We all are used to the typical happy ever after story of the prince and the princess. Yet, the truth is that it is just a sugar-coated version of how real life works. Life sometimes isn’t fair, but we can still learn from it. Elo is a 32 years old transgender born and raise in Siem Reap. Her story is rather complicated and quite a painful memory.

Elo, APTBY

Her secret love life began three years ago from 2012 to 2015 without telling her parents as they opposed her relationship with a guy, thus, only a few friends knew about this relationship. She met her ex-boyfriend at a private English school when she was 24. She would like to call her ex-boyfriend Panha. Panha’s father is an aggressive and violent man, and he always pressures his son. When she found out about Panha’s problems from her friends, she felt bad for him and supported him by providing him clothes and stuff via her friends. After a while they found each other interesting then fell in love and became a couple.

After seeing each other for a while, she started to notice that he had changed. Her friends told her about her boyfriend using drugs. “I saw him using drugs with my own eyes, and it hurt much more than hearing it from other people.” said Elo. After she knew the truth, she suddenly had a thought in her head “I wanted to die” and she told him “Perhaps dying can prevent me from suffering like this.” said Elo. Her boyfriend tried to convince her from thinking of dying and swear that this will never happen again but he never changed. 

One day, she bought a lot of pills and thought of committing suicide that night. When she was thinking about dying, her university called and asked her to get her bachelor’s degree tomorrow. She had a change of thought and started rethinking her decision. “Why do I have to kill myself because of him? I graduated from a university but he was just a person who was relying on drugs, it was not fair for me if I died for him.” sobbed Elo. Then she thought of her family and friends, “What will happen to them if I die? It must be a shame for me to end my life for someone who never cares.” resumed Elo. After she made up her mind, she cried and cried all night. The next morning, she told herself that she is going to break up with him, but ended up staying like this for a while. They finally broke up silently by keeping Elo keeping her distance from him.

They walked in separate ways in 2015. She had prepared herself already for this break up. For Elo, everything is in the past now; however, she still regrets it sometime, “If I could go back in time I would not have any relationship because it really hurt, and I would have to suffer a lot.” resumed Elo.

Everyone, especially LGBTQI+ people, do not let your love control your life, let your life control your love. You have to love yourself more than the other people. To LGBTQI+ people, we need to give ourselves respect and to everyone, please respect LGBTQI+ people.” Said Elo. Her story taught her to be strong and to love herself more than anyone else ever would. She realized that she isn’t a princess waiting for her prince charming no more, yet rather she is a queen in her own story.


This article is written by Nop Navin, a 1st generation participant of Story Corner 2020 which aims to break the stigma on LGBT+ through storytelling and the engagement of youths through dialogue and series of training on gay rights advocacy and basic journalism. Story Corner 2020 is hosted by Buzz Talk Cambodia

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