Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Discrimination a fact of LGBTI life: group

Discrimination a fact of LGBTI life: group

Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community dance at an event last year during Pride Week in Phnom Penh’s Tuol Kork district.
Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community dance at an event last year during Pride Week in Phnom Penh’s Tuol Kork district. Charlotte Pert

Discrimination a fact of LGBTI life: group

When Srorn Srun, founder of the human rights organisation CamASEAN, checked his Facebook account on Saturday, he found an upsetting, but not uncommon message. A transgender man in Kampong Thom province had written saying that he had just told his parents that he no longer wanted to live as a woman, and they had responded by beating him.

Yesterday marked the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOT) – and the focal point of Phnom Penh LGBTI Pride week – but for many across the Kingdom, gender and sexual orientation-based discrimination remains part of day-to-day life.

“For young LGBTI [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex] people there is a lot of physical violence,” Srun explained. He said it is common for parents to beat a child who comes out as transgender or gay. Often children are pulled from school, deprived of financial support or forced into marriage, despite their orientation. Too often, Srun added, children respond with suicide.

Srun estimates at least 100 incidents of violence against LGBTI people have been reported in the first four months of 2015. Police reports also indicate Siem Reap and Battambang provinces – tourist hubs where transgender women flock to sell sex – see a heightened number of abuses.

This year, CamASEAN and the Cambodia Center for Human Rights (CCHR) are targeting violence through the school system by working with the Ministry of Education to create an anti-discrimination policy for Cambodia’s schools.

The first-ever anti-bullying workshop was also held last Thursday for high school students in Prey Veng province; an initiative spurred after a gay teacher was sacked for coming out last year.

“The principal told him that he should not be gay,” Srun recalled. “We want to show that being LGBTI is not different from others – we are students; we are co-workers.”

In 81 countries, same-sex relationships are a crime and nearly 70 per cent of the world’s population is not free to express their sexual or gender identities, according to IDAHOT statistics.

“We are all concerned about the continued use of sexual orientation and gender identity to justify serious human rights violations around the world,” EU Ambassador to Cambodia Jean-Francois Cautain said in a press release issued yesterday.

As a sign of solidarity, rainbow-striped flags were raised yesterday alongside the country flags of several European embassies in Phnom Penh.

MOST VIEWED

  • Forest rangers seek 1,210 rifles after serious attacks

    The Ministry of Environment sought permission from the Ministry of National Defence to arm municipal and provincial rangers with 1,210 rifles in response to one of its rangers being killed and two others critically assaulted while out on patrol in Mondulkiri and Kampong Thom provinces. In

  • Rainsy stopped in Paris from boarding Thai flight

    Airline officials at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport on Thursday prevented Sam Rainsy from boarding his flight to Bangkok ahead of his announced return to Cambodia on Saturday. Prime Minister Hun Sen had earlier in the day assured Phnom Penh residents that there would be

  • Analyst: Rainsy blocked from boarding flight 'an excuse'

    THAI Airways not allowing Sam Rainsy on its route from Paris to Bangkok on Thursday is being used as an excuse to keep his standing among fellow coup plotters and his uninformed supporters as flights to non-Asean countries are available, an analyst said on Friday.

  • Rainsy lands in Malaysia

    Cambodian opposition figure Sam Rainsy arrived in Kuala Lumpur airport on Saturday afternoon after boarding a flight from Paris, where he has been living for more than four years. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation spokesperson Koy Kuong said on Saturday that Cambodia respected

  • Sokha continues call for dropping of charge after bail conditions reduced

    Not satisfied with having his bail conditions reduced, allowing him to travel freely in Cambodia, Kem Sokha says he wants his charge totally dropped. “As an innocent man who has been in detention for two years even without being found guilty, I continue to demand

  • Prayut indicates no entry into Thailand for CNRP’s Rainsy

    Cambodian government officials on Wednesday welcomed the position of Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha after he indicated that Sam Rainsy would not be allowed to return to Cambodia through Thailand. “According to our commitment to Asean, we will not interfere in each other’s internal