Cambodia's third official Pride celebration began yesterday with a variety of events that will continue throughout the Kingdom this week.
The Pride 2011 committee, consisting of about 30 volunteers who form part of a larger non-profit organisation Rainbow Community Kampuchea, aims to support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Cambodia by promoting awareness, education and community participation.
Events include the Pride Film Festival, a variety of art exhibitions and workshops, morning aerobics classes, together with other social and community events that incorporate LGBT themes. Collette O’Regan, Pride committee member, said she has seen “huge progress” since the first pride was held unofficially in Cambodia in 2004.
“It was a one night party [each year] from 2004 to 2008,” she said. “Each year, more and more people, as well as various groups and venues, want to get involved and help one another.”
Funded primarily by the British Embassy, the American Jewish World Service and private donors, about US$10,000 was raised for Pride this year, according to organisers. While most of the festivities are taking place in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang provinces are also hosting events for the first time this year. Chris Connelly, also a Pride committee volunteer, says the activities focus on inclusion and that everyone is invited.
“The events provide people with the opportunity to come together, see that there are other people who are welcoming and they learn from each other. Many stay in touch and that strengthens the LGBT community,” he said.
For more information visit www.phnompenhpride.blogspot.com