Vietnam: Unlikely haven for gays and a lucrative business opportunity

If it had been in business a decade ago, Nguyen Anh Thuan’s restaurant would have been a target for late-night police raids to arrest lawbreakers and stamp out “social evils”. But Comga Cafe, in the heart of Vietnam’s capital, is no gambling den, after-hours bar or front for dealing drugs. It is a business friendly to people of all sexual preferences in a one-party state where conservative values are strong.

Yet Thuan is experiencing success instead of resistance. Prejudice is giving way to some liberalism, he says, in a country often labelled a human rights abuser but now one of Asia’s most progressive on gay, lesbian and transgender issues.

That has spawned a niche market of an estimated 1.6 million Vietnamese at a time of galloping growth, offering money-making opportunities to firms that provide services from travel and weddings to insurance and health care.

“Our business benefits a lot from the LGBT community,” said Thuan, who also advises businesses on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues, which are often abbreviated as LGBT.   Read more via South China Morning Post