Post submitted by Srun Srorn, HRC Global Innovator and Founder of CamASEAN
The event, with the theme “Normal Life of LGBTI Couples,” was held in a Buddhist pagoda in Kandal province near the capital, Phnom Penh. It brought together 25 same-sex and transgender couples from every part of Cambodia who spoke about their lives together, some for as long as four decades. These couples, supported at the event by their parents and siblings, demonstrated that love has no label and that happy couples and families are not limited by sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
Three village chiefs, five commune council officials, police officers, Buddhist monks, media, United Nations officials and civil society activists also attended the event.
“Legal recognition of same-sex couples is urgently needed in Cambodia,” a village chief said. “(We must) do our best to ensure that same-sex couples can receive legal documents issued by local authorities.”
The monks, who most graciously hosted our event at their pagoda, reiterated that Buddhist principles do not permit discrimination against LGBTQ people.
In addition to this Pride event, CamASEAN continues to assist LGBTQ people and other minorities, with a particular focus on those living in poverty. We seek to empower the LGBTQ community through positive storytelling, exhibitions, providing skills training and small loans and engaging with the Ministry of Education to train teachers on LGBTQ issues.
This event wouldn’t have been possible without HRC’s support. I was proud to be a HRC Global Innovator in D.C. earlier this year and look forward to more engagement with HRC’s global network as Cambodia’s LGBTQ movement continues to grow.