LGBT Cambodians met with the government last week to discuss equality in the Southeast Asian nation.
Ly Pisey, the coordinator of Rainbow Community Kampuchea, said government policies meant LGBTI discrimination was decreasing, according to the Khmer Times.
But, Pisey warned, the LGBT community needed more legislation to protect their rights.
LGBT Cambodians experience a greater level of freedom compared to some of their Southeast Asian neighbors.
Same-sex sexual activity is legal. Society largely tolerates LGBTI people and trans and non-binary identities are part of local culture.
What’s more, Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni, as well as his father the previous king, have been vocal in their support for same-sex marriage.
As early as 2004, Cambodia scrapped laws explicitly banning same-sex unions.
‘Government policies do not discriminate against LGBT people, we can act freely and harmoniously,’ Keo Remy, head of the Cambodia Human Rights Committee, told the gathering last week.
But, Remy said, LGBTI Cambodians must be good citizens. People should not see them as ‘causing trouble’, he said.
LGBT Cambodians want change
But, activists told the government last week, more needs to be done.
There is currently no legislation to protect LGBTI Cambodians from discrimination.
Pisey said the LGBT community want more legal protections.
Sorm Som, a transgender activist, urged the government to allow gender changes on identity documents.
The activist said they wanted a marriage certificate and registration documents ‘to prove that we are husband and wife like normal people’.
‘But it is impossible’, they told the Khmer Times.