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Ngo Menghourng takes in the works of photography on display at the French Cultural Centre and has plenty to say about them

About 50 photos of transvestites are being exhibited at the French Cultural Centre gallery from February 3 to February 26, with the aim of promoting their rights and reducing discrimination.

French photographer and designer Charlotte Ducrot, 38, has been working with transvestites at two gay bars, Blue Chilli and The Classic, in Phnom Penh in order to take pictures of their daily activities.

At about 7:15pm on February 3, the first day the exhibition opened, I saw lots of people going to see the exhibition and the parking plot was full.  

When I arrived at the CCF and walked in, I was really surprised and interested in the event. All the neon lights were turned off, which made it difficult to see the photo exhibition.

But by the time I reached the middle of CCF’s hall, I saw four people standing on a table and wearing women clothes.

After looking at them for a few minutes, I realised they were transvestites who were invited to dance and make a show. A few minutes later, the music started and they began moving slowly and softly in front of the audience.

When the music finished, one took of her wig and walked away from the group of transvestites. Then I realised that she was Charlotte Ducrot, the photographer whose photos were exhibited at the CCF.

After she walked away, the group of transvestites continued dancing to please the audience. The crowd watched closely and gave them a big cheer when they finished.

On that day I was a bit stressed out, but I relaxed and felt happy after joining this event.

When the transvestites finished their performance, all the neon lights were turned on in the hall of the CCF gallery in order to let the audience enjoy the photos which were hung on the wall.

Me and my neighbour walked slowly along the photos and had a good, close look. I was very interested in the photos, which reflected the  activities of the transvestites before, during and after their dancing shows.

I really liked most of the photos because they showed transvestites who looked pretty beautiful, and some looked more beautiful than real women.

After seeing those photos, I could understand better about the behaviour and the daily lives of transvestites. I also thought that people should not discriminate against them since they were also human beings like us and they had their rights to do what they wanted.

Although I loved most of the photos exhibited at the CCF, I also found some photos which I disliked and I thought should be taken down.  

For instance, I saw that some photos were blurred and the subjects in the photos did not have heads and showed the transvestites’ breasts and underwear.

This seemed not to promote their rights, but instead looked down or laughed at them. And it was not only me who had that impression, but others also criticised those photos.

I heard two foreigners gossiping and laughing at those photos after they saw them.  

By the way, during the exhibition the audience was provided with free drinks and snacks, which made the event a happy one and more people kept coming to join in.

If you missed seeing the opening of the exhibition, you can still go to see these photos whenever you are free. Please do not miss seeing this special exhibition, especially if you are in a minority sexual group like them.

The photo exhibition about transvestites continues at until February 26, at CCF.


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