Tuesday, February 15, 2011

LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDER PEOPLE IN CAMBODIA

We have a good source about gay information in Cambodia. In below information and website link (Cambodian Center for Human Right: www.cchrcambodia.org) is very important for you to understand about the challenging of gay in Cambodia especially, facing of STD and HIV:

As a result of differences in language and culture, the concept of ‘homosexuality’ as understood in the West is not necessarily directly transferable and understandable in the Cambodian context. Rather, the Cambodian understanding of sexuality is derived from concepts of gender, character and personality. The focus on these character traits and outwardly visible characteristics instead of sexual orientation means that many Cambodians who are homosexual do not identify themselves as such.

Among Buddhists, there is a general disposition to tolerate homosexuality. Because Cambodian culture is predominantly Buddhist, homosexuality, whilst seen as an oddity, does not attract the kind of aggressive reaction as can be seen in Christian or Muslim cultures. Buddhism itself places no value on marriage or procreation. Marriage and procreation are considered positive if they bring about love and respect, but may be deemed negative if pain or strife is caused. However, in Cambodia, cultural, social and economic pressures override Buddhist teachings on marriage – family values are incredibly important and pressure is strong for sons and daughters to marry and have children.

King Father Norodom Sihanouk has expressed public support for LGBT people but the views of other politicians have been mixed. In 2007, Prime Minister Hun Sen publicly disowned his adopted daughter for being a lesbian while imploring parents of gay Cambodians not to discriminate against them. The challenges faced by LGBT people in Cambodia have not been acknowledged by the Royal Government of Cambodia (“RGC”) and do not seem to feature on the RGC agenda at all. Homosexuality is not illegal in Cambodia and there are no anti-gay religious traditions. However, LGBT persons in Cambodia still face discrimination and/or abuse from family members, employers, and police.
Cambodian society can be tolerant of male homosexual behavior provided it is discrete and does not affect the traditional family structure. Sexual behavior amongst male youths may be seen as harmless experimentation, since women are expected to remain ‘pure’ until marriage. Youthful indiscretions may be forgotten or may continue unnoticed. However, eventually men are expected to marry and father children. Given traditional gender roles, women have less ability to pursue same-sex relationships than homosexual males, either privately or publicly.

Given the emphasis placed on marriage and children, most LGBT individuals will feel pressured by family to continue the family line. In addition, the lack of a social security system often means that the older generation becomes heavily reliant on the support and care of the younger generations of their family. Pursuing a homosexual relationship is a path most individuals cannot socially or economically afford to take. The risk of ostracism from a close family network and economic difficulties posed by living outside the family network may mean that LGBT persons do not live the lives they wish to or have to conduct homosexual
relationships in secret.

While LGBT persons appear to most commonly face abuse from their own families and communities, they also sometimes suffer at the hands of the State through the actions of those in positions of authority. Those in positions of authority within the state who instigate or oversee discrimination or violence against LGBT individuals may consciously or unconsciously conceive of such treatment as ‘punishment’ for not adhering to accepted social norms. The perpetrators may also feel a sense of entitlement, seeing themselves as of a higher social status and morally superior to LGBT individuals, who they treat as morally deplorable and second-rate
citizens.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are entitled to all of the same rights as other individuals. Both Cambodian and international law prohibit discrimination against individuals based on their personal characteristics, guaranteeing equal rights and freedoms and equal application of the law to all individuals.

There are encouraging developments taking place in Cambodia that indicate the emergence of a nascent LGBT community. In 2003, international and Cambodian activists began ‘Pride’ in Phnom Penh, an annual celebration and recognition of LGBT rights which includes workshops, film festivals, art exhibits and social gatherings and coincides with the International Day against Homophobia. This culminated in the largest Pride event in Phnom Penh in 2009, with an attendance of over 400 people. Following the success of this event, its coordinators decided to establish RoCK. The purpose of this group is to support, strengthen and extend the existing LGBT community in Cambodia and to raise awareness and understanding of LGBT issues and rights.
The organization is sub-divided into four working groups: Community education, LGBT rights and advocacy, Lesbian support, and the Pride Organization Committee 2010. The establishment of RoCK indicates a clear progression for LGBT people in Cambodia to actively pursue their human rights.

The internet has allowed gay Cambodian people to connect to other gay people, thus raising awareness of a wider, global LGBT community and the possibilities of participating in this. The LGBT social life has improved in Cambodia with Phnom Penh and Siem Reap having what might be described as intimate LGBT social scenes. While these developments are encouraging, it is important to note that most Cambodians live in rural areas and therefore are not exposed to developments occurring mainly in Phnom Penh or online communities.
The CCHR’s LGBT Rights Project will aim to empower both rural and urban LGBT Cambodians, providing information and coordination to allow LGBT Groups and Individuals to network effectively and providing training for documenting instances of abuse occurring throughout Cambodia. The LGBT Rights Project will support LGBT Cambodians in advocating for the recognition of the fact that LGBT people have the same human rights as everyone else.

Thank so much for website of CCHR which provided the value document on this issue.

For more information please related to Khmer or English please click here: Kh and En

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