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World Pride is almost upon us, and one of the best cities to celebrate was Siem Reap. Throughout the weekend of Friday, May 10 until Sunday, May 12, the city was alive with color and, more importantly, love and a strong sense of community.
Businesses came together to support the community by donating a percentage of proceeds of sales from the weekend to a local LGBTIQ+ movement — A Place To Be Yourself (APTBY) — and activities were held all throughout.
Keep reading to find out more about Pride in Cambodia!

Pride in Cambodia: What’s it Like to be Part of the LGBTIQ+ Community
Rambutan and Wild Splash & Chill Afternoon © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson/Mad Monkey Hostels

Celebrating Pride in Cambodia

Welcome to Cambodia, where vibrant colors, and a spirit of inclusivity come together to create an unforgettable Pride experience! As the world celebrates Pride month, this bustling city, renowned for its ancient temples and rich cultural heritage, embraces the LGBTQ+ community with open arms. Drawing in travelers from around the globe, Siem Reap’s Pride festivities offer a dynamic blend of fun, acceptance, and an opportunity to celebrate love in all its diverse forms. Get ready to paint the town rainbow, dance to infectious beats, and join a supportive community that knows how to party in true Cambodian style! Let’s dive into the lively world of Pride in Siem Reap, where acceptance, unity, and a whole lot of fabulousness await.

Sunday - A quick recap - Pride in Cambodia: What’s it Like to be Part of the LGBTIQ+ Community
Rambutan and Wild Splash & Chill Afternoon © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson/Mad Monkey Hostels
Sunday - A quick recap - Pride in Cambodia: What’s it Like to be Part of the LGBTIQ+ Community
Rambutan and Wild Splash & Chill Afternoon © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson/Mad Monkey Hostels

The LGBTIQ+ Community in Cambodia

With no anti-LGBTIQ+ laws in place, this community is certainly not privy to being discriminated against — by local authorities, businesses, members of the police, etc. With that being said, the community, in general, is more or less accepted.
For one, cities recognize Pride in Cambodia – for example, this celebration has been around in Phnom Penh since 2003. In 2017, the country even started publishing the first magazine for the LGBT community in Cambodia — Q Cambodia.

The LGBTIQ+ Community in Cambodia - Pride in Cambodia: What’s it Like to be Part of the LGBTIQ+ Community
Rambutan and Wild Splash & Chill Afternoon © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson/Mad Monkey Hostels

LGBT Education in Cambodia

There is even a ‘life skills’ course in the making for school children which basically lets them know one important thing – it’s okay to be gay. According to an article by the Phnom Penh Post, the new course would teach children grades five through 12 about LGBT issues, sex, and gender-based violence. There is also additional coursework on issues regarding lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders.
In an article, CamASEAN member Chhoeurng Rachana said that they would continue to work closely with the ministry to see the new curriculum be implemented.
“We train the teachers to understand that there are not only [heterosexual] men and women, but also LGBTIQ,” Rachana told the Phnom Penh Post.

LGBT Organizations in Cambodia

Looking for even more information about the LGBTIQ+ community across Cambodia? Check out the following organizations and movements:

LGBTIQ+ Organizations in Cambodia - Pride in Cambodia: What’s it Like to be Part of the LGBTIQ+ Community

Opinions, Attitudes, and Behaviour toward the LGBT Population in Cambodia

In Cambodia, opinions, attitudes, and behaviors toward the LGBT population have undergone a remarkable transformation in recent years. With a growing awareness and advocacy for LGBT rights, coupled with the younger generation’s open-mindedness, Cambodia is witnessing a positive shift in attitudes, leading to greater visibility and support for the LGBT community. While the Prime Minister in Cambodia, Hun Sen, encourages citizens not to discriminate those people who identify as part of the LGBTIQ+ community, there are, sadly, no laws in place which allow same-sex marriage.

The community will continue to fight for:

  • marriage law
  • adoption rights
  • family records and national ID cards which state their sexual preference in order for them to receive full rights as citizens

People generally frown upon public displays of affection regardless of how a person identifies.. Therefore we’d always suggest trying to keep the public kanoodling to a minimum.

Spending Pride in Cambodia? Support these Businesses

If you are looking for ways to fill your days whilst exploring the Kingdom, then check out the following businesses:

Moreover, gay culture is undeniably flourishing primarily in cities such as Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. However, there is a hopeful anticipation that other provinces and towns will join in these celebrations. Notably, David Stirling from The Little Red Fox Espresso played a significant role in organizing and executing the Pride events held throughout Siem Reap.

“Allies play an important part in the push towards equality,” Stirling said. “Showing up and being a part of such causes strengthens the belief of the inherent equality between individuals as human beings.

Pride Parties at Mad Monkey Hostels

Don’t forget to check out all of the Pride parties taking place on between Tuesday 25 and Sunday 30 June 2023 at our locations around Cambodia, Thailand, and the Philippines. Check out the rest of our awesome events!

Pride Parties at Mad Monkey Hostels - Pride in Cambodia: What’s it Like to be Part of the LGBTIQ+ Community

More Information About A Place To Be Yourself

Make sure to explore A Place To Be Yourself — all resources are conveniently available in both Khmer and English! Furthermore, this movement offers an extensive gay guide to Siem Reap, along with numerous other useful and enlightening resources.

‘A Place To Be Yourself’ was founded by Jason, an Australian who moved to Siem Reap some five years ago. He originally came with the intent of volunteering for a stint, although now, he calls Siem Reap home. This seems to be the case with many expats here! After selling all of his belongings back home, he came to Cambodia and started to create materials in Khmer explaining what the ‘LGBTIQ+’ acronym actually meant.
Then, it wasn’t long before Pov, a young Khmer trans man, and Kunthea, a translator for APTBY gender and sexuality workshops, joined this incredible team. Their main goal is to create a space for all LGBTIQ+ individuals which including peer support about sexuality and gender, counseling services and their rights in Cambodia.

A quick recap of past Pride In Cambodia events

If you missed Pride in Cambodia, here is a quick look at events that have taken place in the past.

Jana Walter from Bang Bang Bakery was one of the active organizers of Siem Reap Pride since the start. In addition to running one of the most delicious bakeries in town, she played a key part in ensuring that Pride weekends run smoothly. Her reasoning?
“Support, showing a united front, standing close as a united community, and just to have great fun for a good cause,” Walter said.

A quick recap - Pride in Cambodia: What’s it Like to be Part of the LGBTIQ+ Community
  • Miss Wong hosted a cocktail party, and 15 percent of the proceeds were donated to APTBY
  • Barcode Siem Reap gave out free vodka caramel shots to everyone wearing a wig
A quick recap - Fridays - Pride in Cambodia: What’s it Like to be Part of the LGBTIQ+ Communitycambodia laws lgbt
Rambutan and Wild Splash & Chill Afternoon © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson/Mad Monkey Hostel
  • Fabulous Flow Yoga at Yoga Space Siem Reap. Donations will be given to APTBY.
  • The ‘Gay-mazing Tuk Tuk Race’ sped around the city on a scavenger hunt, with all proceeds being donated to APTBY
  • Mad Monkey Siem Reap hosted a Pride Pool Party (equipped with a DJ) and donated a percentage of all sales on food and beverages to APTBY
  • The Rambutan Hotel and Resort hosted a wild Rainbows and Unicorns Pool Party, with a prize going to the best “Rainbow Unicorn Fantasy” costume
Saturday - A quick recap - Pride in Cambodia: What’s it Like to be Part of the LGBTIQ+ Community
Fabulous Flow Yoga at Yoga Space Siem Reap © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson/Mad Monkey Hostels
  • APTBY held an open house to better inform the local community about what it is they are doing for the LGBTIQ+ community
  • Wild Creative Bar and Rambutan Resort came together as one to host the Rambutan and Wild Splash & Chill Afternoon
  • Sugar Beauty Boutique Hosted ‘Sugar Talks,’ in which six members of the LGBTIQ+ community came in front of the community to talk about their experiences and what they are passionate about
  • The weekend ended with the Siem Reap Pride Clothing Party at Sokkhak River Lounge. A lucky draw getting everyone who attended hyped up for the awesome prizes!

More Information About the LGBTIQ+ Community in Cambodia

Did you love this article? Do you want to learn more about Cambodia’s LGBTIQ+ culture and how you can get involved? We’ve rounded up the following articles so you can continue to be best informed before making your way to the Kingdom:

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About the Author

Kelly Iverson is a vibrant and cutting-edge digital content creator and social media manager with a passion for hospitality.