Published for The Rainbow Times on Nov. 2.
The first time Narin Khem traveled to Cambodia, it was to marry a man she did not know.
“That was an experience,” said Khem, a Lowell, Mass. resident who identifies as bisexual. “At the time, I felt I was giving up on myself just to make my mom happy.”
When Khem came out to her mother about being bisexual, she said her mother’s traditional outlook on sexual orientation led to a conflict.
“Being from a traditional family she wasn’t used to that,” Khem said. “My mom was really having trouble with it to the point that she actually forced me into dating a man.”
In order to correct what Khem’s mother saw as a flaw, Khem endured six years of marriage before getting a divorce.
Khem’s story follows a trend of discrimination, misconception, and a statistically lower quality of life for bisexual people, according to a September 2016 report by the Movement Advancement Project (MAP). Khem’s experience is indicative of the experiences of many bisexual people when it comes to fully embracing their sexual orientation.
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