Vua đồng tính Khải Định (1916-1925)

The 17th emperor of Vietnam, Khải Định (1916-1925) is widely reported as a homosexual (người đồng tính) and a cross-dresser. Many historians and newsmedia frame Khải Định as a “puppet of the French” or an unscrupulous character, which perpetuates stereotypes that homosexuality in Vietnam was a “Western disease” and “immoral.” Accusations of Khải Định’s gambling, alcoholism, or unpopularity among Vietnamese people could realistically by applied to all Vietnamese emperors at one point or another in their regimes.

Khải Định had twelve wives and concubines, legally marrying only two women, and fathering only one child with a concubine (Lê 2012). Vietnamese newsmedia sensationalizes his life, for example stating that ‘[i]n his entire 10 years as emperor, Khải Định never slept with any of his wives ([s]uốt 10 năm làm vua, Khải Định không có ăn nằm với bà vợ nào),’ instead favoring the nightly company of his male palace servant (viên thị vệ), Nguyễn Đắc Vọng (‘Chẩn đoán bệnh’ 2011).

A digital library of the National University of Ho Chi Minh City indicates that Khải
Định ‘wore eccentric clothing, outside of traditional garb worn by emperors. He wore golden traditional head wraps, wore hats, and adorned women’s diamonds (ǎn mặc quần áo rất lòe loẹt, không tuân theo y phục hoàng bào truyền thống của các vua chúa. Chít khǎn vàng, đội nón, đeo hạt xoàn của phụ nữ)’ (‘Khải Định 2012).


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