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Unfolding our LGBTQIA+ journey: Embracing diversity, equality and inclusion! 


by Saophorn Phoeng, Linking, Learning, and Amplifier Officer, Voice in Cambodia, and Live and Learn Cambodia, Linking and Learning Facilitator


During the event “Enabling the Safe Space with Linking & Learning Community”, which was co-organised by Love is Diversity and Live and Learn Cambodia, we did an introductory session on the concepts of diversity, inclusion, and equality (DEI). We emphasised the importance of listening skills and effective feedbacking. Storytelling and sharing personal experiences were also encouraged, as they helped build acceptance among grantee partners and rightsholders. However, a single session was not enough as there is still a lack of awareness and perspectives. For instance, understanding the LGBTQIA+ struggle, and how homosexual couples live together, and form families, among others. It is also good to share how families, parents, and siblings accept their LGBTQIA+ children and how this positively impacts their lives.


The Community of Practice (CoP) of Love is Diversity (LID) and Women Peace Makers (WPM), together with Live and Learn Cambodia learned that there is a gap in understanding, and we can bridge it to close the gap. It has inspired us to create a more inclusive and supportive education and awareness-raising environment. Voice’s journey is a continuous source of inspiration, particularly for the LGBTQIA+ community. Therefore, the CoP built a partnership through our collective experiences, co-creating a peer-to-peer LBT and Gay support system.


Our project consisted of three main activities:

1) Documentation of LGBTQIA+ love story videos;

2) Celebration of the “Month of Love”, an online campaign, by capturing family acceptance and unconditional love through messages, posters, and engaging online activities; and

3) Hosting the video screening of “Unveiling the LGBTIQ Couple Journey” which also celebrated the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT). The video follows the journey of a beautiful LGBTI couple as they navigate life together, facing the challenges and triumphs that come with being true to oneself and the power of love from their families.


This project captured heartwarming and inspiring documentary videos that celebrate the power of love, acceptance and overcoming the toughest of obstacles. Below are the videos and snippets from it:


“I never rejected my child. I accepted my child immediately after realising that she is gay because I understand that homosexuality is not important, what is important is my child’s well-being,” said Socheata’s mother. 


Motherhood creates an unbreakable bond with children, regardless of any anger or hurt they may feel. Discrimination and lack of recognition for LGBT individuals have caused pain for families and their LGBTQIA+ children. Conversely, acceptance and acknowledgment by both family and society will help foster social harmony for everyone.  Watch the full video here:



I never fully accepted my child. I used to consider excluding my child from my family and even talked to a lawyer about disentitling my child. However, in the end, a mother’s love is strong and unconditional, no matter what,” said a mother.


Watch the full video here:


The screening of “Unveiling the LGBTIQ Couple Journey” also held a discussion aimed at delving deeper into the key message conveyed and the audience’s exchange of ideas and perspectives. The session was opened to the public where the experience of LGBTQIA+ and allies were shared, broadening the horizons of understanding and acceptance.  Here are three videos for public screening:


Video 1 (watch via Facebook)


Video 2


Video 3


“It is an incredible story that softens the heart and uplifts the spirit. Also, LGBTQIA+ individuals feel empowered in a more inclusive and supportive environment where everyone can thrive and be their true selves. You are entitled to be “You” staying true to yourself, and embracing who you are,” said Love is Diversity Team during the reflection meeting post-video screening.


Here are some of the audience’s thoughts from the three video screenings:


“I’m overjoyed that this couple has already formed a loving family and they have a sweet relationship even if they only knew each other for three months. That’s called love is genderless.”


“I’m transgender. I cannot contain the excitement of this couple. In a lifetime, I would never have a pair to walk with me and love me as transgender.”


“I seem not to have a couple to walk with me in a lifetime. But I feel inspired by this video that a woman trust and love him as he is, and this is a source of motivation for me, I appreciate their hard work to run their own business. I hope you continue to love each other and grow old together.”


“Love is love. This narrative is touching; the motor driver was kind to offer this couple a ride to escape from home. Additionally, a link to a story from the past, when I was being questioned: teachers think more of gay people when they are supported, and have allies like us. This factor leads to having LGBT rise. People seem not to understand that love is just love. I’m thankful for a program that reveals love is not limited by gender and embraces diversity. That’s called “love is diversity” just like LiD names the group.”


“I don’t have questions, rather I want to express my feelings. This couple makes me jealous of their built relationship and family.  Love knows no gender.”


“Whether you identify as gay or straight, we stand united because our parents love us no matter what. Show your love and support because we are all human beings and entitled to fair and equal treatment.”


“Whether homosexual or straight; I call for an appeal to everyone, that We can’t change who we are and are born this way. We all are open to accepting diversity and learning to embrace this beautiful diversity’s value. Have courage and be brave to be yourself.”


“I have a family who is gay, and I regret that I didn’t do anything to support my brother who received violence and endured bullying at school and a lot more. When I visited my family once again, I just came to realise this feeling and emotion. He had no one to help with and lend shoulders. How can I help in such a case?”


“I want to express how my feeling is … I can’t quite put into words how I felt afterh watching the three video. Though I didn’t cry, my heart is full. I have a brother who loves men and I regret that I didn’t help him and let him stay alone, under pressure, and almost commit suicide. But I now know how he felt, and I will try to help.”


Lastly, here’s a video celebrating the video screening and IDAHOBIT


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