“A lot of young people have reached out to me on Facebook, to say: ‘We are happy to see somebody who is gay and is happy in his personal life but also has had professional success’,” Osius said in an interview. “I don’t think of it as advocating as much as supporting Vietnamese civil society in doing what it is already doing.”
The Communist government’s revised marriage law, while not officially recognizing same-sex marriage, and its tolerance of pride events has made Vietnam a leader in gay rights in Southeast Asia, potentially opening up opportunities to attract the tourist “pink dollar” and business executives seeking a more tolerant environment.
Osius, 53, and Bond frequently appear together at official government gatherings and media events. Osius – who is on his first posting as ambassador and has also worked in Indonesia and India – always introduces his husband and often talks about their children, who are 19 months and five months.
“This is a core interest of ours with regard to human rights,” said Bond, 39. “People see us as an openly gay couple with kids serving our country. I hope people find that inspiring.”