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Vietnamese Parade Will Welcome LGBT Participants

By Michelle Garcia

Organizers behind the Tet Parade, an annual tradition in Orange County, Calif.'s Little Saigon that celebrates the Vietnamese new year, have voted to include an LGBT group to march in the festivities.

The inclusion of LGBT people in the event has been a contentious subject for several years.

This year's parade will be preceded by a months-long saga pitting Viet Rainbow Orange County versus members of the Vietnamese American Federation of Southern California, the Orange County Register reports. Last year was the first year that the Federation organized the parade, as the city was forced to stop funding the celebration due to budget cuts. The Federation had banned LGBT people from participating as a group.

At a meeting Saturday at a Vietnamese cultural center in Garden Grove, members of the Federation voted 51-36 to include the LGBT group in the parade. Ten people cast abstention ballots.

After the vote, parade chairman Neil Nguyen gave VROC co-founder Hieu Nguyen a parade float application, OC Weekly reports.

"We always knew that equality would eventually win," Hieu Nguyen said. "Since the beginning, we've always wanted to be a part of the parade to represent our Vietnamese American identity and our LGBT identity. We're happy we get this chance."

The Tet Parade is scheduled for February 1.

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