Discipline, teamwork, acceptance: why football is a lifeline for queer Cambodian teens

A new documentary tells the story of the Lotus Sports Club and Pa Vann Sovann, its much-respected transgender coach.

As a teenager Lorn “Leak” Sreyleak looked forward to playing football every week with friends in his home town of Kampong Chhnang. But the 15-year-old couldn’t help but envy another team that sometimes practised on an adjacent pitch.

Led by a gruff coach affectionately called “Pa Vann”, or Dad, some of the players reminded Leak of himself: although he was born biologically female, Leak had known since childhood that he was a boy.

The other footballers “seemed happy”, recalls Leak, who is now 25 and lives in Phnom Penh. “They could do what they wanted to do. They had freedom.”

In full: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2022/jun/27/discipline-teamwork-acceptance-why-football-is-a-lifeline-for-queer-cambodian-teens

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