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My Voice, my journey: Towards an inclusive environment

The following is a transcription of  Socheata Long’s presentation during the ‘The Power of Inclusion’ closing event in Voice Cambodia


Socheata Long, proud partner and rightsholder of Voice in Cambodia
Socheata Long, proud partner of and rightsholder from Voice in Cambodia, sharing her story of change


Hello everyone! My name is Socheata Long, identified as bisexual. Today, I’m so excited to share with you in this event of Voice Cambodia on Celebrating 8 years of Partnership under the title: “The Power of Inclusion’ all about how I found my voice and empowered it throughout my journey towards an inclusive environment. Here is my storytelling:


So…why does it (voice) all matter? Because our voices are so powerful.


That power comes not just from the words we speak but from everything that makes us who we are including our actions, values, behaviors, and attitudes.

So, it’s essential to embrace what makes our voice unique.

And let’s be honest here: our journeys to finding and using our voices are rarely the same.

We all have different backgrounds, stories, and experiences. So today, I’ll share my story, and hope it inspires you to find your own voice.


Can you believe that this was me 20 years ago at my aunt and uncle’s wedding?


That little person in between the curtains. Anyways so….
The truth is, I was in the closet for more than 20 years. And I only got the courage to come out in recent years. To my surprise, my parents’ reaction was, “Oh yeah it took you long enough! We knew you were gay long ago. So, I thought to myself …  huh   If I’d never spoken up about it or let my voice heard   I’d have never known that they’re okay with it and accept me for who I am!!!



Here’s the thing: especially in this part of the world where cultures and traditions don’t really have a lot of room for diversity and inclusivity …

Coming out can be incredibly difficult for a lot of us.
Many people struggle with finding acceptance and inclusion.

So, when this challenge became a turning point for me. I realized 2 things here.

☝️1 the power of speaking my truth

and ✌️2 the importance of creating a safe space for others.

So, this is where my journey began and continued.


It was when I was introduced by Sokcheat (Shoutout to Sokcheat) to a project organized by LoveIsDiversity and powered by VOICE called “LBT Peer Support Peer” back in 2022. I have learned so much throughout the project. From the history of LGBT to Terminology, SOGIESC, Mental Health, Leadership Skills, and more activities.


Then, I knew that it was time to start echoing my voice and the voice of the LGBTIQ+ community in Cambodia. Then, I joined LoveIsDiversity as a core team member, marking another significant milestone in my journey. It provided me with a powerful platform to amplify my voice for the LGBTIQ+ community in many ways throughout the year. And here I am again, receiving an honored opportunity to echo my voice even louder toward an inclusive environment with all of you today.


Photos from their Voice project Socheata shared during her presentation
Photos from their Voice project Socheata shared during her presentation


So, Let’s Imagine a world where everyone feels valued, respected, and empowered to participate and project their voice. That is inclusion!

So, do you agree that an inclusive environment allows everyone to reach their full potential? You agree, yeah? When everyone feels included, it fosters collaboration, innovation, empowerment, and a sense of community and belonging Regardless of gender, background, identity, and/or ability.


Last but not least, a supportive environment is essential to navigate this journey. Standing here today is a testament to the importance of a supportive environment. It’s not just about finding our own voices but having encouragement from our families, friends, the community, and a whole network of supporters. All forms of support, whether emotional, financial, educational, and/or practical, can make a positive difference in our journeys.

So! “Together, let’s create a world where everyone feels included, supported, and empowered to project their unique voices.”


Thank you, everyone!


Socheata and the audience during her powerful sharing


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