What is the most significant result for your work this year?
a. Lobbying other groups (Women’s Group) for their including LGBT esp. lesbian into women’s agenda with SILAKA
b. Lobbying media (now start with international media as they support us positively) to work better on LGBT cases
c. Develop small zine as the result from pride week, we found that develop a small magazine to further make awareness to parents and lgbt people in the country
d. Develop a Photo Book to motivate more coming out. The photo book is coordinated by Lino our gay activist which has good technical skills for that
e. Radio talk show twice one time in Siem Reap and one time in Battambong
f. Research on social protection barriers and needs for young lesbians and transgenders in collaboration with UNDP and Ministry of Health
a. SOGI training to Lesbian, Gay and transgender activists in Siem Reap which involved from other provinces such Kampong Thom, Bantey Meanchey, Battambong, Pailin and Phnom Penh
b. Lesbian regular meeting every two week in Phnom Penh and every week in Siem Reap, there were 4 meetings of transgender male to female.
c. Field visit to motivate LGBT activists in Kg Speu, Kg Chhnang, Pursat, Battambong, Bantey Meanchey, Siem Reap, Kampng Thom, Kampong Cham, Ratanakiri, Svay Rieng, Prey veng, Kandal, Kampot and Takeo
d. Selling rainbow T-shirt and bracelet as the result of awareness, many straight friends bought these products as they understand about the LGBT issues.
e. Maintaining blog and face book page https://rockhmerlgbt.wordpress.com/ ; http://www.facebook.com/pages/RoCK_LGBT/277331785641578 and http://www.facebook.com/groups/281682915205712/
f. Facilitate two workshops to support the positive HIV gay men(MSM= men who have sex with men)
III. ASEAN PRIDE and ASEAN SOLIDARITY-BUILDING
a. Cambodian ASEAN Pride week which was very helpful for community mobilization. Those Cambodian LGBT from provinces were inspired by ASEAN folks from Laos, Philipine, Indonesia, Singapore, Mynamar, Vietname, Malaysia and Thailand
b. LGBTIQ caucus meeting for pre-APF in march, at least we (ROCK) facilitated for developing strategies in lobbying other groups to include LGTB issues into the ASEAN agenda
c. RoCK-commissioned short films (two lesbian films and one transgender male to female one)
- One lesbian (butch) was charged for 5 years in prison under Human Trafficking Law article 42. This law has been used to punished 1 lesbian is in Battambong charged as having sex with minority.
- A lesbian couple has been separated by femme’s family with the reasons of unacceptable behavior and culture context which the femme has been sent to Krou Khmer every day to change her sexual orientation as family think she was inserted bad spirit by other people.
- There are 4 more cases that their parents are rejecting them and they must change their sexual orientation nor they will be kick out of their houses.
RoCK have been finding lawyers and other legal aids to support cases above. And we are providing counseling to them as well. For the prisoner, we visit them to motivate them to be stronger
What are the biggest obstacles to progress?
The biggest obstacles to progress are:
- the cultural barriers faced by LGBT people coming out to their family- the lack of acceptance, the taboo, the stigma faced. This leads to many problems like family rejection, family abandonment of their LGBT sons and daughters, family violence towards LGBT, homelessness, lower education, lack of employment/discrimination etc
- lack of legal support to challenge family violence and rights abuses of LGBT– with the scale of human rights abuses in Cambodia, rights abuses towards LGBT people are not high priority for human rights NGOs. Such NGOs also have their own homophobia and prejudice towards LGBT people. It means that RoCK has very few allies when it comes to the huge challenges of seeking legal redress for rights abuses towards LGBT
- lack of human resources– RoCK has amazingly committed and hard-working volunteers, however the growing amount of work- as result of successful mobilizing and networking- requires a bigger number of dedicated staff/volunteers on a small stipend. Only in this way can rock consolidate its progress to date and continue to build a much-needed support service for the LGBT community
What do RoCK need to continue to do and/or to do differently?
We experience those supporters- who understand the issues and is really interested to learn more.
We experience those supporters which does not require unreasonable amounts of reports and other paperwork.
We would ask that Supporters continue to be such more supportive.
We would ask that donors continue to provide funds to RoCK and to consider increasing those funds to facilitate the growth of our work- the increase in dedicated human resources is a key need to grow our work.
We would ask that all UN and supporters to lobby internally and with other like-minded donors, to provide an emergency fund to provide for legal fees. During Navin’s recent visit to Cambodia we discussed how funds to provide legal services is the real emergency in the face of human rights abuses.
We would ask supporters to think about supporting some regional work to link and strengthen the LGBT partners in ASEAN. RoCK can be supported best from those partners in neighbouring countries which share similar challenges and find ways to overcome. If supporters could work with these regional partners to find a way to have regular sharing and collaboration, this would be valuable and also add value to each partners’ work.