Mapping Queer Hanoi
My attachment with any city or any place becomes stronger whenever I know personal stories associated with specific locations. This guides my eyes and my mind when I pass them. In my mind, I have different pinned locations based on those stories.
Ha Noi city has become a special place because of my strong friendships with queer long residents who know the city very well as well as its history. They told me about their family histories, the dating and hanging –out places which are part of their histories. These stories are rarely known by younger generation or hardly found in the grand narrative in history book.
That happened in 2009, when I had opportunities to meet and to listen to stories of queer folks living in Hanoi. Since then, from one person, I meet another as a snow ball rolling. I heard more new stories but at the same time, some places were mentioned by several people. These places suggested me to think about the marks in memory maps which are personal but also communal of queer, especial old generation living in Hanoi.
As stories I have never heard before or found in history books, I create maps which are based on my memories and my queer story-teller’s memories. Many of them are young queer friends but some older than 50, 60 and some even passed away. By making the maps, I want to hear more stories but also want these stories will be shared to more people, especially queer community to create more connections among personal stories and expand love towards the city we are living and towards each other and build the sense of community based on shared history. Understanding more about the hidden histories, I hope it helps to build a strong sense of community as well as sense of belonging in a place that we hope to live the life we want.
Shelter of LGBTQ
"Vùng an toàn rộng mở - Shelter of LGBTQ" initiated by Vu Kieu Oanh and Group 6+ is collecting stories waiting to be heard. Stories by members of the LGBTQ community who suffered abuse and encountered prejudice in the past but still respect and love themselves.
The stories are presented as audio files and Oanh has built a “safe shelter” which resembles a public booth in which members of the audience to recount and record their own stories. The shelter is covered with soundproof foam and is equipped with a sound recorder. If you too love what makes you you, share your story. There is no need to give your name or personal details. Bare in mind that your story will then be made available for the public to hear.
By inviting everyone to participate and share their experiences, opinions and wishes, Oanh and Group 6+ hope to expand the safe LGBTQ universe.
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Nhung Dinh, graduated at Clark University,USA (2013) with the master degree of the International Development for Social Changes. Nhung Dinh is one of the main curators and organizers of the unstraight exhibition in Vietnam named The Cabinet (Hanoi, March, 2015), Love, Pain and History (Saigon, April 2011. In 2015, Nhung was a consultant of several projects including collecting stories and making an online queer archive in Vietnam, unstraight exhibitions and archive projects in Cambodia and Serbia, and Russia. She conducted stories of transgender people’s livelihood options and HIV risks in Vietnam in September 2015.
Nhung uses multiple methods to collecting stories and one of the methods she has been using consistently since 2010 to present is to invite communities to create art works to tell their life experiences and stories related to sexuality and violence as well as several tabooed and sensitive topics. Currently, she leads a Vagina Talks project and working on the Vietnamese queer lexicon.
Oanh Kieu, based in Hanoi, is interested in the culture of the LGBT community, sexual health, and Mother goddess religion. In 2012, she made an over 2000km cycling trip across Vietnam to bring a message of support for LGBT community. She is a founding member 6+ (six plus) - an independent organization that connecting the LGBT community and supporting their health. She holds meetings to share knowledge about sexual diversity at universities and organizations. She also provides psychological counseling for LGBT people and PFLAG. She is the mentor of the programs to develop leadership capacity of young LGBT people and activities in the other regions. From 2013 to date, she is the core member of the organizing committee VietPride - the largest pride festival for the LGBT community in Vietnam.