Welcome to our fundraiser and thank you for your attention,
We are Etienne and Thanh, a German-Vietnamese same-sex couple. We have been together for almost one and a half years now and are happy with our mutual life. Last November, we started TikTok and YouTube channels together to show ourselves and thus contribute to improving the LGBTI+ landscape in Vietnam. So far, everything’s been great.
However, since Etienne is German and Thanh Vietnamese, we do have a major problem with staying together in one country in the long run. That is, as a German, Etienne cannot just stay in Vietnam indefinitely. He needs a visa, every year. Currently, while doing his MA until the end of 2023, this works. But what comes afterwards?
Heterosexual couples solve this issue by getting married and giving one partner the right to a residence permit. But we can’t do this.
Though Vietnam does not prohibit same-sex marriage anymore since 2015, there's also no legal recognition of it, especially when it comes to a residence permit for Etienne. Unfortunately, there is also no other country in all of Asia where two foreigners could marry (Taiwan has same-sex marriage, but only if one person is Taiwanese).
So, our only chance to stay together for sure is marry in Europe – or the US or South America, all of which are far away from Vietnam. But if we want to stay together, there is no other way.
Thus, we will travel to Germany on July 22 and get married in Denmark on July 29.
Obviously, travelling to Europe is costly, especially right now as fuel prices have been skyrocketing. We’ve managed to scrape together what we had to get Thanh’s visa ($300), the flight tickets (around $2,600), and arrange the wedding (around $850). But to be honest, we’re almost broke now and there are still some essentials missing, such as travel insurance, some tickets in Germany, fuel costs, and so on.
Thanh only has his father and sisters left, after his mother died from cancer a few years ago. The family is financially not in a terrible position for Vietnamese circumstances, but not wealthy enough to support our endeavour. Etienne, meanwhile, lost his father 11 years ago and never knew his mother. This situation, which rules out financial support from our families, is one of the two reasons we want to ask for your support.
But there’s another one, coupled with a promise.
If we were a heterosexual couple, all of this would be so much easier and cheaper. Of course, there would be still the normal annoying paperwork that Vietnamese-German couples generally have to do, but at least we could marry and stay here in Vietnam for the rest of our lives.
But the simple fact that we are a same-sex couple changes everything. That we are two men loving each other means that we cannot marry in Vietnam; that we cannot stay in Vietnam – at least until the final step in the legal framework changes.
By starting this fundraiser, going completely public, and telling you about our story, we do not just hope for a bit of financial support but also want to shine a light on this issue.
Surely, there are many, many more couples like us, not just in Germany and Vietnam, but all around the world. The more attention and support same-sex marriage gets, the more we can do for couples like us.
So, here comes our promise.
With your support, we can stop worrying about our terrible finances and our future, and continue with what we’ve started with our social media presence: Raising awareness for the LGBTI+ community and contributing to slowly improving all of our lives.
Love should not be limited by biological sex or passports, or anything else for that matter.
If you also believe this, please help us.
No matter what you contribute or to how many people you share this fundraiser, we are truly grateful for any support we receive.
Thank you so much,
Thanh & Etienne
PPS: Here's the link to Etienne's proposal to Thanh in February :)