Jun 1–Jun 30
Vinich Virak, SBCC Technical Advisor, EpiC Cambodia
In June, the USAID- and PEPFAR-supported Meeting Targets and Maintaining Epidemic Control (EpiC) Cambodia team celebrated lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month by raising awareness of the need to address sexual and reproductive health as part of self-care and self-love. The team, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), collaborated with local Cambodian LGBTQ artists to create the social media campaign “I Am Me and More.” Through its messages of pride, self-acceptance, and self-love, I Am Me and More sought to motivate young people to protect themselves against HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), get tested, and stay on treatment as part of their life journey.
I Am Me and More offered an in-depth look at the lives of LGBTQ individuals and their communities. The campaign carried messages from community allies to LGBTQ individuals that they are not alone and that their aspirations and contributions have made their communities better.
I Am Me and More was launched on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube and included a talk show series; an original song and music video; social media messages of advocacy, awareness, and support; and celebratory messages from Pride leaders.
The campaign received cross-post support from USAID Cambodia, the U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh, LGBTQ influencers, and LGBTQ advocacy groups such as Rainbow Community Kampuchea (ROCK), Micro Rainbow Cambodia, and Rambutan Resort.
The music video included powerful lyrics of support and showcased a vibrant story through choreography. Since the campaign launch, the video has been viewed more than 26,000 times on Facebook, with total organic reach of more than 49,000; it has been shared more than 500 times. It was directed by Saren Chansereywatana, Creative Designer, EpiC Cambodia.
Watch the video on Facebook.
Watch the video on YouTube.
Listen to the audio version.
A talk show with depth
The three-part talk show “Thearo x Rebecca Conversation” featured a heartfelt conversation between two good friends: Thearo Nuch, a gay content curator, and Rebecca Chan, a transgender drag performer. During the show, they talked about their life journey, experiences, and thoughts on the LGBTQ community in Cambodia. During one episode, Thearo talked with Solydeth, co-founder of Dosslarb, a sexual and reproductive health education website, to share personal experiences with HIV and STI testing in Cambodia and discuss consensual sex.
Watch the episode on Facebook.
Messages of goodwill
The U.S. ambassador to Cambodia, W. Patrick Murphy, also celebrated Pride Month with I AM ME AND MORE with his a celebratory message in his conversation with transgender influencer Sinora Roath.
“Pride isn’t just once a year or a single event. Pride is a daily reminder of the courage of the LGBTQ community, an opportunity to recognize the impact of LGBTQ people, and a call for all of us to strengthen the bonds we share.” – W. Patrick Murphy, U.S. ambassador to Cambodia
Expanding the campaign
I Am Me and More has been well received. The campaign drew positive comments on social media, high engagement from the LGBTQ community, and requests from LGBTQ influencers and partners to continue beyond Pride Month.
I Am Me and More has become a platform for LGBTQ advocates and young audiences to express ideas, connect with others, and collaborate on sexual and reproductive health activities. Therefore, EpiC will continue I Am Me and More as 365 PRIDE—a year-round campaign. It will have a creative and engaging look and will incorporate themes of HIV/STI testing, PrEP use, HIV self-testing, gender-based violence prevention, and LGBTQ advocacy as core values of self-care, self-love, and self-acceptance.
Photo Credit: Maly Phou/EpiC Cambodia