The Ministry of Information has written to media outlets imploring presenters and artists alike to stop mocking members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community just to gain popularity.
According to the letter sent out on Monday, certain presenters and artists have ridiculed the LGBT community in order to break into the entertainment industry, often taking what they consider “jokes” too far.
Making people laugh without thinking about the rights and dignity of the LGBT community is unfair and discriminatory, the ministry said.
“This kind of commentary and/or performance is an act of looking down on LGBT people. It degrades the honor and rights of LGBT people who are also protected by the state’s law as well as other citizens,” the letter read.
Citing the Constitution, the letter also highlighted the rights of LGBT people shielding them from discrimination.
Rainbow Community Kampuchea (RoCK), a local LGBT rights group, published a report on Monday stating that 70 percent of people interviewed expressed discriminatory attitudes toward LGBT people.
The report also said that among the 1,563 people interviewed in 11 provinces, 478 individuals identified as LGBT. It found that one-third of them, however, had kept this a secret and that discrimination was the main reason they were hiding their identity.
Suth Yun, a representative of RoCK in Takeo province, told Khmer Times that she was very happy to hear about the ministry’s letter.
“By working with the UN, I know that the rights of LGBT people are more and more respected in Cambodia. In my case, I could ask the local authority to get married to my partner without any problem,” she explained.
“They didn’t say anything; they don’t care much about same-sex marriage. However, I wish we had a law allowing same-sex marriage,” said Ms. Yun.