Cambodia: Social media a celebration and refuge for LGBT community

With the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community’s presence stronger than ever in the kingdom, social media has become both a place to celebrate and to find safety for its members. As this year’s Pride launched officially last week, the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights (CCHR) released a joint statement alongside 57 businesses, NGOs and communities in support of the LGBT community.

While many in the LGBT community feel societal perceptions are changing for the better, research conducted by the CCHR and Rainbow Community Kampuchea (Rock) shows members still face rejection from their families and struggle with mental health issues.

These issues extend to the online world as well, according to LGBT community group I Am What I Am’s David Hunt. “I have Cambodian friends who are very comfortable with themselves and who they are, but they still don’t feel they’re in a position to reveal that to their family or friends,” he said yesterday.

However he said people do find some refuge on the internet, despite it becoming increasingly difficult to separate private from public life online in the kingdom. “I’ve got groups of friends who have two personas on social media, so they have one where they’re out to their friends and then there’s the other for their family; two very different personas,” he said. “Others, make sure they’re not on the same social media platform as their friends, or use a different name.”

But people are becoming more at ease with sharing aspects of their LGBT personas on the web, he said, thanks to the growing online network within the community. Read more via Khmer Times