Rainbow Community Kampuchea (RoCK)- Concept Note
VISION of RoCK
RoCK has a vision for Cambodia where Cambodian LGBT citizens live their life receiving full and equal respect, acceptance and human rights from all sectors of society, most especially families, communities and authorities. We wish Cambodian LGBT citizens can feel happy to be who they are and live happy lives.
OBJECTIVES of RoCK
- Improving the lives of LGBT in Cambodia so that LGBT people feel confident to be who they are- through outreach work and other mobilising activies
- Ensuring that LGBT peoples’ rights are recognized and respected by society and families and communities understand and accept LGBT people- through educational, advocacy and case-work activities
- Ensuring that LGBT people have a secure livelihood by decreasing the stigma and discrimination they face and increasing the solidarity and self-help approach within the LGBT community
PRINCIPLES of RoCKers
- RoCK is a Cambodian-led group responding to the needs of the Cambodian LGBT community living in urban and rural Cambodia
- we share commitment to advocacy for LGBT equality and human rights in Cambodia
- we have personal willingness to share our skills, knowledge and time to advance this advocacy
- we share the belief in the equality of every RoCKer- everyone has value, everyone is important and everyone’s contribution is needed to achieve our goals
- we respect all RoCKers- old and young, experienced activists and first-time activists, urban RoCKers and rural RoCKers, we are all equal in the struggle for LGBT rights
- we show society that we are responsible citizens through:
- respect for our families and communities
- respect for the authorities- we work in a positive and polite way
- hard work to fulfill our family duty
- a desire to learn and develop our skills and knowledge
- we believe that they best way to gain acceptance from our families is to work hard to help and support them and show them we are a good son/daughter
CORE COMPONENTS of RoCK’s WORK
This work aims to expand the RoCK network around Cambodia by strengthening existing groups and starting groups in new areas. This work involves field trips and phone/social networking communication with the people and groups around the country.
By the end of 2012 RoCK:
- established connections in 18 of the 24 provinces in Cambodia;
- in 11 provinces RoCK has strong direct connection and informed, active members on the ground;
- in 17 provinces RoCK has friends and contacts- not yet informed and acting to support and solve community problems;
- in 11 provinces RoCK has Facebook contact
This is work on specific cases of human rights violations by families or authorities and cases facing such risks. It involves working with all necessary stakeholders to find a solution- the family, the village chief, other local authorities, local police, human rights organsiations, the media. RoCK is developing expert knowledge on the legal and social supports needed in such casework. In 2012 RoCK achieved some significant successes and forged strong working partnerships.
Awareness-raising activities target the LGBT community, university students, NGOs, government ministries, the media and the general public. Clear information session and workshops have been developed to present and share about LGBT issues- for example SOGI, LGBT Human Rights. Many tools like- short films, research, photo exhibits- have been developed as part of this work.
Specific projects which advance the goals of RoCK usually follow the specific talents and interest of RoCKers and friends of RoCK. Examples are the annual Pride Week Festival; Social Protection Research in 2012; art projects like Thoamada I and Thoamada II (photography); commissioning films and documentaries (Pride Week DVDs, shorts like Two Flowers Against the rain); song-writing and recording, dance groups and more.
There is a strong coordination function keeping all the different components progressing, harnessing opportunities, strengthening partnerships, increasing the network of activists and goodwill. The coordination function also manages the funds and budget preparation for activities, financial management, financial reporting to donors, proposals to donors.
The core element of RoCK’s accountability system is team-work and collective leadership. Decision-making does not rest in one person or one position it rests in the core team.
Core team members show accountability to each other and to each member.
The tasks and roles of each team are clarified in meetings so that everyone clearly understands the role and tasks expected of them. For example, one person manages the RoCK bank account but does not act on anything other than a team-agreed request for funds withdrawal.
The budget RoCK has and what it can be used for is clearly discussed and clarified at meetings.
This makes it easy for all core team members to see and understand what funds RoCK has and how they will be used. In this way everyone understands that no one person in RoCK controls money or decision-making. We are accountable to each other.
History of Pride Week
Cambodia Pride Week has become a regular event in the Kingdom since 2009. Before that time, Pride was first celebrated in 2004 with a Pride party in Phnom Penh which highlighted safe sexual health issues. An annual Pride party continued until 2009 when a group of Cambodian and international LGBT volunteers decided to pool their energy, ideas, skills and time to make a bigger celebration of Cambodia’s fledging LGBT community and to broaden the focus of Pride to the whole life of LGBT people, not just HIV/AIDS awareness. Since 2009 Pride Week has increased the participation of Cambodian lesbians, challenged the stigmatization of LGBT people by focusing on the many talents, contributions and facets of being LGBT (through film, art, performances) and it has highlighted the human rights of LGBT people (through workshops and regional campaigns).
2012 was a highlight year for Cambodia Pride Week. Cambodia was the Chair of ASEAN and RoCK successfully organized the first-ever ASEAN LGBT Pride and made LGBTIQ history!
33 LGBTIQ activists came to Cambodia from Burma, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Laos and the Philippines and joined 80 Cambodian participants from 11 provinces for 5 packed days of activities:
- workshop on Family Acceptance led by PFLAG Vietnam
- workshop on media engagement led by Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines
- workshop on preparing to come our with advice shared and gathered from all participants
- workshop on ‘LGBT Rights are Human Rights’ led by RoCK, UN Women and UN OHCHR
- ASEAN art exhibitions; ASEAN film festival; Blessing Ceremony and Community Day
- ASEAN LGBTIQ Press Conference
These ASEAN LGBTIQ relationships were strengthened and a unique of experience of community inspired and encouraged everyone who joined. Later in the year, in November, the ASEAN LGBTIQ community participated strongly in the civil society events ahead of the 21st ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh- ASEAN Grassroots People’s Assembly (AGPA) and ACSC/APF 2. The exposure to and shared community with their ASEAN LGBTIQ community has strengthened and encouraged existing RoCK activists and inspired a new generation of RoCK activists.
Pride Week 2013, 12-19th May
For this year, as usual, RoCK wishes to design Pride Week in consultation with RoCKers around the country. Through the social media contact as well as the field trips in LGBT organizing, RoCKers have expressed a strong desire for fewer events involving fewer venues. Pride Week has become too busy! New event ideas include a sports day and incorporating films into the workshops. RoCK wishes to organize workshops responding to the casework it has been engaged in, in order to raise awareness of the risks of certain laws (anti-trafficking, commune safety policy) as well as highlight ways of protecting oneself and available solutions.
RoCK also wishes to produce information leaflets on Coming Out and FAQs about LGBT.
- Coming Out will be based on the workshops feedback from last year’s Pride workshop on this topic.
- FAQs about LGBT is compiling all the usual questions RoCKers face when they do awareness sessions with university students in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang, as well as with NGOs, as well as through social media.
This year, RoCK will not coordinate and sponsor the whole of Pride Week. It is clear that the gay businesses enjoy a booming time during Pride Week. They also know the format and will be able to work together to organize the social events.
Likewise, the film venues (META House, The Flicks and CCF) now have the direct links with Queer Film Festival curators and have been asked to take responsibility for organising the film festival which largely attracts the international community, not the main target group of RoCK.
RoCK also wishes to see a mainstreaming of Pride Week into the social and cultural annual calendar of Phnom Penh and this now seems very possible.
All plans will be collated into one Pride Week schedule, as normal.
The schedule for the RoCK-organised part of Pride Week which targets the Cambodian LGBT community, particularly from the provinces, is as follows:
- 15th May– travel day to Phnom Penh
- 16th May– Coming Out because we are not wrong! A workshop aimed at strengthening the community’s ability to speak up for themselves and explain who they are, and also to know the pace at which to do that- it will take time to come out! The information leafeltes will be presented, explained, explored and shared.
- 17th May– IDAHO– The beginnings of accepting LGBT rights – A workshop featuring local authorities, police and human rights lawyers who support LGBT rights; highlighting Hun Sen’s speech of 11th December 2012 which strongly supports LGBT rights as human rights; getting advice from the authorities and police about how to protect yourself and how to explain yourself in a respectful way; exploring sexual harassment faced by LGBT once they are arrested or interact with the police or authorities; learning concrete ways to protect ourselves from these risks.
- 18th May– Learning to protect ourselves from rights violations- A workshop led by a human rights lawyer examining how the anti-trafficking law is being used against lesbians; exploring how the commune safety policy is being used against LGBT; learning concrete ways to protect ourselves from these risks.
- 19th May– Pride Community Day: Blessing ceremony, Sports Day and an evening concert of LGBT performances
- 20th May– travel back to the provinces
RoCK will invite 100 RoCKers from 15 provinces with a special focus on the newer provinces where LGBT organizing has been happening in recent months- the northeast (Ratanakiri, Mondulkiri, Stung Treng and Kratie- indigenous LGBT) and the northwest (Preah Vihear, Paillin, Banteay Meanchey).