“I believe growth in our society can only begin by listening to each other”
Thida Kuy, 30
Co-Founder of Loveisdiversity and LGBTIQ Activist, Cambodia
2016 was the year I embraced who I am, it was the year I joined the equality for all movement, and it was the year I asked myself who am I? My name is Thida Kuy, I am Cambodian, I am the Co-Founder of Loveisdiversity and I am a LGBTQ+ activist.
Loveisdiversity is one of few platforms in Cambodia to create awareness about the LGBTQ+ community. We amplify stories and experiences and engage Cambodian society in real and positive truths about the LGBTQ+ community. As a trans man myself, I feel heard when I hear similar stories to mine. I believe growth in our society can only begin by listening to each other, and eventually we will be able to overcome the challenges we face. Loveisdiversity is a platform that contributes to this movement. The feedback I receive from visitors on the platform say that they are happy see it, have learned to accept themselves and have found the courage to speak out. I feel if we keep the momentum and energy we have been using, we can continue this journey and help society accept one another.
I want our community to be made aware of the challenges we all face under gender-based violence; we face discrimination, bullying, physical violence and emotional abuse every day. Our society needs to be educated on these different types of violence and react appropriately to the violence taking place in the lives of women, girls and the LGBTQ+ community.
In Cambodia, our family values are central to our lives. We are brought up to listen and respect our family. This is one of the remarkable aspects of our culture, however, there is pressure to follow societal norms and because of this, those who are in the LGBTQ+ community are sometimes forced to marry. This is just one of many consequences of our societal norms. We have many more challenges and I want people to be aware of this and ask themselves.
What can we do to change this?
What is important to me is advocating for legal marriage for the LGBTQ+ community in Cambodia. I would like us to work together, and with the government to legalise marriage for the LGBTQ+ community. I believe if we overcome this barrier, it will unlock other challenges and issues we face.
I would like to stress the merit of how far we have come already; in recent years awareness has grown on gender-based violence but I believe higher education will unlock the potential of women and girls and LGBTQ+ community. We need creative and critical ways in which to do this, in order to enable those people to protect themselves and speak their own words.
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