By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Equality Forum’s Global LGBT Summit kicked off yesterday. The four-day event includes its 14th Annual LGBT art exhibit, which provides a glimpse into the lesbian, gay and transgender community in Cambodia.
The photography exhibit displays the work of artist Vuth Lyno, from Cambodia’s contemporary art scene. The show is titled, ‘Thoamada,’ which means ‘usual’ or ‘ordinary,’ because it shows the LGBT community in Cambodia living everyday life.
“Gay family is nothing strange, it’s nothing different,” says Lyno. “People find their way to define their own family meaning.”
Lyno says family tradition in Cambodia is so strong it pushes many LGBT’s underground, especially men.
“Lesbian and transgender are the most visible,” he says. “Gay men are the most hidden.”
He says the first Pride event was held in Cambodia four years ago and he feels the culture is slowly changing. One of the series of his photos includes photos of several gay men. They painted their faces with symbols, so they could come out, while remaining hidden.
“Everyone shared their stories, including some who had never shared their stories before,” says Lyno. “It’s quite an emotional moment. I collected their stories in sound and I also did a portrait.”
Lyno did not include the sound in this exhibit, but he says it’s important that the world see that LGBT community exists everywhere.
“People have said to me, ‘there’s other people like me in other countries too!’ He says, “I think it is important to reflect the connection with humanity that people have even if they are from the other side of the world.”
The exhibit is free and on display through May 7th at the William Way Community Center at 13th and Spruce Streets. For more info on other events during the Equality Forum’s Global LGBT Summit, go to EqualityForum.com.