There is a special café in the central province of Da Nang – Nhip Dap - where homosexuals gather during the weekend to talk, to enjoy music, to learn knowledge about HIV prevention and to be their true selves.
In Vietnam in general and in Da Nang in particular, homosexuality is shunned. Some still thought that it is a communicable disease. “Nhip Dap” café has become a place where gays see each others to seek sympathy and sharing.
The owner of this special café is Nguyen The Trung, an employee of the Center for Public Health Consulting in Da Nang. His job is answering questions and consoling people who are recently aware that they are homosexuals and giving them knowledge on safe sex.
Trung said he opened “Nhip Dap” to make a playground for homosexuals and for educating them about HIV prevention. Condoms are also handed out for free at “Nhip Dap”.
Knowledge on HIV prevention and safe sex is also combined in songs and played performed at the café by staffs of the Center for Public Health Consulting. After performances, Trung often organizes games or quizzes on HIV/AIDS.
The 25sq.m café has become a home for homosexuals, where they can be themselves.
Trung also opened a dancing class for homosexuals, who can work as dancers for the café.
“I felt wretched when I knew about my true self. My parents were heartbroken. They forced me to quit my job to go to hospitals and mountebanks to cure myself. I love my parents very much so I have tried to work and save money to support my parents to bring up my younger brother and sister. I have a stable job and now I want to live for myself and help people of the same plight as me,” Trung said.
Trung and his friends at “Nhip Dap” Café have assisted many people to seek balance after they noticed that they are homosexual men.
Trung said there was a 9th grader who showed himself as a gay at school. The school told the boy’s parents about the case. The parents insulted the boy and expelled him from their home. The boy’s friends also kept away from him. Trung consoled the boy and saw his parents to explain to them that homosexuality is not a disease and the boy is innocent.
“At first, they told me that it was their own business and I should not intervene in. But I tried to convene him and they have understood the matter. The boy has returned to school,” Trung said.
“Nhip Dap” has become a home of homosexuals in Da Nang city. “I come to this café every Saturday. This is my second home,” said a student.
Vo Thanh Trung, Deputy Director of the Center for Public Health Consulting, praised the café’s contribution for spreading knowledge on HIV/AIDS and safe sex to the community of homosexuals in Da Nang.
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