Members of the Vietnamese gay and lesbian group Viet Rainbow of Orange County were barred from participating in the 2013 Tet parade when a community group began sponsoring the event. The Vietnamese American Federation of Southern California reversed its decision this year after much prodding from city officials and community members.
"They finally realized they cannot be backward in history. So they're moving forward, and we're happy about that," said Hieu Nguyen with Viet Rainbow Orange County.
Viet Rainbow showed their heritage by wearing traditional dress and their sexual orientation and gender identity by carrying the rainbow flag. Approximately 80 people marched under the group's banner.
"There's a lot of excitement, and we are very, very grateful for being a part of this community," said Nguyen.
The parade began at 10 a.m. at the corner of Magnolia Street and Bolsa Avenue. It rolled through the Little Saigon area. Nearly 12,000 spectators were expected to turn out to celebrate the Lunar New Year.
The parade marks the beginning of a three-day celebration. A total of 100,000 people are expected to take part in all the festivities.