“Everyone push together, please! Make room for each other!” the organisers shout above the chatter of over a thousand people cramming into a hotel ballroom clearly too small for their number. It’s mild chaos as they rush to find somewhere to sit or stand, and all free space in the room quickly disappears.
Although squashed together, the attendees of the final day of VietPride 2017: Saigon in late September are excited and enthusiastic. Waving rainbow flags and sporting matching face paint, the young crowd—most of whom appear to be under the age of 30—cheer the oncoming acts on stage: dance groups are followed by same-sex couples playing games of “how well do you know your partner?”, the US ambassador to Vietnam introduces his husband and gives an uplifting speech in broken Vietnamese, and drag queens, in dazzling attire, march proudly up and down the room….
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