Gay Cambodia is still growing and is 20 years behind Thailand

Gay Cambodia is still growing and is 20 years behind Thailand

Why I left Cambodia and moved back to Thailand.
Cameron McKean Cameron McKean

Opening a business, especially one catering to a specific demographic like the LGBTQ+ community, requires careful consideration of the local cultural, social, and legal landscape. While Cambodia has made progress in terms of LGBTQ+ rights in recent years, there are still factors to consider that may affect the viability of opening a gay business in the country. What I discovered is that may gay people are shy to be oenly gay as family and friends are not as supporrtine of the gay community. 

  1. Cultural Sensitivities:

    • Cambodia has a conservative cultural background, and attitudes towards LGBTQ+ issues can vary. While urban areas like Phnom Penh may be a little more accepting, rural areas may hold more conservative views. Understanding and respecting local cultural sensitivities is crucial for the success of any business.
  2. Legal Environment:

    • While Cambodia does not criminalize homosexuality, and there are legal protections against discrimination, the legal framework may not be as robust as in some other countries. It's important to be aware of the legal environment and any potential challenges related to LGBTQ+ issues. Dont expect local law enforcement to be very supportive. 
  3. Social Acceptance:

    • Despite progress, social acceptance of LGBTQ+ individuals may not be uniform across the country. Public opinion can influence the success of a business, and understanding the local attitudes toward the LGBTQ+ community is essential. Families may not support there adult chuldren working in an openly gay business. 
  4. Competition and Market Demand:

    • Assess the demand for a gay business in Cambodia and the level of competition. Understanding the target market and whether there is a sufficient customer base to support the business is crucial for its success. The level of Gay tourism compared to Thailand is very small. 
  5. Economic Considerations:

    • Consider the economic factors that may impact the success of your business. Cambodia is a developing country, and economic conditions can vary. Conduct a thorough market analysis to understand the economic viability of your business. Many in the LGBTQ do not have good jobs and income as such may not be able to support your business. 
  6. Infrastructure and Resources:

    • Evaluate the available infrastructure and resources for your business. Access to suitable locations, reliable utilities, and a supportive business environment are essential for the smooth operation of any business.Cambodia is still developing and as such inferstructure is a serious problem. 
  7. Networking and Support:

    • Consider the availability of LGBTQ+ networking groups and support systems. Having a supportive community can be beneficial for the success and resilience of a gay business. Cambodia has far less local LGBTQ support and active community groups then Thailand etc. . 
  8. Political Stability:

    • Assess the political stability of the country. Political instability can have wide-ranging effects on businesses, and understanding the political climate is important for long-term planning.
  9. Language Barriers:

    • Cambodia has its own languages, with Khmer being the official language. Language barriers could affect communication and marketing strategies, so it's important to consider how to effectively connect with the local population.

Before making any decisions, it's recommended to conduct thorough market research, seek local advice, and potentially collaborate with local partners who have a deeper understanding of the cultural and business landscape in Cambodia. Additionally, engaging with the local LGBTQ+ community and understanding their needs and concerns can provide valuable insights for tailoring your business to the local context.


This we my personal experence. 

  • VIA
  • Cameron McKean