Saigon boarding school says no to homosexual students

By Manh Tung   August 10, 2016 | 11:55 pm PT
The homophobic admission policy has stirred up controversy.

Viet Anh High School, a private boarding school in Saigon, has recently published a new enrollment regulation saying that it will not accept homosexual students. Even if a student already attends the school, they will be forced to leave if the school finds out the truth.

Speaking with VnExpress on August 10, school principal Nguyen Manh Duong said that they have changed the phrase "homosexual students" to "students who dress or behave improperly for their registered gender".

“It’s just a subtle change [to the rule]. We maintain our stance on turning down homosexual students at this boarding school," Duong said.

Viet Anh High School has been open for five years but this is the first time the rule has been introduced. The school says that complex situations have arisen involving gay students at the school.

“Boarders eat and sleep together, and even shower in a shared space. This results in uncomfortable situations for all students.”

“We think that homosexual children should have exclusive facilities, but we can't provide them at this time, so we will reject them,” Duong explained.

The principal added that this is not discrimination, just a show of transparency for the admissions process for students and their parents.


Viet Anh High School. Photo by VnExpress/Manh Tung

Ho Thi Xuan, a parent who has just withdrawn a school application for her son, said in anger: “I can’t understand why an educational institute can discriminate in such a blatant way. Now the whole of society recognizes homosexual individuals, so the school’s action is contrary to public efforts.”

She added that her son isn’t gay, but his manner is quite gentle, meek and mild. She was worried her son would be kicked out of the school if they suspected him of being gay, so she withdrew the application.

Tran Binh, whose son enrolled in the tenth grade last year, had a different opinion.

“Honestly, parents are afraid that their children will be living with homosexual kids. Is your child affected or not? I'm not homophobic but I think it’s also difficult to overcome the anxiety.”

Psychologist Dr. Nguyen Hoang Khac Hieu from the National University of Ho Chi Minh City said that admissions criteria vary from school to school.

However, he said that admissions rules and the principal's explanation clearly express discrimination”.

“The most important thing is to ensure that homosexual students can live with others and receive equal treatment. Schools should only enforce disciplinary measures if they break school rules as they would with any other student," said Hieu.

Nguyen Van Hau, vice chairman of the city’s Jurists' Association, told VnExpress that the enrollment regulations at Viet Anh High School are not only a blow to the LGBT community; they also violate Vietnamese laws.

He cited Article 39 of Vietnam’s Constitution saying that all citizens have the right and obligation to learn, and Article 26, which prohibits gender discrimination.

“Obviously all provisions say that Vietnam citizens, regardless of gender or religion, shall enjoy equal rights to education. It doesn't matter if they are homosexual, they are Vietnamese and should enjoy the same rights as every Vietnamese citizen.”

Related news:

Vietnam supports United Nations’ mandate on LGBT rights

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