Vietnam LGBT Laws

Age of Consent Legislation/Cases/References
1. National

Consensual sex between same-sex couples is lawful at age sixteen (16) years [L1.1].

Penal Code [L1.1]

Article 115. Having sexual intercourse with children

1. Any adults having sexual intercourse with children aged from full 13 to under 16 shall be sentenced to between one and five years of imprisonment.

2. Committing the crime in one of the following circumstances, the offender shall be sentenced to between three and ten years of imprisonment:

a) Committing the crime more than once;

b) Against more than one person;

c) Being of an incestuous nature;

d) Making the victim pregnant;

e) Causing harms to the victim’s health with an infirmity rate of from 31% to 60%.

3. Committing the crime in one of the following circumstances, the offender shall be sentenced to between seven and fifteen years of imprisonment:

a) Causing harm to the victim’s health with an infirmity rate of 61% or higher;

b) Committing the crime even though the offenders know that they are infected with HIV [L1.1].

L1.1 WorldLII: Penal Code – Section 115 (Accessed 29 JAN 13)
Assisted Reproduction Technology
Artificial Insemination, In Vitro Fertilisation
1. State

On 19 June 2014, the Family and Marriage Law passed with nearly 60 percent of votes from the National Assembly and will take effect starting next year. Under the amended law, surrogacy will only be allowed among married childless couples after doctors confirm the mother is unable to give birth even with technical support. [R1.1].

R1.1 ThanhnienNews: Vietnam allows surrogacy within families, denies same-sex marriage 20 JUN 14
Censorship, Freedom of Association, Freedom of Expression, Free Speech, Right of Assembly Legislation/Cases/References
1. State

On 22 May 2015, the ministry of culture was reported to have sent a letter to publishers ordering them to stop printing ‘clichéd, useless, obscene and offensive’ romance novels, most of which are translations from Chinese [R1.1].

R1.1 GayStarNews: Vietnam bans ‘poisonous’ gay romance novels
Civil Unions, Partners: Domestic, Registered Legislation/Cases/References
1. National

On 13 November 2013, it was reported that the government has given same-sex couples the right to live together and hold blessing ceremonies although the unions won’t be legally recognized as marriages [R1.1].

R1.1 GayStarNews: Vietnam legalizes gay weddings 13 NOV 13
Gender Identity, Intersex,
Transgender, Transexual
1. National

On 24 November 2015, it was reported that more than 80% of the National Assembly voted in favour of legislation recognizing transgender people and lifting a ban on gender reassignment surgery, allowing those who have undergone gender reassignment surgery to change their gender marker and be accorded the ‘personal rights in accordance with their new sex’. [R1.7] The law will come into effect on 01 January 2017 [R1.6].

Decree No. 88/2008/ND-CP regulates sex reassignment procedures [D1.5].

Article 1. Scope of regulation and subjects of application

1. This Decree provides for sex assignment for persons with congenital sex defects or of unidentifiable sex (only).

2. This Decree applies to domestic and foreign organizations and individuals in Vietnam.

Article 7 provides:

1. A dossier of request for sex reassignment comprises:

a/ An application for sex reassignment, made according to a form set by the Minister of Health. In case of sex reassignment for a person aged under 16 years, that persons parent or guardian shall make a written request; for a person aged between full 16 years and under 18 years, his/her application must be also signed by his/her parent or guardian:

b/ A valid copy of the birth certificate, identity card, household status registration book or passport.

2. Procedures for requesting sex reassignment:

a/ The person requesting sex reassignment shall send a dossier of request for sex reassignment to the medical examination and treatment establishment licensed to conduct medical interventions for sex reassignment;

b/ After receiving the dossier, the medical examination and treatment establishment shall consider and reply to the requesting person within 15 working days after receiving the written request. If refusing the request, it shall issue a written reply stating the reason.

On 22 February 2013, the Ministry of Justice reportedly ordered the local government in Binh Phuoc province to halt their decision to reverse their recognition of intersex teacher Pham Le Quynh Tram’s gender, to await Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s decision on the matter [R1.4].

On 21 January 2013, the Binh Phuoc province’s People’s Committee concluded that recognition of Pham Le Quynh Tram as a transgender woman is illegal and proposed the 2009 sex-redefining decision be revoked [R1.3].

According to lawyer Nguyen Huu The Trach, those who want to re-define their sex have to comply with two conditions: first, they get examined by a province or city-level medical council; second, they undergo a transgender surgery at an authorized hospital [R1.2].

On 05 November 2009, the administration of a town in Binh Phuoc province granted the application of Pham Van Hiep to re-define her sex from male to female and to change her name to Pham Le Quynh Tram, becoming the first transgender in Vietnam to recognized by the authorities as a woman [R1.1].

R1.7 GayStarNews: Vietnam passes landmark law recognizing transgender people 25 NOV 15
R1.6 ISEE: 10 things you need to know about the recognization of transgender rights in Viet Nam 24 NOV 15
D1.5 Kenfoxlaw: Decree No. 88/2008/ND-CP 05 AUG 08
R1.4 GayStarNews: Vietnamese government halts reversal of gender recognition 22 FEB 13
R1.3 GayStarNews: Vietnamese intersex woman ‘deeply shocked’ at decision to revoke gender recognition 28 JAN 13
R1.2 TuoitreNews: Transgender woman faces rejection, to sue 25 JAN 13
R1.1 VietnamNet: The first trans-gender legally recognized in Vietnam 08 SEP 12
HIV Aids Legislation/Cases/References
1. National

On 25 October 1998, Vietnam’s Labor Ministry banned HIV carriers from working in hotels, kindergartens, restaurants, health-care centers, beauty shops, vaccine-production labs and cosmetic surgery facilities [R1.1].

R1.1 Melbourne Star Observer: Vietnam Bans HIV Carriers from Some Jobs 05 NOV 98
Homosexuality, Sodomy Legislation/Cases/Documents/References
See also: [AGE OF CONSENT]
1. National

Consensual sex between same-sex couples is lawful [D1.1].

D1.1 ILGA: State-Sponsored Homophobia PDF 700.06kb, 13 MAY 09
Marriage Legislation/Cases/References
1. National

On 19 June 2014, the National Assembly approved an amended Law on Marriage and Family replacing the current regulation that forbids same sex marriage. The new law comes into effect 01 January 2015 – abolishing the ban on marriage between people of the same gender promulgated by the NA in 2000 – in order to avoid discrimination against homosexual couples, but also stipulates in Article 8 that the State shall not recognize marriage between persons of the same sex, meaning that the marriage will not be protected by law in any subsequent disputes related to the marriage [R1.6].

On 11 April 2013, it was reported that the Government had scraped a draft decree to have taken effect in July, that would have fined homosexual couples that get married VND200,000-1 million (US$9.55-47.77), twice the current fine introduced in 2000. Deputy minister of Justice Pham Quy Ty said this “doesn’t mean Vietnam recognizes same-sex marriages” [R1.5].

On 20 June 2012, the ministry of justice was reported to have sent out a letter to organizations such as the supreme court, the government’s family department and Hanoi Law University asking for opinions about legalizing same-sex marriage [R1.4].

As at 05 June 1998, Vietnamese law did not ban same-sex marriage [R1.2].

In March 1998, lesbian couple Cao Tien Duyen and Hong Kim Huong tied the knot in the Mekong Delta province of Vinh Long, in Vietnam’s first lesbian marriage [R1.3]. On 23 May, the relationship reportedly ended after a Justice Ministry-ordered meeting at their home with 20 officials from Communist Party groups [R1.2].

In April 1997, a gay wedding between an Australian-Vietnamese man and his Vietnamese boyfriend angered civil authorities [R1.1].

R1.6 Tuoitrebews: Ban on same sex marriage to be lifted next year in Vietnam 29 DEC 14
R1.5 ThanhnienNews: Vietnam scraps fines on same-sex marriages, but far from legalization 11 APR 13
R1.4 GayStarNews: Vietnam government consults on same-sex marriage 20 JUN 12
R1.3 Sydney Star Observer: Vietnamese Marriage 12 MAR 98
R1.2 Melbourne Star Observer: Vietnamese Breakup Lesbian Marriage 05 JUN 98
R1.1 Sydney Star Observer: Vietnam’s 1st Gay Wedding 10 APR 97