A Lack of Pride: Korea’s Struggle With Sexual Equality

Okay folks, this here’s a topic I find myself having difficulty keeping objective about. I come from Montreal, a city that celebrates every form of (consensual) sexuality out there and does so with pride. Our Pride Parade is majestic and even something that my sister has participated in which marching with her Rocky Horror Picture Show crew members.

Montreal's Pride Parade, the Rocky Horror float.
Montreal’s Pride Parade, the Rocky Horror float.

When sexual orientation starts being attacked, I will attack right back.

Thus, hearing that police had banned Seoul’s Pride Parade this year made me turn on the insta-fume gear in my rage mode. Police claimed their decision came from an assessment that the event would cause public disorder. This logic was based on 2014’s Pride Parade, which was protested by Christians in discordance with homosexuality who lay down in the streets and blocked the movement of the march for five hours.

This year, police wanted neither those in agreement nor opposition of gay rights to disturb the city and banned it altogether.

Bad move.

Instant outcry from across Korea and the international world met the decision. A letter was written to the Korean government demanding a reassessment of the ban, claiming that it was not within the rights of the police to repress marginalized voices.

But just as strong as these voices of justice were, the Christians and homophobes were out on the street with their own protests.

Handed out to foreigners in Seoul Plaza was a list of stipulations on everything from homosexuality as an addiction to it being equivalent to bestiality and incest.

Letter found on Beyond Hallyu's article on the subject.
Letter found on Beyond Hallyu’s article on the subject.

Well, I can say that I certainly would leave Korea now if I wasn’t planning to already.

I don’t think I can even comment on this letter. As much as It infuriates me, I want to laugh at the pure ignoramus troglodytes who drafted it. The bottom line, however, is that this is not okay.

If one were to look for a silver lining, it has at least helped expose Korea for what it is: a conservative country moving back asswards in the world’s otherwise steady forward strides in equality.

The happy ending of this is that because of the public upset, the parade is back on – set for the 28th of June. It’s good to know that at least a portion of the Korean population has their head (and heart!) in the right place. The unfortunate side of this is that the nation is still not ready to accept all its residents with open arms. Many must move abroad in order to be legally allowed to express their sexuality, including a few I personally know.

Things like this should not be happening in 2015. As a comparison was made in this Korea Times article by Dave Hazzan, South Korea could very well be right behind Russia in its condemnation of ways of life and opinions it does not agree with. And we all know how well that’s going.

6 thoughts on “A Lack of Pride: Korea’s Struggle With Sexual Equality

  1. Conservative…such a damaging thing. Says it all…resistant to change, cautious, favours traditional views and values…like things to remain at status quo…be locked in a time capsule, insulated from any progress. If the world and its societies were all (and always) conservative, there would have been no exploration and experimenting…no evolving into the societies we have become. We still continue to ‘upgrade” as we see flaws. The purpose is not to remain at the same point forever…it is to dare to try to improve everything. To open our minds to new perspectives and try to understand and continually learn.
    Not for me.


    1. Exactly. The phrase “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” is such a good example of what Korea’s doing…they have their “5000 year old system” and it’s worked for that long, so why change now?


  2. Has it really worked? Ever? If still being in existence is the objective, then I suppose they’ve succeeded … but if thriving and growing and blooming are, then not so much.


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