LGBT in Cambodia and Political Views

Former Minister of Women’s Affairs, Mu Sochua, has voiced support for transgender Cambodians. In a September 2010 article in the Phnom Penh Post’s LIFT magazine, Son Chhay, a Sam Rainsy party lawmaker, said that Cambodia does not have a tradition or custom of acceptance for LGBT individuals as in Western countries and that, as far as he knew, no official requests had been made to the government to legalize gay marriage. He stated, “we may consider [legalizing gay marriage] if we receive any suggestions from gay people.”

However, too few leaders have actively raised or even acknowledged LGBT issues. Prime Minister Hun Sen seemed to indicate a lack of support for LGBT Cambodians when he publicly disowned his adopted daughter in a graduation speech, citing the fact that she was a lesbian. “I have my own problem – my adopted daughter has a wife,” he said. “Now I will ask the court to disown her from my family.” However, in the same speech the Prime Minister urged Cambodians not to follow his example: “I urge parents of gays not to discriminate against them, and do not call them transvestites.”

The President of the Khmer Development of Freedom Organization, Ing Soeurn, asserted that discrimination against homosexuals in Cambodia is only increasing because “within the political regime, authorities put [homosexuals] outside society,” and thus view them as undeserving of equal rights.

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