Rainbow Love – Continued!
Because we all like to hear a good love story as we enter the holiday season!
We already featured the photo stories from CamAsean an empowerment grantee in Cambodia in 2017. However the stories are so beautiful that we like to share some more. They illustrate that love crosses boundaries as well as genders. CAMAsean has been able to document the stories of over 100 transgender couples – some of whom have opened their houses for photo exhibitions- creating more awareness and reducing stigma at the same time. Here are their voices.
Thirty-seven years ago, Symom was a taxi driver when he fell head over heels in love with Chunn Mon. Thirty-seven years together saw them working as builders, factory workers, farmers and tuktuk drivers. At the moment they run their own grocery shop in Takeo province. Symom and Chunn Mon have raised two children; one who is the birth daughter of Chuhn from a previous relationship and their adopted son. The couple feels proud to be part of the bigger LGBTI family and appreciates how far the movement has come.
Pan Pov -who is 54- and Tan Kunthea -50 years young- met each other 34 years ago. Together they are raising three children, two girls and one boy. Pan and Tan are farmers in Tbong Khmum Province. The picture shows the couple standing at their pepper farm, providing their main source of income.
Sophana and Sahn met through Facebook - a skill which Sahn picked up via CAMAsean- getting to know each other better via Messenger. After two years they finally decided to meet; and the rest is, as they say, history! Sophana is a fashion designer and Sahn, a transman, is a human rights activist (for CAMAsean) rainbow clothes salesman as well as a social worker for the local council. In the photo, the couple is sitting at Toek Thlak Tada in Kampot Province with a rainbow scarf made by Sahn. They love traveling and spending time together.
Jackie Lee and Madam Huor: a global love story
Jackie and Madam Huor met each other through social media and their love story is truly global. Jackie was working in a bakery in the USA and Madam Huor joined him after they got married in February 2017. They had two ceremonies, a cultural wedding in Cambodia and another officiation in the USA. The photo shows the happy couple at their cultural wedding. They were so excited to have both their parents, siblings, neighbours and friends joined their wedding party.
Sun Laon and Taing Sokheang -both in their fifties- have been living together for 31 years in Stung Village in Tboung Khmom Province. They sell sweets, driving a bicycle around the village to increase sales.
The first time Sokheang met Sun Laon she did not trust him and wouldn't allow him to visit her. However, Laon's strongest virtue was patience and slowly but surely he won her trust. In the end, love won and here we are 31 years later.
Pich Sreynoch and P Fen Chou live in the USA where Sreynoch works as a beautician and Chou works as a train station official. They met when Chou came to Cambodia and saw Srey selling clothes. They connected on Facebook and started chatting. The rest just fell into place as they merged into a couple. The picture was taken at their engagement ceremony. They were so happy and excited that day!
Yern Thy is 58 years old and Navy is 62 years old. They have been living together as a couple for 26 years. Thy is a motor taxi driver and Navy sells clothes. Navy used to work in front of the company that Thy works for and that is how they met. Together they have raised 3 children from Navy"s previous relationship. Here they are pictured at Navy's clothes shop.
It all started when Yoko posted a picture of himself on Facebook and Zana"s friend commented on it. Zana also saw the picture and gave a positive comment. Even though Zana lived in Cambodia and Mean lived in the USA the two would chat all the time.
Mean came to Cambodia to surprise Zana and they started dating immediately. Zana"s mother was not really happy with their relationship for the first two years so it was a struggle. However, love survived and they continued to date despite the distance and other obstacles.
Yoko Mean works at the airport and Zana is studying in order to find a good job in the USA where the couple lives at the moment. Zana was so excited to get engaged and married! Thier story shows love has no boundaries. May they happily live ever after!
A BIG thank you to all couples who were proud to have their photos taken and share their stories so openly. Also, our gratitude goes to Srorn Srun and Sophea Pheung from CAMAsean for capturing the photos and stories; Thank Marinke for the edit; we hope we have done them justice!