Gay Pride Cambodia 2016

“I am what I am,” is the motto for this year’s Gay Pride Week, starting on May 14, the same week contains International Anti Homophobia and Transphobia Day, May 17. Organisers have come together from the hospitality and business sectors, and from the LGBT community to create a comprehensive programme of empowerment seminars, workshops, cinema and parties to promote equality and understanding of the role of the LGBT community in Cambodian society.

University professor, counsellor, writer and researcher Srorn Srun is a long time Pride organiser and this year he will be coordinating festival workshops with Rainbow Community Kampuchea and CAMasean Youth.

“Our slogan is ‘Coming Out Stay at Home,’ Srun said. “We want to tell communities that LGBT people are living in their communities and that they also have to be respected and are part of those communities, that kids after they come out have to stay at home and be part of their family, not hide or be ousted by that family.”

During Pride Week parties the city’s prominent LGBT nightspots will host every night. Events include BBQ evenings, cabaret shows and street parties. Due to the popularity of last year’s event, the Tuktuk race will return to the streets of Phnom Penh on Sunday May 21, with teams from all sectors of the community entering this unique, colourful street rally. Pride Week culminates in a dance party at the Heart of Darkness on May 21 followed by two recovery pool parties hosted by Rambutan and Arthur & Paul hotels on May 22.

Blue Chilli has incorporated educational booths and an HIV testing clinic into its annual Pride Party on Friday May 20. “We like to support and participate in Gay Pride to show everybody in Cambodia that we are no different from anyone else, “ said owner, Sokha Khem.

Cambodia’s first Gay Pride celebration was held in 2004 by a small group of gay, lesbian and transgender activists in Phnom Penh. Each year since has seen Gay Pride celebrations in the capital grow as human rights organisations and individuals have increasingly taken up the cause to promote equality and diversity throughout the Kingdom.

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