BUBU town is an annual community event in celebration of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia on 17th May (IDAHOT), organized by Institute for Studies of Society, Economy and Environment (iSEE), the network of young leaders actively involved in the rights of LGBTIQ people (NextGEN), along with the sponsorship of the European Commission (EC), Oxfam International, American Embassy, Australian Embassy, Netherlands Embassy and Blued.
BUBU Town – the land of Freedom, Tolerance and Equality has been organized each year since IDAHOT 2015 in Hanoi. This event is a space free of discrimination and prejudice for everyone, not just LGBT community, and therefore, freedom of expression and diversity is highly encouraged and promoted here.
On 13th May, 2017, at American Club (21 Hai Ba Trung street, Hanoi), the third BUBU town attracted more than 5,000 young people. BUBU Town 2017, with the slogan “Be U. Be United. – We are more alike than different”, encouraged people to confidently express their true selves and honored the freedom of each individual. Better yet, this event aspired to connect people and promote mutual understanding, compassion and unity.
BUBU Town 2017 took the form of a tropical island where three tribes (NULU – Volcano, CADU – Coconut tree and BACA – Beach) were living together. In there, young people and families participated in many challenges to solve the conflicts between these three tribes with the main purpose to bring back the peace and harmony to BUBU island.
At BUBU Town, youngters freely dressed in different costumes such as indigenous costumes, clothes with summer style along with beach accessories and other unique styles to proudly show their creativity and individuality. During the whole day event, participants took part in various individual and team activities. These games were opportunities for each person to interact and know more about other people whom they may not have much insight. Therefore, people went beyond borders of difference and complexity to cooperate with each other, ultimately building an island of freedom, tolerance and equality.
Besides those challenges above, the activities at BUBU Town were diverse and unique to welcome everyone. Visitors enjoyed cuisine village, art exhibitions, performances by audiences, creative workshops, movie screening, and night music concert. Individuals and families with children visiting BUBU Town had an interesting day expressing their identies as well as connecting with others to feel compassion and promote unity in the society.
The United States Ambassador to Vietnam – Mr. Ted Osius delivered a speech in the event: “Discrimination leads to the isolation of an individual or a group of people. However, we are not isolated islands if we unite together…We are gathering here today to voice out our advocacy of equal rights for LGBTI people all over the world”
A youngster shared: “BUBU Town is really meaningful to me because I experienced the sense of freedom and the feeling of compassion. There is no vilification, no glance of discrimination, there is only respect, sympathy and love. I feel that people in there respect my identity. Also, I met and talked with others to know more about them. I really hope that there will be more spaces like BUBU for people to connect and empathy”
The annual event BUBU Town is an interesting and meaningful occasion to connect people and honor the beauty of diversity. It is a space that promotes a society of freedom, tolerance and equality for everyone.