Cambodia: Mixed reception for the hard-working LGBT community 

Fun Fast Facts:

  • Same-sex activity is legal.
  • Three genders (male, female and an intermediate third gender).
  • In 2007, Prime Minister of Cambodia disowned and disinherented lesbian adopted daughter.
  • Royal family and buddhism followers are supportive of the LGBT community.


LGBT-friendly organisation: Rainbow Community of Kampuchia (ROCK)

  • Provide information and counseling about gender identity and human rights.
  • Work with local authorities, national government, universities and schools to provide LGBT education.
  • Have LGBT activists in 20 of the 24 provinces trained in documenting human rights abuses.


W3JOY interviewed: Srun Srorn from ROCK

 We work with the local authorities to ensure they understand that gay rights are human rights.


It’s hard now because there’s no [international] NGO that is working to support LGBT rights.


We have lesbian, gay couples who have been living together for over 50 years… The police know these people very well, and they accept these couples.


For the gay or the transgender females, it is very hard because they move from one place to the other. But for the couple situation it is easier.


The families expect their children to be straight.


The biggest problem facing the young people today is coming out. A lot of families treat their children to not being gay…the parents start to move as well after the Korean, Westernised come to Cambodia…The families don’t accept it.


If the parent knows they make love to another girl, they do two things, one is to force them to get married and two is to go to [traditional] counseling.


They keep their children in the house, they don’t allow them to go to any friends. They stop them from going to school.


For the ones who can use Facebook, the ones who can use technology, the coming out is very quick.


When I say we have a lot of couples, it is because they are old. Some of them 50, 60, 70 years old.


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