“Celebration of LGBT Couples and Families”

IHRD 2012 Logo

Rainbow Community Kampuchea (RoCK)
International Human Rights Day 2012-
“Celebration of LGBT Couples and Families”

Background and general activities of RoCK:

RoCK is a Cambodian LGBT rights group. It was formed after the successful Cambodia Pride Week 2009 (10-17th May) when LGBT Pride volunteers wanted to continue working to improve the lives of LGBT people in Cambodia. A week-long Pride involving various events (workshops, film festival, art exhibition, media coverage, social events) was an empowering experience for Cambodian LGBT as they had opportunities to share their experiences and bring more visibility to their lives and their concerns. They felt a stronger sense of community and wished to continue to work together to bring more understanding and visibility of LGBT people to Cambodian society. Since then, RoCK has successfully organized and annual LGBT Pride Week and this year 2012, organized the first-ever ASEAN LGBT Pride Week in Cambodia.

As well as organizing the annual Pride Festival every May, RoCK works all year round to promote LGBT rights awareness and advocacy. It does this by aiming certain activities at general community and society, and certain activities at internal movement building among LGBT-
• RoCKers carry out multiple awareness session for university students of Gender Studies in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang;
• also with other organizations as requested- Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO), KHANA, British Embassy and others;
• RoCK harnesses the power of the arts to increase visibility and understanding through commissioning short films and documentaries, art exhibitions, music and songs;
• RoCK carries out research on LGBT experiences;
• RoCK takes on cases of rights abuses of LGBT to ensure that services are made available and problems are solved;
• RoCK engages in community-organising within the LGBT community promoting volunteerism and self-help as the most powerful and sustainable way to bring about change- “be the change you wish to see!”
• RoCK organizes SOGI workshops for its growing membership around the country to further deepen the LGBT community’s understanding and articulation of their identity

Focus and progamme of IHRD 2012

One of the biggest causes of the discrimination and marginalization experienced by the LGBT community is the accusation that homosexual love is unnatural, abnormal and not belonging to Cambodian culture rather coming to influence young people from exposure to foreign cultures, music and fashions. The deep discrimination against LGBT leads to family rejection of LGBT sons and daughters and fear of this rejection is the biggest factor preventing LGBT people from their freedom of expression and to be who they are. Coming out of the closet comes with huge risks if it leads to one being abandoned or rejected by one’s family, the primary social fabric of life in Cambodia. Addressing this discrimination and strengthening support mechanisms for LGBT people continues to be the core work of RoCK and is the focus of IHRD 2012.

IHRD will focus on the important issue of family acceptance during IHRD this year. There will be a 2-day programme featuring:
1. Our first ever national gathering of LGBT couples and their family members who accept them. We hope this will be a step on the way to founding a PFLAG group in Cambodia- Parents and Friends of Lesbian And Gay. During ASEAN Pride Week we met with the Vietnam PFLAG group and saw it is possible!
2. RoCK will launch its Pride DVD from the previous May on IHRD- our ASEAN LGBT Pride DVD.
3. RoCK will also present the findings of our collaborative research on the exclusion of LGBT from government social protection policy.
4. RoCK will exhibit its photo-book art piece “Cambodian LGBT Lives” featuring LGBT people with family who accept them.

Participants
RoCK will invite 100 RoCKers form the provinces for the 2-day programme and RoCKers from Phnom Penh as well as target groups of KANHNHA, a support organization for HIV+ transgender and MSM with whom RoCK is collaborating.

Venue
Women’s Network for Unity (WNU), # 3-4 Street 339, Tuol Kork, Sangkat Boueng Kak 1, Khan Tuol Kork.
Tel: Srorn 092 300 006 or 093 600 234 or Bong Sitha 089 69 13 03 or Phanut 069 38 78 94

Dates
Sunday-Monday 9-10th December 2012

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