Same-sex couples in Cambodia declared their commitment to each other in a colorful public ceremony. They wanted to help raise awareness about LGBTI rights.
The couples entered into Cambodia’s version of civil partnership known as the Declaration of Family Relationship (DoFR), which is gaining popularity across the country.
Leading LGBTI organization, Rainbow Community Kampuchea-rock (RoCK) created the DoFR. In 2014, RoCK became Cambodia’s first registered LGBTI non-government organization.
RoCK has helped introduce the DoFR 50 communes in 15 provinces around Cambodia.
‘The Declaration of Family Relationship is a civil contract that two person who are willing to be together and share responsibility taking care of family, children and distribute the joint asset, as a legal spouse do,’ RoCK’s Raksmey Tuy and Cheyleaphy Heng told Gay Star News.
As part of its introduction to communities, RoCK has traveled across Cambodia to hold workshops with local authorities.
‘So far, there are 21 couples who signed on the forms,’ Raksmey and Cheyleaphy said.
Going public with their love
‘Three couples signed their form to symbolize their relationship and desire for legal protection as a family in the occasion of Pride Week and IDAHOTB celebration,’ they said.
‘During the event, the family of one couple urged the support from government to support their LGBT family members.’
Raksmey was one of the people to sign the forms during last week’s public ceremony.
She said it felt good to show the world her relationship with pride.
‘I have been with my partners for 4 years now and, although the family of both sides accept us, we
still feel that we need legal acceptance and protection to strengthen our love relationship,’ she said.
RoCK’s Pride Week coincided with this year’s IDHOBT (International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia). This year marked the 10th anniversary of RoCK’s first Pride Week in Cambodia.
The group kept busy during the week raising awareness about LGBTI issues. It held cultural public events, but also met with high level government officials.
What’s needed for LGBTI people in Cambodia
Even though Cambodia is one of the more tolerant countries in Asia there are still several legal barriers to conquer to achieve equality.
According to RoCK, the priorities are:
- Making adoption legal for LGBT couple
- Legalizing marriage equality
- Making it easier for trans people to update their gender on legal documents such as national ID cards, passports and birth certificates.
‘The government is also an important key player to promote non-discrimination to the public and public servants,’ Raksmey and Cheyleaphy said.
‘When the LGBT community is accepted for who they are and feel confident of their identity, they got better chance of access to education, employment and other settings.’
The group also called for better medical support for trans people in Cambodia.