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05 April 2009

Sou Southevy (1940 - ) sex worker.

Revised February 2014.

Sotheavy was born in Takeo province, Cambodia.  She transitioned while working as a military nurse and studying performing arts.

At the beginning of the Khmer Rouge regime in 1975, when Phnom Penh was forcibly evacuated, Southevy witnessed a massacre of female sex workers. 

She was sent to a village in Takeo province where she was arrested for illegally receiving food.

She escaped to Vietnam where she survived until the Vietnamese liberation of Cambodia in 1979.

She is one of the few transgender persons to survive the Khmer Rouge regime.

In 2008 she made a formal complaint to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, in the hope that the extermination of transgender, lesbian and sex workers will be acknowledged.

In recent years Sotheavy has been doing HIV/AIDs outreach work, and founded the Cambodian Network for Men Women Development, the first LGBT charity in Cambodia to support LGBT people. The charity also helps to support LGBT people in more rural areas of Cambodia, where education is low.

In 2014 she was awarded the David Kato award, the first international recognition she has received.
She said: “I have been working without funds for a very long time,” said Sou. “This award will allow me to help my organization, train my team, and ultimately strengthen the rights of LGBT people in Cambodia.

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