I came out to people about my sexuality about two months ago and now, I am a part of something big−something could potentially change my life forever. I thought revealing my identity was the final step of my life; in fact, it was not. I thought of wanting to expand my love and passion of promoting the positivity for the people who struggle with their gender. Well, that opportunity communicated to me. I got the chance to be in exploration called, “Gender Equity.” My team and I created a mission which “is to raise awareness about global gender issues with a focus on Cambodian society. In order to affect positive change, we must examine the past to transform the future. Through communication, passion, and risk-taking we will investigate various aspects of gender discrimination and inequalities by sharing stories, exchanging knowledge, and interacting with others to create a healthy and constructive dialogue about gender equity.” Personally, I do extremely love this mission because before, I have thought that what is the best medium I can use to impact change within this area? The answer is dialogue. Conversation and discussion are the keys to empowered people to be opened and always be themselves.
For the first week of the project, I already felt like a professor or wizard that is skilled in the is topic. I had a lot of memorial times when my facilitators, teammates and I had many thoughtful and philosophical family discussions about the differences between equality and equity, common stereotypical statements (e.g., women are weak) gender problems in distinguished areas of society across the globe (e.g., culture, religion, education, etc.), poems, and different media (e.g., videos and photograph). More specifically, we discussed deeply about gender stereotypes and their origins, sexual orientation, boy and girl’s behavioral expectations and roles, physicality, etc. My best highlight from the first week is the discussion we had that based on the question: “Where is the origin of all the gender stereotypes and problem?” It turned out that this is an extremely philosophical and deep thinking-required question. I said that “The most accurate origin we could say is us. We are the one who creates all of those dramas because we see our own flaws, but we are not embrace it.” There were even more answers from my friends and facilitators. Some were said, “Men.”
Having discussions was powerful, and our teams wanted to make sure that we can document those words. Furthermore, we thought that dialogue does not exist in only an oral form but in written form. Therefore, we decided that we can write articles, but where can we share it? As a change agent, we finally came up with an idea of establishing a digital platform: blog. We named it as “CHANGE.” It is abbreviated from the name and theme of our summit we hosted (I wrote about the summit in the post; check it out) which stated that “Creating Humanitarian Awareness for the Necessity of Gender Equity.” There are many categories that we chose as importance. So far, we have a fair amount of articles on the blog. This project was widening itself to our literacy class. Basically, every senior student contributed towards this blog. Here is the link: http://changeforequity.ligeracademyblog.org/
Asides from all of these in-class activities, we even took the opportunity to have experience outside the class. We went to a social enterprise called, “SHE Investment.” This enterprise wholeheartedly working many Cambodian women to improve their family economy and break the glass ceiling of what the society always expect them. It was such an incredible moment for me. I got to ask many questions and made a lot of comments which potentially help their project. I also wrote a whole article about SHE Investment. If you are interested, please check it on our CHANGE blog and my blog. Besides this meeting, we also had another meeting two Cambodia teenage activists. They were both girls who strongly passionate about gender problem as we do. It was an honor to get to know them and have many discussions with them. In my perspective, meeting with them and seeing them as the activists like us give me the encouragement to change Cambodia and the world. I feel like I have an actual team who I can communicate and work with all the time. Amazingly, we can share our personal stories that we have confronted with each other.
Talking about having a discussion, I remembered that one discussion my teammates and I had in class. It was about how our holiday was. Everybody shared their fun moments and allusions about gender problem with their parents. Interestingly, I thought I was alone who attempted to talk to my parents about this. It was my turn to share. I felt my eyes were watery and my vision was blurry. I was crying. I told my friends how I tried to tell my parents about my sexuality the fact that I am bisexual, but I could not do it. I brought up the fear I had at that time to friends. Tears were flowing from everyone’s eyes. I fear that my parents will abandon me or negatively comment me. To be honest, it was extremely difficult to come out to our parents until now. The matter is that I need to find the right moment. RIGHT MOMENT.
Finally, we collected all the moments and discussions and summed it up into a summit−as I stated earlier, it is called, “CHANGE.” It was incredibly a phenomenal day for everybody, including me, my friends, facilitators, and guests. We ran it as a bilingual summit: English and Khmer. It was the way to approach two different audiences. Again, if you want to know more about the summit, you can visit our CHANGE blog and my blog, to get to understand expressly about it.