By: Roath SoPhanna
While some developed countries like the United States has declared its approval for same sex marriage, Cambodia is still not clear on its own stance whether to against or to follow the trend. According to LGBT advisor of the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations in Cambodia, there are approximately 10,000 Cambodian Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) throughout the country and this figure refers only to those who publicly appear in the group. They are still struggling to fight against discrimination in Cambodian society, especially their family and friends.
It is often heard that loving the same sex is against the nature and cannot be accepted in Cambodian society. Old saying also believe that they commit sin if the same sex people make love together. In addition, it is still controversial that they are seen to be a social virus that causes country undeveloped. It could be acknowledged that without law supporting and protecting LGBT rights, the hatred and discrimination still exist in Cambodian’s stereotype. In this regard, it could lead to social issue because education and employment are still not open equally for them regarding to sexual and gender identity.
What is wrong with loving the same-sex partner? Of course it is not. Being LGBT doesn’t necessarily mean a bad person. The love of same sex couple is the same as love between girl and boy. To be deeper, it shares the same honesty, warm, jealousy, caring, trust, obedience, etc. like other normal couple. They also don’t want to be born this way, but they got no choice. They are just being real without doing harm to others. They just want to live in a society that value their existence and treat them equally like many other people do.
So, why do we discriminate the same human being? Talking about legal circle, it stated on article 7 of Universal Declaration on Human Rights “All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.” Everyone deserves equal treatment regardless of his or her gender. Some parents feel embarrassed to have LGBT child; but they fail to think of their child’s side. Some scientists have shown that same-sex attraction is the result from biological inheritance, which means it may be caused by gene from their own parents. They do not choose to be born this way, but their parents are a part in this fate. One more important point is that they are clearly not social viruses. As can be seen, most LGBT people have their own skill to earn money for their living, while some are working in high position in various NGOs or private company. Instead, if we continue to discriminate them at schools or workplaces, they would end up doing sex workers or illegal activities.
In Phnom Penh, recently there were many campaigns implemented to raise awareness of LGBT Rights. In order to make LGBT to be better accepted by their society they are living, it starts from us as individuals. We should learn to be more open-minded to homosexual people since they already suffered a lot in their life. We need to support them with emotional attachment; simply means we should make them stop feeling unequal or inferior to us and let them to face with the reality.
Choosing whom to love is people’s choice, we need to respect their decision and treat them equally as everyone else. Even though LGBT people seem to be neglected by the society, we strongly support LGBT community and show them that no matter what they are, and no matter if there are some people who don’t accept them the way they are, there are still a lot others out there supporting them. We would like to have their voice heard and speak up about who they really are and what they really need.
Stop apologizing for who you are ! #LoveWins