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More than 80 percent of LBT people face family violence

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times Share:
An LGBT couple gets married in Phnom Penh last year. KT/Chor Sokunthea

A Rainbow Community Kampuchea report on Wednesday noted that more than 80 percent of lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders in the Kingdom suffer emotional violence from their family members.

The report said research, jointly carried out by RoCK and a team led by Kasumi Nakagawa, gender academic at Pannasastra University of Cambodia, also showed that 35 percent of the LBT community had considered suicide following their families’ non-acceptance.

The report said the research, titled “Family Violence towards Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (LBT) people in Cambodia,” was carried out through interviews with 61 LBT people across eight provinces.

It said 81 percent, aged below 35 years, revealed they faced emotional violence such as being beaten or having their liberties controlled.

“LBT people identified that compared to non-family violence towards them, family violence had the most negative impact on their lives,” the report noted.

It said that the violence stemmed from intersecting factors, including traditional parenting methods, rigid social norms and religious and/or ethnic beliefs.

The report also found that 10 percent of LBT people experienced sexual violence or were forced into marriage, with 35 percent, under 35 years old, having thought about committing suicide.

Ly Pisey, coordinator of RoCK, on Wednesday said that the report would serve as a valuable guide in directing future action to address and rectify current social injustices, including gender-based and domestic violence from families, that oppress this marginalised group on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.

“RoCK strongly requests government officials, national and international organisations, academic institutions and development partners to continue to advocate for the rights of LBT people so that they can live free from prejudice, discrimination and violence,” she said.

Sam Monivichera, a representative of the LBT community in Preah Sihanouk province, said that although society is becoming more aware about the rights of LBT people, there are some communities and families who still discriminate against them.

“Some families still discriminate, such as parents preventing their children from loving people of the same sex and wearing clothes which match their preferred gender identity,” she noted.

Keo Remy, head of the Cambodia Human Rights Committee, recently said that the government supports LBT people, and has appealed to all people and parents not to discriminate against them.

“Importantly, all stakeholders have to fight together against discrimination of LBT people, and there mustn’t be violence in the family due to their parents not recognising their children’s sexual orientation,” he said. “Parents should not evict their LBT children from their homes because there already is a government policy of non-discrimination against LBT people.”

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