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International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT) and Pride in Battambang, Cambodia   

International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOT) and Pride is finally here. With passion and commitment, SafeSpace Battambang  led the initiative and dedication of several grantee-partners to drive more profound rainbow events in Battambong province. The aim of this  occasion is to celebrate the diverse SOGIESC (sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics) , inclusive and advocate for sensible visibility and to raise awareness of LGBTIQ+’s rights, shed light on LGBTIQ+ lived experiences, feel a sense of pride and belonging. 

The activities kicked of with SOGIESEC and LGBTIQ+ inclusion sharing session from Love is Diversity, an LGBTIQ+ rights organisation. The session hopes to spread knowledge of capacity strengthening for the grantee, rightsholder group, and intersectionality on inclusive languages, particularly mindfulness in the way we communicate the language toward a more significant and better LGBTIQ+ community. The session also synched up with Cambodia’s current policy, changes, and practices. The session shed life experience of being LGBTIQ+ and in an engaging way. The open heart to heart session gaining better insight into the LGBITQ+ community and issues of intersectionality.  

No matter who you are, you will be judged, then be happy with yourself; follow your heart; choices depend on you. _Mrs. Nop Savy: Rightsholder from IDEA organization 

 Do what makes you happy. Keep yourself motivated even in the face of adversity._ Mrs. Nov SreyLeap, From LKO organization 

SafeSpaceBTB also hosted a masterclass facilitated by Sok Visa, a director, and producer in Cambodia; many guests from the arts, LGBTIQ+ community and allies attended the masterclass. The masterclass aimed to demonstrate and guide the people interested in film production and direction; for both people with experience and without knowledge of the topic. Participants were excited to learn and have the conversation, vast experience sharing, and explore some of the field’s tips and tricks. In the end, they all shared and asked many questions.  

Additionally, Lakhon Komnit Organization provided minutes of a creative workshop related to LGBTIQ+ community aimed at awareness and self-analysis to address specifically self-empowerment to overcome the issue. Participants were involved in the training and at the same they were the performers themselves in this activity that Lakhon Komnit Organization prepared. The participants’ pauses, motions, and performances represented issues, possible solutions, and consequences to the problems LGBTIQ+ community. They actively shared and presented stories of marginalisation and discrimination that happened to them. Each team had to think critically to demonstrate what was happening in the activities that they were performing and the intended messages.  

Lakhon Komnit made another surprise and led us to feel like kids again with their entertaining and enjoyable show on Tuk Tuk puppet on the traditional tale “The Man with the Anti-Venom.” Still, all enjoyed, especially for kids and their families. They used very creative approaches, and beautiful Cambodian puppets lead in the performance. The audience, especially the kids were really into this catchy show, full of laughter, involved with their eyes wide. They were cheering, laughing, and learning simultaneously during the hour. It was an incredible experience, and the LKO team’s creativity never failed participants and audiences. 

Coming to the colorful fashion show, it featured a talented designer of Tepsyort Art Fashion team. Mr. Koem Yean conceived the rainbow fashion by magnificent recycled plastic dress with excellent thought to the environment behind the piece design. This is put perfectly with LGBTIQ+ models with confidence, pride, and talent to show the public their potential and skill no matter what their gender identity. This show gave the meaning that every piece of waste can be recycled and could always be turned into a creative and diverse dress and pieces of stuff. Just like an item is small or big, it is counted to added value; likewise, LGBTIQ+ people have the value no matter what SOGIE is, being a part of cell society and being proud of.  

LGBTIQ+ people are part of our society, and they should never leave behind. Instead, be inclusive and sharpen their talent._Koem Yean 

 After the fashion show, a live concert by Viyada and Siev Ai Ai with a beautiful soft voice flowing the heart to empowered and love wins. This made the audience mind-blowing and unknowingly enjoyed with fresh air in the late evening.  

 The pride continues on May 7; panel discussions are happening with the various representations of LGBTIQ+ and allies sharing their minds and hearts, working toward promoting the community’s visibilities and voice.  

The inclusion of LGBTIQ+ presence in the film and production industry shows value and support of universal human rights. _ Ms. Hour Pov, Artist  

 I love what I am; I want to do what I love because time passes and never returns. However, I still hold my privilege and believe that I can do it! _ Lyhuor, A Place to Be Yourself LGBTQI+ member 

 People enjoy the screen movie “Poppy goes to Hollywood” directed by Sok Visal. The movie was released in 2016, and coming out transgender is honored and portrayed in the film. It features the potential, and personal life experience of being LGBTIQ+ in society are encountered. The movie is a comedy and leaves the audience undoubtedly impacted by discrimination, bullying, and rejection was misery. Yet, the film show pride and self-confidence in being who they are.  

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