A young couple enjoys a romantic moment in the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi. But their date in the park has a broader purpose. It’s no coincidence that the balloons one has gifted to the other bear a resemblance to the colours of the gay pride flag. Supported by the Vietnamese non-profit Youth Dream Club, they are championing the rights of homosexual men and challenging public perceptions of homosexuality within their society. Robin’s task was to showcase Youth Dream Club’s work in helping to build the confidence of young MSM (men who have sex with men). Capturing intimate moments like this one enabled him to depict how its work is contributing to a new sense of freedom.

These progressive steps are in part thanks to the MTV Staying Alive Foundation, which has catalysed Youth Dream Club’s aspirations through financial grants. The Foundation provides funding and training to HIV prevention projects led by committed young people across almost 70 countries around the world. Promoting a greater global tolerance and understanding of MSM and LGBTi communities and their rights is pivotal to building a world in which sexual health services are accessible to all, without shame or discrimination.

Vietnam’s first gay pride march took place in Hanoi in 2012. In 2015, homosexual marriage became legal. Images like this one are contributing to an increased public awareness of the equality of all couples, regardless of their sexuality. Robin’s portrait was used on the cover of the MTV Staying Alive Foundation’s 2012 Impact Report, helping it to demonstrate the invaluable work of the organisations it supports, and validating its purpose and successes against the scrutiny of its donors.


Changing Vietnam’s narrative on homosexuality

LGBTi, youth, HIV/AIDS

MTV Staying Alive Foundation

Hanoi, Vietnam

Camera settings
70mm, ISO 320, 1/320, f/2.8