Westminster Councilman Andy Quách grins after DUI last year in mugshot."Trannie" Andy Quách may yet get to meet a real transgendered Vietnamese American -- or more -- this Saturday, the eve of Lunar New Year or Tet. The up and down (DUI) politician carefully mentored by state legislator Van Tran (hence a "Trannie") is all agitated about the prospect of lesbian, gay, bisexual -- and transgendered -- members of his Vietnamese American community marching in the annual Tet festival he's helping organize this year! But as a city official (the march is organized by Westminster where he sits on its city council), he can't very well say no to a group that duly paid the city's $100 fee to be able to march.
So earlier this week he sends out a press release, in Vietnamese, to say, sorry folks, while he is personally against these folks marching, he can't do anything about it (he cannot discriminate!) and please celebrate the advent of the Year of the Tiger with him.
But not everyone is pleased he is taking the legalistic way out and not expressing his homophobia more strongly. Stirred by news that sexual minorities plan to march, religious opposition to the gay participation has manifested itself, with Pastor Trần Thanh Vân of Hội Ðồng Liên Tôn (Interfaith Council) calling for a religious boycott of the Tet parade, according to Nguoi Viet. Its editor, Hao-Nhien Vu, echoes the Vietnamese reportage in his sardonic English-language Bolsavik blog.
Following KUCI's Subversity radio program this past Monday on the upcoming march, the Orange County Register has also jumped on the story, but states incorrectly that it is the first time gay Vietnamese would have marched in Orange County. In fact, they marched along Campus Drive in Irvine a few years back, when OC Pride Festival was held at UC Irvine.
Andy Quách's move to stand on legalities is laudable but may not win him kudos from the more conservative religious right elements of his community. The first Vietnamese American elected to public office (also to city council in Westminster), Tony Lam suffered a huge backlash from anti-communist elements in Little Saigon when he, on the advice of the city attorney, did not attend rallies protesting the display of Uncle Ho's photo and the flag of Vietnam during the HiTek protests a decade or more earlier, even though OC District Attorney Anthony Rackauckas himself showed up in a clearly partisan (Republican) move to rally the anti-commie crowd, as I wrote about in the OC Weekly in 1999. Andy Quách's religiously fundamentalist supporters may be just as unforgiving.