By Ancient Ruins, a Gay Haven in Siem Reap, Cambodia (from New York Times) It was 10 p.m. in Siem Reap, and while most tourists were tucked in after a long, hot day exploring the temples of Angkor, things were just getting going at a bar called Linga. Pairs of European men in their 30s and 40s wearing unbuttoned collared shirts and checkered krama scarves sipped fruity cocktails and jostled for space with the young Khmer crowd, who huddled around small tables in anticipation of the main event: the Saturday night drag show. See story about LGBT drop-in center, Dragonfly House. A statuesque Khmer performer who went by the name Beyoncé took to the stage draped in a black, body-skimming floor-length gown and wearing a blond Afro wig. Soon, everyone was on his feet, belting out a song from “Dreamgirls.” The traffic outside literally stopped. Curious travelers, Khmer families andSee the Full Version Here
Cambodia is a poor agricultural country of more than 15 million people, most of whom are Theravada Buddhists. Most of the late 20th century was destructive to the country as warring factions destroyed the economy and killed millions of innocent people. But since 1997 and the bully takeover by Hun Sen, now Prime Minister, the country has at least seen peace and some commercial progress. Angkor Wat Temple ruins draw millions of tourists every year.
Homosexuality is not illegal in Cambodia, partly due to the tolerant atmosphere of Buddhism although it does not encourage or support it. The culture recognizes an intermediate or third gender but there are no legal protections for these communities. In 2010, the Cambodian Center for Human Rights established the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Project to empower LGBT people throughout Cambodia to advocate for their rights and to improve respect for LGBT people throughout Cambodia.
Cambodia's first ever Pride celebration was held in 2003 in the capital city of Phnom Penh It is now a yearly event that openly celebrates the diversity of Cambodia. In 2015 the 11th Pride festival was held. Local businesses and LGBT community cooperated to organize this festival that featured seminars, workshops, films and parties to celebrate LGBT life and promote equality and understanding.
GlobalGayz News & Reports Archive:
Capital: Phnom Penh - Pop. 1350000
Area: 181035 sq. km. / sq. miles.
Status of Homosexuality: Legal
Telephone Country Code: 855
Related GlobalGayz Articles & Photos:
A daunting look into the dark life of displaced homosexuals in Phnom Penh, a world the tourists never see. It’s a world of poverty, rejection and hardship that usually leads to prostitution and petty crime. For an unknowing westerner, the ‘pretty boy’ on the corner in the evening has a sad tale to tell about his life–if anyone cares to ask.. Terry McCoy takes a look at this underprivileged population. Lives of Desperation Along the train tracks in one of Phnom Penh’s ubiquitous slums, the noise never stops and everything is changing. Longtime residents are fearful that they’ll soon have to move. This place isn’t safe anymore, they say. It isn’t moral anymore. (Photo right by Vinh Dao/GlobalPost; Sok Somnorb stands in the doorway of his room in Beoung Kak 2 community, Phnom Penh) More photos at Global Post. Along these same tracks, roughly 100 new residents, in search ofSee the Full Version Here
Cambodia continues to evolve out of a dark and bloody past into a more organized and civilized society. By fits and starts an elected government is making efforts at control and organization but not all is peaceful and trustworthy. The former kind has died and the ruling government wobbles between dictatorship and democracy. Meanwhile the hidden gay society quietly continues privately among natives and foreigners in a mix of cultures, ethnics, religions, political forces and NGO’s (non-governmental organizations). Caught in this matrix of conflict one western man learned his lesson the hard way. More recently, since 2008, a modest gay scene has developed in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap with bars and guesthouses. Progress With Effort There are more SUVs and new buildings in Phnom Penh than when I last visited; there’s peace on the streets and provinces, for now, allowing Cambodians to ferret out meager livings; a doctor makesSee the Full Version Here
Two weeks in Cambodia was enough time to see the wondrous ancient ruins at Angkor Wat and to encounter the different faces of gay life here. I listened to a gay British doctor in Phnom Penh who was jailed, visited a gay dentist volunteering his services, watched the handsome but poor money boys and unexpectedly found western gay books for sale. The Search for a Scene For generations there has been no obvious ‘scene’ on view in Phnom Penh but during the past five years gay venues have quietly opened and the once furtive gay whisper is now an audible but soft voice. Masking this change is the cultural habit of Cambodian men to hold hands in public as part of their friendship. Such expressions of intimacy are similar to other Southeast Asian countries, but this contact is without the same meaning as in the West. Best friends areSee the Full Version Here
Intro: Near Cambodia’s Angkor Wat an unexpected surprise from our hotel waitress offers a poignant reminder of the spoils of war and poverty. Also see: Gay Cambodia Stories Gay Cambodia News & Reports 2004 to present Gay Cambodia Photo Galleries Richard Ammon (837 words) She first appeared from behind the old beverage cooler whose glass doors were often left indifferently open cooling off our corner of the restaurant and warming up the beer and colas. Short as most Khmer women, she was not quite as shy and obsequious as most of the other waitresses. She looked older and much more efficient, moving with purpose and poise. When she approached our table to take our order for dinner, her English was better than we expected. Making a selection with her from the menu was more like being seated with mother and being told what was good for us, not necessarily whatSee the Full Version Here
Intro: After his release from four months in jail for alleged pedophilia–a charge that was found later to be fraudulent–Dr. Gavin Scott wrote this commentary about age-of-consent and it manipulation by foreign NGOs (non-governmental organizations) in the fractured legal system in Cambodia. Also see: Gay Cambodia Stories Gay Cambodia News & Reports 2004 to present Gay Cambodia Photo Galleries Sex is something we are all interested in, whether it be performing or talking. Media stories about sex sell, and stories about underage sex sell even more but what exactly are the motives of the people putting out such stories, and how accurate are they? By manipulating words and figures minor problems can be presented as issues of far greater magnitude. A review then of the building blocks that make up such stories is essential before conclusions can be made. What is a Child, and what is a Minor? A childSee the Full Version Here
Angkor Wat GallerySee the Full Version Here