The Son of the Holy House

Author: Mai Thanh (Institute of Cultural Studies, Hanoi)
Speaker: Mai Thanh
Topic: Language, gender, sexuality
The (SCOPUS / ISI) SOAS GLOCAL CALA 2019 General Session


The LGBT set of communities in Vietnam display striking similarities with the fashion model communities. For example, transsexual communities have a high frequency of participation in the fashion industry, while these communities also become highly involved in the production, marketing, and selling of cosmetics and beauty products.

The current study investigates the communication culture of these two communities in Vietnam, that is, the LGBT, and the beauty and fashion in industries. The study elicits the pluralities within these communities, and the extent to which their social, cultural, and linguistic patternings resemble each other, such as their worldview, and their attempts to frame communicative interaction, culture and society. The similarities investigated include the efforts by members of each of these communities to reaffirm, or to legitimize, an intensified uniqueness from society at large, of their ‘distinct’ cultural identity, so to forge intra-group empathy and solidarities. Here, in these communities in Vietnam, the unique conceptions of self motivate members of these communities to see selves as a “son of the Holy House”. This conception becomes manifested in several ways, in that their communicative culture (including the language of communication and nonverbal communication) is a prominent aspect of this.

This paper advances the study of language and society by observing motives for social patterning, across two distinct communities as self ascribed, and motives which become visible through their linguistic practices.

Keywords: LGBT, Sexuality, Gender, Language, Vietnam