh now does a job as a sex worker to earn money.

The research showed that parental objection regarding gender and sexual identity served as the main push for children to leave home.

Lan Anh said she suffered daily beatings and verbal abuse from her parents when they realised that she was in a relationship with a girl. She left her family at the age of 13.

Hoang Van Tien, deputy head of Department of Child Care and Protection under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs said it was necessary to have better research at a larger scale of LGBT street children so that comprehensive support policies could be given to minimise the risks for these children.

An expert for Centre for Studies and Applied Science for Gender, Family, Women and Adolescents said the centre plans to provide training and jobs for LGBT street children and adolescents in the fields of beauty services and fashion. — VNS

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