1. Brian1 says

    Nice article, but the Vietnamese gay rights advocate doesn’t know his neighborhood very well. In no neighboring country are you jailed or whipped for being gay. You’d have to go to Singapore or Malaysia if you wanted to be technically illegal for being gay, and even there nobody is ever punished for being gay. I think you’d have to go all the way to Bangladesh to find a country that actually punishes gays.

  2. Jake says

    Brian1, though you are right that the immediate countries next to Viet Nam do not jail individuals for being gay (China, Laos, Cambodia), you are mistaken in two suggestions: that Malaysia and Singapore are the only countries (even though both are in the SE Asia region) and the fact that nobody is every punished.

    First, Myanmar (Burma) and Brunei both carry jail time for homosexual activity and are also in the region. Myanmar is actual closer to Vietnam than Malaysia or Singapore.

    Second, these countries have had cases in which they use their laws against gay individuals.

    That being said, I agree with the notion that Bangladesh and Westwards is where it truly starts to worsen. South and West Asia are downright draconian at times compared to their East and Southeast Asian counterparts, even in countries that are very conservative like Korea.

  3. Brian1 says


    I’d say you’re half right, I forgot to include Brunei and Myanmar in the list where homosexuality is technically illegal, As in Malaysia and Singapore this is just a relic from being a British colony, and the old colonial law is never enforced. And it’s clear that the law will be repealed in Myanmar in the near future. As for Aceh, that is the only instance of an anti gay law being passed in Asia (as opposed to being imposed by Europeans). But it’s never been tested, and most people assume that Indonesia would intervene to prevent actual punishment from being meted out.

    So my point still stands, that nowhere in East Asia are gays punished.

  4. says

    Yes, the Vietnamese gay rights advocate are so dumb as to not know who their neighbors are..
    Malaysia and Singapore are in South East Asia. South East Asia also includes Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Brunei, Philippine, East Timor, Myanmar and Christmas Island.

    Malaysia, Singapore are not considered East Asia.

  5. Brian1 says

    @andy towlette,

    You clearly didn’t understand my comment. I wasn’t saying he doesn’t know who his neighbors are. I’m saying he doesn’t know the gay rights situation in his neighborhood. He said in neighboring countries you can get jailed or beaten for being gay, and that’s not correct.

    I live in Asia, so I don’t need the geography lesson. We often use East Asia to mean the part of Asia that doesn’t include the middle east or south asia, formerly known as the Indian Subcontinent. If we wanted to say specifically East Asia excluding ASEAN, we would call that area North Asia. I grant you that East Asia can also be used to mean just north Asia, ie not Southeast Asia, but Vietnam is usually included in both North Asia and Southeast Asia. So using my looser East Asia made the most sense in this context.

    And regardless of the geography, you missed my point entirely.

  6. says

    He considers Singapore and Malaysia his neighbors, 2 countries TOO many with codified animosity where gays can be jailed and whipped. The point of the article is the emphasis for gays to be protected and treated equally. Who’s the one that brought up geography in the first place.

  7. Brian1 says

    @andy towlette

    To answer your last question, Jake was the first to bring up geography in his comment. Mine was geography free until I replied to him, then you jumped in with your christmas island list.

    You still don’t understand that I get that he considers all of southeast asia his neighbor. But both you and he are wrong if you think gays are being jailed and whipped in malaysia and singapore. It just doesn’t happen. Read the story again. He goes to great lengths to say that Vietnam is much more advanced in gay rights than many other Asian countries, because of its state run media etc. But that’s totally wrong, and that’s the only point I’ trying to make.

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