Rights group: Cambodia Cellcard ad discriminatory against LGBT people

Re-printed from http://asiancorrespondent.com/120120/rights-group-cambodia-cellcard-ad-discriminatory-against-lgbt-people/

By  Mar 03, 2014 10:58AM UTC

Last month, Cambodia’s second largest telecom provider Mobitel – operator of the Cellcard network – released a TV commercial poking fun at transgender people and consequently upsetting many in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. The spot had its debut on the social network Facebook, where it received 323 likes, 144 shares and a mountain of  “LOL’s“ from Cambodian users, who but for one exception found it very amusing.

The commercial, titled “Blind Date“, opens with a young man calling his companion-to-be on a cell phone. He never met her before and with his imagination running wild, he fantasises about a woman one would more likely see in a blockbuster movie than walking down the street. Sadly, he cannot hear her very well – his telephone connection is breaking up. He waits for her at a Cafe where he makes acquaintance with another youth awaiting his sweetheart. The protagonist‘s phone rings again. His date is on the phone, but he still cannot hear her. Finally, the moment of anticipation is over. She arrives and to the visible discontent of the leading character she is not the girl he envisaged. Instead, she is a transgender person. Now his counterpart’s girlfriend enters and she very much fits the part. Before the curtain falls, the young man warns: “to avoid disappointing results like this, choose Cellcard !“ Funny? Not to everyone.


Nuon Sidara, project coordinator at Cambodian Centre for Human Rights (CCHR), sent a letter to Kith Meng, director of Mobitel (also known as CamGSM), requesting that his company re-edits the commercial to remove the transgender character. Mr. Meng holds a majority stake in Cambodia Television Network, where the ad is aired on a daily basis, and is the CEO of the conglomerate Royal Group – the parent company of CamGSM.

In his letter to the business tycoon, Mr. Sidara argued that referring to disappointing results in the context of relations with transgender people is right out discriminatory. “Even if this video is trying to prove that your company is better than other companies, talking about disappointing results at the end of the commercial discriminates against transgender people. Please re-consider the true meaning of this commercial in order to avoid discriminating against LGBT people and violating their human rights,“ the letter read. Sidara’s appeal is yet to be answered by Kith Meng.

The ad attracted equal condemnation from the UN Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Cambodia. In an email to the Asian Correspondent, OHCHR representative Wan-Hea Lee wrote the spot “is an illustration of the general sense that LGBT persons are legitimate targets of ridicule and is best avoided.“ His statement went on to say the OHCHR is concerned about the tone and message of the promo spot “seeing no reason why any group of persons should need to be targeted in that way in order to sell cell phone cards.”

Mobitel declined to comment. As did Phibious advertising agency, which produced the commercial, while CTN spokesman Sokna Hout said all questions should be directed at the telecom provider and not the television network. The Correspondent managed to contact a local filmmaker who was involved in the project. Speaking on conditions of anonymity, he said the transgender community should not take the ad too seriously.

“Should transgender people be offended? They have the right to be, at the same time they shouldn’t take it too seriously; it’s simply another work of fiction. Asian films and TV ads have been using the same joke over and over the past 10-20 years, nothing new I guess,“ he said.

But the joke is getting old, at least for Vong Bunteoun. The 33-year old transgender NGO worker and make-up artist is tired of TV shows and adverts ridiculing the LGBT community. “This commercial and the media generally keep devaluing LGBT persons, and transgender people especially,“ she said. According to Bunteoun, local media sends the wrong message and portrays members of her community as less worthy individuals or criminals. “All you see on TV is either jokes about transgender people or news about transgender criminals. There is never any example of people who can hold a job and lead a regular life,“ she told the Asian Correspondent.

Although the overall attitude towards LGBT persons in the Southeast Asian country is less overtly hostile than in other countries around the world, the OHCHR claims they continue to face stigma and discrimination and experience higher level of domestic and gender-based violence than non LGBT-persons. Srorn Srun, who has been an advocate for LGBT rights in Cambodia for years, said the discrimination takes on a myriad of forms, ranging from difficulties in finding employment, exclusion from one’s family or verbal abuse to violence and sexual assault. He asserts members of the transgender community are often targeted “because their LGBT status is more visible as usually they can be easily physically identified.“

Srorn is adamant discriminatory attitudes towards transgender people in the Kingdom are so deeply entrenched in the social fabric that most take them to be the norm. This state of affairs, he contends, largely stems from lack of education and misinformation. “This discriminatory commercial and similar TV shows prove the media is not educated about LGBT issues, sexual orientation and gender identity as well as human rights,“ he said.

Nuon Sidara of CCHR would like to see that change. However, he asserts eradicating prejudice will be a very slow process that will only yield results if all stakeholders, including relevant ministries, are properly trained. And education is only the very first step, he claims. With no LGBT-specific laws and policies in place, improving the situation on the ground, according to the human rights worker, will take years.

It appears that apart from the Cambodian authorities, companies, such as Mobitel, also have some catching up to do. In fact, respect for LGBT rights has been identified as one of the top ten emerging business and human rights issues by the London-based Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB), a think tank providing independent analysis on the subject matter.

In her commentary, the Institute’s research fellow on gender, Kathryn Dovey, notes that “businesses headquartered in all regions will increasingly be challenged to clarify their stance on LGBT rights for their employees, customers, suppliers and indeed in the societies in which they operate.“ Reflecting the global shift in mindset regarding the scope of corporate responsibilities, Dovey points out the issue “will increasingly land on the desks of business leaders across the globe.“ In the end of the day, she writes, “this is…a question of dignity and respect.“

Kith Meng declined to comment.


Cambodian Transgender Activist Sou Sotheavy Wins 2014 David Kato Vision & Voice Award


Renowned Ugandan activist Frank Mugisha will present Sou Sotheavy with the award on stage at the prestigious Teddy Awards ceremony in Berlin this Friday


11 February 2014 [Berlin] – The David Kato Vision & Voice Award is proud to announce that the 2014 award will go to Cambodian transgender activist Sou Sotheavy. Now 75 years old, she has spent the last two decades working to establish a national network of organizations to support lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people across the country.  Sou will receive the award on stage at the prestigious Teddy Awards ceremony this Friday at the Berlin International Film Festival.


“I am tremendously moved to be given this award that to me symbolizes the struggle for rights and freedom for LGBT people in Cambodia,” said Sou. “I think of the torture and suffering that I have endured throughout my life. Today, I am fortunate to live a life that I have always dreamed of, a life that allows me to help LGBT Cambodians escape the torture, contempt, and discrimination that exists in many families and in Cambodian society.”


Awarded annually, the David Kato Vision & Voice Award is presented to an individual who demonstrates outstanding courage and leadership in advocating for the rights of LGBT individuals, particularly in challenging circumstances and unsupportive policy environments. The award provides winners with a global media platform and a $10,000 grant to support their efforts.


“Grassroots activists around the world are leading the work to secure LGBT rights and defend our communities,” said Jack Beck, Program Manager of the award. “Yet so often these crucial efforts go unrecognized and unfunded. Through the David Kato Vision & Voice Award, we are able to provide activists with a platform to elevate the issues that are affecting their communities, as well as much needed funding to sustain and expand their work.”


Sou was born on 8 December 1940 in Takeo province, Cambodia. Before the radical communist regime of the Khmer Rouge took over in 1975, she studied performing arts in the capital of Phnom Penh and worked as a military nurse. Her first involvement with human rights advocacy began in 1985 when she conducted HIV/AIDS outreach for the Khmer Development Freedom Organisation (KDFO). In 1999, realizing the need for special attention to LGBT issues, Sou established the Cambodian Network for Men Women Development (CMWD), the first Cambodian NGO to support LGBT people, where she continues to serve as president today. Active throughout 15 provinces, CMWD has provided much needed capacity building to LGBT groups, providing invaluable support for local programs and advocacy.


Until today, CMWD and Sou’s efforts have received no international attention. By acknowledging the importance of her work on these issues, Sou hopes the David Kato Vision & Voice Award will inspire and encourage more people to join the movement against discrimination in Cambodia and around the world. With more funding and volunteer activists working with Sotheavy in the provinces, she will reach out to a broader audience and support more LGBT people and organizations in Cambodia’s remote rural areas, where the education level is low, discrimination is rampant, and LGBT people remain forced to hide their true identity.


“I have been working without funds for a very long time,” said Sou. “This award will allow me to help my organization, train my team, and ultimately strengthen the rights of LGBT people in Cambodia. On the day I receive the award, my wish is that LGBT people from around the world will help support our LGBT communities in Cambodia, who are now facing a resurgence of violence from authorities. I will fight until the end of my life. I will not stop until the rights for LGBT exist like for other people.”


The 2014 David Kato Vision & Voice Award is presented in memory of Eric Ohena Lembembe, who served as Executive Director of the LGBT human rights organization CAMFAIDS in Cameroon before he was brutally murdered in July of 2013.


“As we celebrate Sotheavy’s life and work, the global movement for LGBT rights continues to mourn Eric’s loss and the loss of so many other LGBT activists and community members over the past year,” said George Ayala, David Kato Vision & Voice Award Advisory Committee Member and Executive Director of the Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF). “We commemorate Eric’s legacy and the lives of everyone we lost last year; their memory and contributions will continue to ripple brightly through our communities for years to come.”


Frank Mugisha, Chair of the David Kato Vision & Voice Award and Executive Director of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), will present Sou with the award on stage at the Teddy Award ceremony this Friday in Berlin. The award presentation will be accompanied by a short film profiling Sou and an on-stage interview with Mugisha.


Media Contact

Jack Beck




Read more about Sou Sotheavy’s life and work.


The David Kato Vision & Voice Award (DKVVA) recognizes and supports the work of leaders who strive to uphold the human rights and dignity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people around the world. More information about the DKVVA can be found at http://www.visionandvoiceaward.com.  


The Teddy Award is an award given at the Berlin International Film Festival, celebrating films and individuals that communicate queer themes and content on a large scale and contribute to more tolerance, acceptance, solidarity and equality in society. Learn more at http://news.teddyaward.tv/en/.  


HIV battle still flares

An HIV-positive family sits outside their home in Tuol Sambo village, a community for people living with HIV, last year. HENG CHIVOAN

Re-printed from http://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/hiv-battle-still-flares

Fri, 20 September 2013
Amelia Woodside

Despite massive reductions in HIV infection rates over the past two decades, HIV-positive Cambodians continue to face a wide array of non-medical challenges, a report released yesterday says.

Written by NGOs, aid agencies and the government, the report says that vulnerable groups, including those who are “stigmatized, marginalised and discriminated against and thus [facing] additional socioeconomic challenges”, are in need of support.

Marie-Odile Emond, UNAIDS country coordinator, included transgendered Cambodians as among high-risk groups requiring increased attention in the nation’s battle against the disease, during opening remarks at the launch yesterday morning.

“While national HIV prevalence has dropped to 0.7 per cent, increased attention is needed among entertainment workers, men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, and transgender Cambodians with HIV/AIDS,” she said.

Cambodia’s small and primarily urban community of more than 1,500 transgendered HIV sufferers, meanwhile, face serious social stigma even among the HIV/AIDS community.

Living as a transgender Cambodian with HIV/AIDs is an existence that could easily be solely defined by social marginalisation, according to Srorn Srun, facilitator for LGBT advocacy group Rainbow Community Kampuchea.

“In June, two HIV-positive transgender Cambodians were arrested for ‘public disorder’ by commune safety police, but they didn’t tell police they were positive, because they were worried police would not keep their status private,” Srun said in an email yesterday.

Transgendered Cambodians are doubly exposed to social stigmatisation if they are HIV-positive, Srun said, emphasising the importance of Cambodia’s adoption of HIV-sensitive social protection.

Cambodia’s reliance on foreign aid to mitigate the spread of HIV was also a theme in the opening remarks made by Dr Kao Try, vice-chair of the National AIDS Authority, who said without the funding provided by the Global Fund, progress could spiral backwards unless more sustainable solutions are explored.

កម្ពុជា៖ បញ្ហា​រំលោភ​សិទ្ធិ​អ្នក​ស្រឡាញ់​ភេទ​ដូច​គ្នា (LGBT) នៅ​តែ​ជា​បញ្ហា​ធ្ងន់​ធ្ងរ

Published on Wed 22 Jan, 2014 at 10:10 10:10 by . | 20 views

ការរើសអើងទៅលើក្រុមស្រឡាញ់ភេទដូចគ្នា ស្លៀកពាក់ខុសភេទ និងការស្វែងរកសេវាកម្មរួមភេទ ជាមួយភេទ​ដូច​គ្នា ពីសំណាក់ក្រុមគ្រួសារ និងសង្គម នៅតែកើតមានខ្លាំងក្លានៅឡើយ នៅក្នុងប្រទេសកម្ពុជាសព្វថ្ងៃ។ នេះជាការ​ត្អូញ​ត្អែរ​ដ៏ក្រៀមក្រំ របស់ក្រុមអ្នកស្រឡាញភេទដូចគ្នា និងក្រុមសកម្មជន ដែលធ្វើការទាក់ទងនឹងផ្នែកនេះ នៅក្នុង​កិច្ច​ប្រជុំ​ថ្នាក់ជាតិមួយ។

កិច្ចប្រជុំថ្នាក់ជាតិ នៃក្រុមអ្នកស្រឡាញ់ភេទដូចគ្នាថ្ងៃទី២១ ខែមករា ឆ្នាំ២០១៤។ (រូបថត MONOROOM.info/ Senghong)

ស្រឡាញភេទដូចគ្នា – មូលហេតុ នៃបញ្ហាទាំងនេះត្រូវបានលើកឡើង ដោយក្រុមអ្នកស្រឡាញ់ភេទដូចគ្នា​ប្រហែល៨០នាក់ ដែលភាគ ច្រើនជាតំណាងមកពីខេត្តផ្សេងៗ ក្នុងវេទិកានៃកិច្ចពិភាក្សាថ្នាក់ជាតិ ស្តីពីសមាគម​មនុស្សស្រី ស្រឡាញ់មនុស្សស្រីដូចគ្នា មនុស្សប្រុសស្រឡាញ់មនុស្សប្រុសដូចគ្នា ស្រឡាញ់ភេទទាំងពីរ និង​ប្តូរភេទ(LGBT)។ កិច្ចពិភាក្សានេះ ត្រូវបានផ្ដួចផ្ដើមឡើងដោយអង្គការសហប្រជាជាតិ សហការជាមួយ យូអេស​អេអាយឌី និង យូអ៊ិនឌីភី នៅសណ្ឋាគារ អ៊ីមភារៀល ហ្គាដិនវីឡា រាជធានីភ្នំពេញ កាលពីថ្ងៃទី២១ ខែ មករា ឆ្នាំ២០១៤នេះ។

ក្នុងកិច្ចពិភាក្សានេះ លោក ស្រ៊ុន ស្រ៊ន ទីប្រឹក្សាគម្រោង អ្នកស្រឡាញ់ភេទដូចគ្នាបាននិយាយថា ការរើសអើង​ប្រឆាំងនឹងជន ដែលស្រឡាញ់ភេទដូចគ្នា មិនត្រឹមតែប៉ះពាល់ដល់សិទ្ធិជនទាំងនោះទេ ប៉ុន្តែក៏អាចបណ្តាល​ឲ្យប្រទេស បាត់បង់ធនធានមនុស្សមួយចំនួនដែរ ព្រោះពួកគេនឹងចាកចេញពី ប្រទេសកម្ពុជាទៅរស់នៅ​ប្រទេស​ផ្សេងៗទៀត។ ម៉្យាងវិញទៀត នាពេលបច្ចុប្បនេះ គ្មានអង្គការសង្គម ស៊ីវិលណាមួយ ឬស្ថានប័នរដ្ឋណាមួយ បាន​ធ្វើការងារលើវិស័យច្បាប់ សម្រាប់ជួយការពារដល់ពួកគេឡើយ ដែលជាហេតុធ្វើឲ្យពួកគេ នៅតែទទួលការបំពាន ដូចជាពីក្រុមអាជ្ញាធរជាដើម។

ការបោះជំហាន ក្នុងការធ្វើសេចក្តីព្រាងរបាយការណ៏ស្តី ពីជនស្រឡាញ់ភេទដូចគ្នានេះ នឹងផ្ញើរជូនទៅ ស្ថានប័ន​ពាក់ព័ន្ធទាំងអស់ ដើម្បីពិនិត្យនិងពិចារណាលើរឿងនេះឡើងវិញ។ យ៉ាងណាមិញ លោកស្រ៊ុន ស្រ៊ន ក៏មាន​សេចក្តី​សោមនស្ស​ចំពោះក្រសួងកិច្ចការនារី ដែលបានបញ្ចូលកម្មវិធីស្ត្រីស្រឡាញ់ស្រ្តី ទៅក្នុងកម្មវិធីរបស់ខ្លួន និងបាន​ចូលរួមក្នុង​កិច្ចពិភាក្សានៅថ្ងៃនេះដែរ។ ជោគជ័យនេះ នឹងជាលទ្ធផលល្អសម្រាប់ការបោះជំហាន ទៅកាន់ការ​ធ្វើ​ទំនាក់ទំនងជាមួយស្ថានប័នរដ្ឋផ្សេងៗទៀត ដើម្បីស្នើសុំឲ្យសហការលើវិស័យនេះផងដែរ។

នៅក្នុងព្រះរាជាណាចក្រកម្ពុជា សិទ្ធិស្មើភាពនៃពលរដ្ឋគ្រប់រូប ត្រូវបានការពារដោយមាត្រា៣១ នៃច្បាប់រដ្ឋធម្មនុញ្ញ​ដែលចែងថា៖ «ព្រះរាជាណាចក្រកម្ពុជា ទទួលស្គាល់ និង គោរពសិទ្ធិមនុស្សដូចមានចែងក្នុងធម្មនុញ្ញ​នៃអង្គការ​សហប្រជាជាតិ សេចក្តី ប្រកាសជាសកលស្តីពីសិទ្ធិមនុស្ស និងកតិកាសញ្ញា ព្រមទាំងអនុសញ្ញាទាំងឡាយ​ទាក់​ទង​នឹងសិទ្ធិ មនុស្ស សិទ្ធិនារី និងសិទ្ធិកុមារ»។

ដោយឡែក នៅក្នុងសេចក្ដីថ្លែងការណ៍មួយ របស់អង្គការសហប្រជាជាតិ ចុះថ្ងៃទី១០ ខែធ្នូ ឆ្នំា២០១២ លោកបា គីមូន (Ban Ki-Moon) អគ្គលេខាធិការរបស់អង្គការអន្តរជាតិនេះ ក៏បានថ្លែងសង្កត់ធ្ងន់ដែរ ពីការរើសអើង​ផ្នែក​លើ​ហេតុផល នៃទំនាក់ទំនងភេទនិង យ៉េនឌ័រនេះ។ លោកបានអះអាងថា ទោះមិនទទួលស្គាល់ជាលក្ខណៈបុគ្គល ឬ​សូម្បី​តែ​ជា​លក្ខណៈសង្គមក្តី ក៏មិនអាចយកមកធ្វើជាហេតុផលសម្រាប់ការឃាត់ខ្លួន ការឃុំខ្លួន ការដាក់ពន្ធនាគារ ការយាយី ឬការធ្វើទារុណកម្មទៅលើបុគ្គលណាមួយឡើយ៕

ដោយ ក. សេងហុង (ទំនាក់ទំនង៖ khmer@monoroom.info) – ភ្នំពេញ ថ្ងៃ២១ ខែមករា ឆ្នាំ ២០១៤

For more information from original link http://www.monoroom.info/news/post/2590


LGBT advocates seek equality

Members of LGBT advocacy group Rainbow Community Kampuchea (RoCK) at a Pride event in Phnom Penh last May. Phnom Penh hosted the first Cambodia National LGBT community dialogue yesterday. Scott Howes

The government must amend legislation to stamp out hate crimes and discrimination against Cambodia’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens, rights activists said during a forum in the capital yesterday.

“We are ordinary people too,” said Nay Sitha, from advocacy group the Rainbow Community Kampuchea (RoCK). “Ordinary people that need access to jobs, education and healthcare; why should we be discriminated against for how we dress or who we love?”

During the second day of the first community dialogue dedicated to the advancement and discussion of Cambodia’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) population, activists, civil society groups and United Nations agencies made it clear that LGBT Cambodians aren’t alone in their fight against discrimination.

Reliable statistics and documentation of police discrimination or gender-based brutality are limited, especially because LGBT individuals – fearing further abuse and stigma – rarely report such incidents. But civil society groups such as the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) are working to fill the void.

“Part of our plan for this year is to allocate some of our budget to conducting more research on violence being committed against LGBT [Cambodians] by local authorities and stigmatisation being perpetrated in schools,” said Nuon Sidara, director of CCHR’s sexual orientation and gender-identity program.

According to Srorn Srun, an activist moderating discussions and presentations during the conference, discrimination remains commonplace.

“Last year, when the Ministry of [Women’s] Affairs was rolling out plans for the national action plan to stop gender-based violence for 2014-2017, they agreed to include lesbians, bisexual women and [self-identifying] transgender women,” Srun said, adding that while this was positive, more inclusive institutional protection was needed.

Yesterday Sivan Botum, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, declined to comment on the ministry’s involvement in advocating for such rights.

Some of those present at yesterday’s forum called for changes to the legal definition of marriage and the delivery of equal rights in education, health and employment that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender.

But Chou Bun Eng, secretary of state at the Ministry of Interior, disagreed that discrimination against LGBT Cambodians was rampant.

“I do not agree that more LGBT Cambodians are still discriminated against when we allow them equal access to jobs and schools. Our constitution already protects them, they don’t need more,” she said.

But anecdotal testimony given by more than 50 LGBT community members during Monday’s session showed that discrimination remains widespread, said Marie-Dominique Parent, deputy representative for the Cambodia office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaims that ‘all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights’. This means all human beings, not some, not most, but all – regardless of who we are and whom we love,” she said.

Contact author: Amelia Woodside




ឃួន ធារ៉ា
22 មករា 2014

បាតុករ​​ខ្មែរ​ម្នាក់​​បិទ​ផ្លាក​នឹង​មាត់​ក្នុង​អំឡុង​ពេល​ធ្វើ​ការ​តវ៉ា​ប្រឆាំង​នឹង​ការ​រើសអើង​​​​ចំពោះ​មនុស្ស​ស្រឡាញ់​ភេទ​​ដូច​គ្នា (LGBT) នៅ​មុខ​រដ្ឋសភា​ជាតិ​កាល​ពី​ថ្ងៃ​ទី​១៦ ខែ​វិច្ឆិកា ឆ្នាំ​២០១២។

ភ្នំពេញ — មនុស្ស​ស្រឡាញ់ភេទ​ដូច​គ្នា ​មនុស្ស​ស្រឡាញ់​ភេទ​ទាំង​ពីរ​ និង​មនុស្ស​កែប្រែ​ភេទ ​ដែល​ហៅកាត់​ថា ​LGBT ​សរុប​ជាង​៧០​នាក់​មក​ពី​បណ្តា​ខេត្ត​ក្រុង​នានា​ក្នុង​ប្រទេសបាន​ត្អូញ​ត្អែរ​ថា​ពួកគេ​ត្រូវ​សង្គម​បោះ​បង់​ចោល​និង​ទទួល​រង​ការរើស​អើងនិង​ការ​រំលោភ​ផ្សេងៗ។

ថ្លែង​ក្នុង​សិក្ខាសាលា​ថ្នាក់​ជាតិ​លើក​ដំបូង​ស្តី​ពី​ LGBT ​ដែល​រៀបចំ​ឡើង​កាល​ពី​ថ្ងៃ​អង្គារ​នេះ​ក្នុង​ក្រុង​ភ្នំពេញ​ លោក វីរៈ​ ដែលជា​បុរស​ស្រឡាញ់ភេទ​ដូចគ្នា​ម្នាក់លើកឡើង​ថា​ លោក​ធ្លាប់​ត្រូវ​បាន​ឪពុក​លោក​គំរាម​កាត់​កាល​ចោល​ដោយ​សារ​លោក​ជា​មនុស្ស​ស្រឡាញ់ភេទ​ដូច​គ្នា។​

«ខ្ញុំ​បាន​ជួប​ប្រទះ​នៅ​ពេល​ខ្ញុំ​ចូលរួម​សិក្ខាសាលា​មួយ​បង្ហាញ​ពី​អ្នក​ស្រឡាញ់ភេទ​ដូចគ្នា​ហើយ​នៅ​ពេល​ហ្នឹង​ខ្ញុំ​បាន​បង្ហាញ​ថា​ខ្ញុំ​ជា​អ្នក​ស្រឡាញ់ភេទ​ដូចគ្នា បន្ទាប់​មក​ប៉ា​របស់​ខ្ញុំ​ទូរស័ព្ទ​មក​រក​កាត់​កាល​ខ្ញុំចោល។ ខ្ញុំ​ជជែក​ជាមួយ​គាត់​វិញ ខ្ញុំ​ធ្វើ​អ្វី​ខុស​គ្រាន់​តែ​ស្រឡាញ់មនុស្ស​ភេទ​ដូចគ្នា​ហ្នឹង»។

លោក វីរៈ​បន្ថែម​ថា នេះ​ជា​វេទិកា​ដ៏​កម្រ​មួយបាន​ផ្តល់​ឱកាស​ដល់​ពួក​លោក​ដែល​មាន​មនោសញ្ចេត​នា​ខុស​ប្លែក​ពី​មនុស្ស​ភាគ​ច្រើន​នោះ​សំដែង​ពី​ទុក្ខ​លំបាក​របស់ខ្លួន​ប្រាប់​សាធារណជន​ហើយ​ពួក​ខ្លួន​ចង់​ឲ្យ​មាន​ដំណោះ​ស្រាយ​ក្នុង​សង្គម។

លោក យ៉ា សុថានវុធ ​ហៅ​ក្រៅ​ថា«​ចែ​មុំ» ​មក​ពី​ខេត្ត​បន្ទាយ​មាន​ជ័យ។​ លោក​ជា​អ្នក​ស្រឡាញ់​ភេទ​ដូច​គ្នាដែរ។ លោក​បាន​លើក​ពី​ការ​រឿសអើង​ក្នុង​ការ​ផ្តល់​ការងារ​ដល់​រូបលោក។​

«ពេល​ជាប់​ឈ្មោះ​ជាប់​ខ្ញុំ ស្រាប់​តែ​ពេល​យក​ខ្ញុំ​ទៅ​សម្ភាស​ជាមួយ​នាយកសាលា​ផ្ទាល់​ គាត់​មិន​ហ៊ាន​និយាយ​ថា​ខ្ញុំ​មិន​ត្រូវ​បាន​ទទួល​ទេ ប៉ុន្តែ​គាត់​ឱ្យ​ខ្ញុំ​ចាំ​សិន។ ឥឡូវ​៤​ខែ​ហើយ​ខ្ញុំ​មិន​ត្រូវ​បាន​ហៅ​បន្តិច​សោះ។ ខ្ញុំ​និយាយ​ឱ្យ​ត្រង់​ទៅ​ធ្លាប់​មាន​ការ​អន់​ចិត្ត​ក្នុង​សង្គម​របស់​ខ្មែរ​យើង​ដែល​គាត់​មិន​ទាន់​បើក​ចិត្ត​គំនិត​ឱ្យ​ទូលាយ។ គាត់​ត្រូវ​តែ​បែងចែក​អ្នក​ណា​ដែល​អាច​ធ្វើ​ការ​បាន អ្នក​ណា​ដែល​មិន​អាច​ធ្វើ​ការ​បាន។ រឿង​អ្វី​ដែល​គាត់​ត្រូវ​បញ្ជាក់​អំពី​រឿង​ភេទ»។

សព្វ​ថ្ងៃ​នេះ​មាន​មនុស្ស​ស្រឡាញ់ភេទ​ដូច​គ្នា ​មនុស្ស​ស្រឡាញ់​ភេទ​ទាំង​ពីរ​ និង​មនុស្ស​កែប្រែ​ភេទ ​ហៅ​ថា​ LGBT​ ប្រហែល​ជាង​មួយ​ម៉ឺន​នាក់​នៅ​ទូទាំង​ប្រទេស។ នេះ​បើ​តាម​លោកស្រ៊ុន ស្រ៊ន ទីប្រឹក្សា ​LGBT ​របស់​ឧត្តម​ស្នងការ​សិទ្ធិ​មនុស្ស​របស់​អង្គការ​សហប្រជាជាតិ​ប្រចាំ​កម្ពុជា។

ប៉ុន្តែ​លោក​អះអាង​ថា ​តួលេខ​នេះ​រាប់តែ​ជន​ក្នុង​ក្រុម​នេះ​ដែល​បាន​បង្ហាញ​មុខ​ជា​សាធារណៈ​តែ​ប៉ុណ្ណោះ។

លោក​ស្រ៊ុន ស្រ៊ន ​ប៉ាន់​ប្រមាណ​ថា ​តួលេខ​ពិតប្រាកដ​នៃ​ក្រុម​ LGBT ​អាច​មាន​ចំនួន​លើស​ពី​នេះ។

ហើយក្រុម ​LGBT​ មាន​ទាំង​ជនជាតិ​ដើម​ភាគតិច​និង​ជនជាតិ​ខ្មែរ​ឥស្លាម​ផង​ដែរ។

លោក ស៊្រុន ស៊្រន បញ្ជាក់​បន្ថែម​ថា​ សព្វថ្ងៃ​នេះ​កម្ពុជា​នៅ​មិន​ទាន់​មាន​ច្បាប់​និង​គោល​នយោបាយសម្រាប់​មនុស្ស​ប្រភេទ​ LGBT​ នេះ​នៅ​ឡើយ​ទេ​ ហើយការ​បោះបង់​និង​ការ​រើស​អើង​ពួកគេ​ជា​ការ​ខាតបង់​មួយ​របស់​សង្គម។

«ដោយ​យើង​មើល​ឃើញ​អញ្ចេះ ដោយ​មើល​ឃើញ​មិត្ត​ភ័ក្ត​ខ្ញុំ​ដែល​ចេះ​ដឹង​ហើយ​មិន​អាច​រស់​នៅ​ក្នុង​សង្គម​ខ្មែរ​បាន​គាត់​ទៅ​នៅ​អូស្ត្រាលី អាមេរិក សិង្ហបុរី គឺ​នៅ​ប្រទេស​ដែល​មាន​ភាព​កក់ក្តៅ​ជាង។ ដូច្នេះ​ធនធាន​មនុស្ស​ដែល​ល្អៗ​មិន​អាច​មាន​រស់នៅ​ក្នុង​ស្រុក​ខ្មែរ​បាន គាត់​នឹង​រត់​ចេញ។ ហើយ​ធនធាន​មនុស្ស​ដែល​មិន​ត្រូវ​បាន​អភិវឌ្ឍ​ហ្នឹង គឺ​គាត់​លក់ផ្លូវ​ភេទ ប្រើប្រាស់​គ្រឿងញៀន ដើរ​លួច​ឆក់​ប្លន់​គេ ដូច្នេះ​អ្នក​ដែល​នៅ​មិន​បាន​អភិវឌ្ឍ​គឺ​នៅ​ដោយ​បែប​ហ្នឹង»។

សូម​បញ្ជាក់​ថា​សិក្ខាសាលា​ស្តីពី ​មនុស្ស​ស្រឡាញ់ភេទ​ដូច​គ្នា ​មនុស្ស​ស្រឡាញ់​ភេទ​ទាំង​ពីរ​ និង​មនុស្ស​កែប្រែ​ភេទ​នេះ​គាំទ្រ​ដោយឧត្តម​ស្នង​ការ​អង្គការ​សហ​ប្រជាជាតិ​សម្រាប់​សិទ្ធិមនុស្ស​នៅ​កម្ពុជា ​គាំទ្រ​ដោយទី​ភ្នាក់ងា​អភិវឌ្ឍន៍​អន្តរជាតិ​របស់​សហរដ្ឋ​អាមេរិក(USAID) ​និង​កម្មវិធី​អភិវឌ្ឍន៍​សហ​ប្រជាជាតិ(UNDP)។

ក្រោយ​ពី​បញ្ចប់​សិក្ខាសាលា​នេះ ក្រុម​សិក្ខាកាម​បាន​ចេញ​សេចក្តី​ថ្លែងការណ៍​រួម​មួយ​ដើម្បី​ស្វែងរក​ការ​លើក​ទឹកចិត្ត និង​បញ្ឈប់​អំពើ​ហិង្សា​និង​ការ​រើសអើង​ទៅ​លើ​ពួកគេ​ពី​សំណាក់​ក្រុម​គ្រួសារ នៅ​ក្នុង​វិស័យ​អប់រំ សារព័ត័មាន ​និង​សេវា​សាធារណៈ។ សេចក្តី​ថ្លែងការណ៍​នេះ​នឹង​ត្រូវ​បញ្ជូន​ទៅ​ស្ថាប័ន​សាធារណៈ​របស់​រដ្ឋពាក់​ព័ន្ធដូចជា​ក្រសួង​កិច្ចការ​នារី ក្រសួង​សុខាភិបាល និង

Original link is http://khmer.voanews.com/content/cambodia-lgbt-community-wants-an-end-to-discrimination-khmer/1834878.html

Sou Sotheavy: An LGBTI Activist Who Never Gives Up

As the David Kato Vision & Voice Award begins to celebrate its third year, we continue to receive hundreds of nominations of phenomenal activists for LGBTI rights around the world. With the announcement of this 2014 winner coming up on February 14th at the renowned Teddy Awards in Berlin, we are honored to introduce you to the 5 incredible people who have been shortlisted for this year’s award.

Last week we started this series with Mac-Darling Cobbinah of Ghana, and this week we are thrilled to present Sou Sotheavy of Cambodia. Born in 1940 in Takeo Province, Sotheavy survived the brutal reign of the Khmer Rouge regime to become a leading figure in Cambodia’s movement for LGBTI rights. Now 74 years old, she continues to travel to the provinces to support fledgling LGBTI organizations, and she has said that she will continue to work for LGBTI rights for as long as she can walk.

It was in 1999 – Cambodia had just overcome thirty years of civil war – when Sou Sotheavy began to realize that although many civil society organizations were being founded in the newly established setting of peace and stability none of them supported LGBTI people. “Discrimination against LGBTI and sex workers was simply ignored”, says Sotheavy recalling her own background of being born as a man but identifying herself as a woman. When her family discovered her transgender orientation she was physically and emotionally abused until, at the age of 14, her mother chased her out of her home saying that “You are no longer my son.”

Sotheavy remembers clearly how lonely and abandoned she felt when she sought refuge in a pagoda which took her in. Later on, when she found her place among a group of LGBTI in Cambodia’s capital of Phnom Penh, she realized how important support networks are. Even in her darkest hours during the rule of the Khmer Rouge from April 1975 to January 1979, an ultra-communist oppressive regime which aimed to wipe out any person they deemed to fall outside of the norm, she was able to survive with the help of other LGBTI. It was in 1999 that Sotheavy made the decision to commit her life to the fight for LGBTI who suffered like she did.

Her first initiative was to create LGBTI support groups in Phnom Penh and other provinces. Using her network of LGBTI friends in various communities, Sotheavy identified LGBTI people in five different provinces and brought them together to learn about their rights, violence against LGBTI, and health issues. In each group, a team leader was designated as focal person to receive training from Sotheavy to continue outreach and awareness-raising activities in their communities. Team leaders were assigned to become the first point of contact for emergencies or other cases where members of the LGBTI support group were in need of assistance.

Not long after, the support groups became active on their first case. In 1999, two LGBTI sex workers were killed by their clients for unknown reasons. Alerted by the support group, Sotheavy filed a complaint to the police on the victims’ behalf, who had no support from their families. However, despite several meetings with the police, no investigation has been conducted to this day, even though at each meeting the police promised to take action. In the following years, 16 other LGBTI sex workers were killed by their clients without being held accountable for their crimes.

But Sotheavy remains undaunted. Despite the challenges, her work has achieved my victories as well. Sotheavy still remembers the moment her work first made a positive difference, back in 2000 when she first began. That year, Ouk Chanara was a young boy of 16 from a province bordering Phnom Penh who decided to reveal to his parents that he was homosexual. Shortly after, Sotheavy was called by the support group to facilitate a dialogue between Ouk Chanara and his parents, who were about to chase him out of their home. With her own story in mind, Sotheavy met with the entire family for a series of consultation sessions during which she tried to foster their acceptance and understanding.

“It was a challenge to get through to the family. They were not open to any discussion in the beginning. They felt ashamed that their son behaved like this,” Sotheavy recalls. Today, Ouk Chanara has a good relationship with his parents. He was never chased out of their home and can freely live according to his sexual orientation.

Since then, Sotheavy has continued to pursue her vision of a world where LGBTI people no longer suffer discrimination and can exercise their rights like any other citizen. At present, she is working on expanding the LGBTI support groups to other provinces that have not been covered thus far. Her goal is to establish such groups in all provinces of Cambodia so that any LGBTI person can seek assistance within their own community. At the same time, Sotheavy continues to hold consultation meetings with LGBTI and their families to help restore their relationships. “The team leaders do not dare to intervene in affairs of their community members, so they call me,” explains Sotheavy. Since the beginning of this year, she has been working with four different families.

Discrimination and abuse do not only originate from the family but also from the broader community. Sotheavy’s work therefore includes outreach and awareness-raising visits where she and team leaders go from house to house in a single village to share information about LGBTI rights and call on the villagers to stop anti-LGBT discrimination and violence. Recently, these efforts were broadened through open forums where members of the community, local authority, police, and LGBTI support groups came together to listen to the testimonies of LGBTI people and discuss solutions for their problems. Such open forums were held in three different provinces with around 500 participants each. “Everyone was interested to hear about the issues that LGBTI face on a daily basis. To me it was great to see and feel the support of so many people,” recalls Sotheavy.

When asked about where she finds her strength to continue her work, Sotheavy describes the story of Cindy, a transgender woman who also called upon Sotheavy for a family consultation meeting. Despite Sotheavy’s efforts, the family asked Cindy to leave their home. Cindy made her own way and became a very successful make-up artist. Today, Cindy is the president of a foundation which provides financial support for health services or other needs of LGBTI people. “Even sometimes when we think we have failed, this work can still make a difference. That’s why I never give up.”
Posted by MSMGF Secretariat at 11:55 AM