|Jennifer Josef, ILGA-ASIA|
|Jennifer Josef, ILGA-ASIA|
Cambodia Pride 2011 is organized by Rainbow Community Kampuchea (RoCK), a voluntary non-profit group which aims to support Cambodian Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people (LGBT) by recognising and promoting the need for equality and respect regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity (SOGI).
The Pride committee consists of volunteers who work together with NGOs and local businesses to reduce discrimination based on sexuality and co-ordinate events to help nurture and strengthen the LGBT community in Cambodia.
Pride 2010 was a great success and built on the achievements and lessons learned from Pride 2009. We are now organizing Cambodia LGBT Pride 2011 and it is going to be even bigger, better and more ambitious than ever!
As is customary, Pride will start off with a NGO Stakeholder Workshop organised and hosted by Bandanh Chaktomuk; Cambodia’s national network for men who have sex with men (MSM). Attendees will include key NGOs, policy makers and stakeholders. The objective of this event is to:
Following on from this important event, there will be an action-packed week celebrating the LGBT community in Cambodia. There really is going to be something for everyone; gay or straight, old or young, rich or poor, city or countryside!
Planned events include various art and photography exhibitions, a film festival featuring Cambodian and foreign films on LGBT themes, daily Pride aerobics workouts in the park, a pool tournament, a quiz night, roller skating, a family and community day with a visit to a local pagoda, workshops on LGBT issues, various drag shows, karaoke nights, parties and other social events.
The number of volunteers, both foreign and Khmer, who are keen to get involved in organising Pride gets bigger every year and this means that the schedule gets more and more interesting! A key component of Pride 2011 is an attempt to incorporate the ideas of as many young Cambodian LGBT people as possible. As a result, this year’s Pride has a real Cambodian flavour to it! Khmer members of the Pride team are particularly excited about the community day and blessing ceremony which they hope will give them a chance to share their love of Cambodia culture with their friends and families. They are keen to show that Cambodian LGBT people value their nationality, culture and religion as much as other Cambodians. The whole team is very excited to see that Pride Week in Cambodia is really coming into its own.
A full, up to date schedule of events can be found at the following websites; www.mstylekhmer.com (Events section) MStyle Facebook page, Cambodia LGBT Pride Facebook page or by calling the person listed below. For the first time this year there will also be a ‘Guide to Pride’ booklet printed and distributed in the coming weeks that will feature a list of LGBT friendly venues and additional information about events during Pride week. Look out for this booklet at LGBT friendly venues around town.
As we mentioned above, Pride is organised by volunteers and is funded almost entirely by donations from supportive businesses and individuals. If anyone is interested in supporting Pride with their time, energy or money then we would be very happy to hear from them.
Although Pride is an LGBT initiative, we would like to encourage anyone who is interested to come along and celebrate with us.