O.C. Tet Parade Won’t Ban Gays, Community Decides

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After barring lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from last year’s Tet parade in Orange County, Vietnamese American community members voted 51-36 on Saturday to include them in the Lunar New Year event scheduled for Feb. 1.

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Minh Tran holds a sign and gay pride flag in Westminster last year as he protests the decision to exclude LGBT individuals from the 2013 Tet parade in Little Saigon. (Credit: Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)

Supporters called the move historic, pushing opponents not to tarnish the community’s image by locking out a vocal segment of its immigrant population.

“When there’s a vote to include or exclude, it makes me sad. But we have always been fighting for inclusion and equality — and we knew that inclusion and equality will eventually triumph,” said Hieu Nguyen, founder of Viet Rainbow of Orange County. The group formed after last year’s battles with the Vietnamese American Federation of Southern California, the organization leading the charge against visible LGBT participation.

Last November, federation members voted against LGBT participation for 2014. But at a City Council meeting in December in Westminster — where the parade will be held — federation head Nghia X. Nguyen agreed to meet with gay leaders to try to find a compromise for inclusion.

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