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Village where ‘love the same’ is embraced
Tabitha Payne visits a village in Prey Veng Province which is home to aging trans couples.
It’s 5:45 in the morning, the sun is just rising over the rice paddies, and a loudspeaker on the skinny, reddish dirt road that runs through Angkrong, Cambodia has already begun blaring traditional Khmer music at top volume. It is a village announcement: today, January 5, at 8am, the commune council, district governors, local monks, and all members of the town are invited to attend a pro-LGBT community event to celebrate the surprising amount of LGBT people living in the agrarian hamlet of an estimated 1,000 people.
Srun Srorn, Cambodia’s prominent LGBT activist who first visited the village in 2010, says he’s never seen anything like it. Usually, according to Srun and Pheung Sophea, both activists with the grassroots local LGBT group, CamASEAN Youth’s Future, LGBT couples in rural areas are rare, especially older ones, and when they do exist, they live villages apart.
Angkrong, a village in Prey Veng Province in Cambodia’s southeast corner, has been home to five couples over the age of 40, two young couples who recently emigrated, another middle-aged couple where one of the partners, a transgender man, passed away just last year, and a transgender monk. All are pairings of transgender men and cisgender women (“cisgender” meaning non-transgender). The couples say they are accepted by the community and local government officials, and claim not to experience discrimination from their neighbours. They refer to one another as husband and wife, irrespective of the fact that gay marriage is not recognised in Cambodian Family Law. Also remarkable is that the couples are all friends who have known each other for years...
https://www.khmertimeskh.com/50576149/v ... -embraced/
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