Supporters of sexual minorities will hold their controversial annual festival in downtown Seoul over the weekend, heralding a sharp confrontation with Christian and conservative groups that are strongly opposed to it. The 19th Korea Queer Festival will open at Seoul Plaza at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, the event's organizer said Thursday. "The festival saw only about 50 participants in 2000, when it was inaugurated, but some 50,000 last year and more expected this year," the organizer said. During the festival, about 100 booths will be set up for a variety of programs to welcome people, the organizer said. Ten foreign missions in the country, including the U.S. Embassy, will join the festival for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people (LGBT).
The law forbids discrimination based on race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, and social status, but not discrimination based on language or gender identity. There is no enforcement mechanism in the law, and it does not protect migrant workers against racial discrimination, pregnant women against employment discrimination, or pregnant... Expand
The law forbids discrimination based on race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, and social status, but not discrimination based on language or gender identity. There is no enforcement mechanism in the law, and it does not protect migrant workers against racial discrimination, pregnant women against employment discrimination, or pregnant school-age girls against being denied an education.
In February 2013, following the recommendation of the UN Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review, legislators prepared comprehensive antidiscrimination legislation. The legislation was withdrawn, however, due to aggressive lobbying, primarily from conservative religious groups opposed to efforts to provide protection to gays and pregnant women.
The Ministry of Justice reported the constitution’s equality principles apply to LGBT persons. The law that established the NHRC prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and authorizes the NHRC to review cases of such discrimination, but the law does not specify discrimination based on gender identity. From 2010 to 2013, four provincial education offices adopted Student Rights’ Decrees that prohibit discrimination in schools, including that based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
No laws either specify punishment for persons found to discriminate against LGBT persons or provide for remedies to victims of discrimination or violence. During the first half of the year, the NHRC reported eight cases of such alleged discrimination.
While there were no known cases of violence against LGBT persons during the year, LGBT individuals and organizations continued to face societal discrimination. In June conservative Christian groups obstructed gay cultural festivals in Seoul and Daegu. In May the Seodaemun District Office in Seoul cancelled the approval of the Queer Cultural Festival. Although the NHRC ruled in June the cancellation violated freedom of assembly and equal rights, the district mayor did not reverse the decision.
The Military Criminal Act criminalizes consensual sodomy between men in the military with up to two years’ imprisonment.
LGBT groups kept a very low profile because same-sex relationships were not widely accepted. For example, few entertainers were openly gay, and one who was “outed” claimed various entertainment organizations fired him as a result. The legality of the 2013 same-sex wedding of movie director Kim Jho Kwang-soo was under review by a local district court in Seoul.
Source: U.S. Department of State's  Human Rights Report
More than 210,000 people have signed a petition posted on the website of South Korea’s presidential office calling for a gay pride festival to be canceled. The Seoul Queer Culture Festival is in its 19th year and is set to take place on Saturday, with a parade near the historic Seoul Plaza as the main attraction. “We are not discriminating against sexual minorities, but Seoul Plaza belongs to all citizens,” the petition states. “We do not want to see their abominable events in a square where we should be able to rest and relax,” it continues.
South Korea held its first ever drag parade this weekend, a small but significant step for rights activists in a country that remains deeply conservative when it comes to gender and sexuality. Dozens of drag queens and kings marched through Itaewon on Saturday, a suburb of Seoul best known for its nightlife and a nascent but vibrant gay scene. Carrying rainbow flags, they cheered and strutted their best outfits, receiving shouts of support and the odd baffled look from those they passed. While homosexuality is not illegal in South Korea, same-sex marriage is not recognised and people cannot legally change their birth gender. The country is home to a large evangelical Christian community and LGBT people feel pervasive pressure to to stay closeted.
LGBTI rights have expanded over the past 20 years in western democracies, and in many cases now include the right to same-sex marriage, South Korea lags behind. To put this in perspective, The Guardian in 2014 reported on five LGBTI laws around the world – consensual sex, workplace non-discrimination, marriage, adoption and protection against hate crimes – and found that South Korea only allowed consensual sex.
Whereas Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) rights have expanded over the past 20 years in western democracies, and in many cases now include the right to same-sex marriage, South Korea lags behind. To put this in perspective, The Guardian in 2014 reported on five LGBT laws around the world – consensual sex, workplace non-discrimination, marriage, adoption and protection against hate crimes – and found that South Korea only allowed consensual sex. Meanwhile, over four-fifths of European countries and a roughly a third of countries in the Americas had at least two of these laws. South Korea has no explicit law penalizing homosexuality in general, though the military still bans consensual sex. South Korea also maintains an increasingly visible LGBT community and yearly Pride festival and in August of 2017, South Korea’s Supreme Court ordered government agencies to allow an LGBT rights organization to register as a charity.
South Korea’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community is hungry for recognition and is encouraged by the progress countries like Taiwan and the United States have made on marriage equality, local activists said Sunday. At the 10th annual sexual minorities human rights forum at South Korea’s Yonsei University, Jang Seo-hyeon, an attorney with GongGam Human Rights Law Foundation, said a recent survey indicated 86 percent of South Koreans in the LGBT community seeks the right to a legally recognized marriage.
In just a few days, hundreds of athletes will descend on Pyeongchang, South Korea, for the 2018 Winter Olympics, including a number of gay and lesbian Olympians. But what’s the state of LGBT equality in South Korea? Historically, the country’s conservative government and large Christian population has meant slow progress: In 2013, a Pew Research poll indicated almost 60% of Koreans believed society shouldn’t accept homosexuality.
Today, the global research firm IPSOS released the results of a 23 country survey, including the US, on attitudes toward transgender people. The data was collected online between October 24th and November 7th, 2017 and included the following countries: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Ecuador, France, Great Britain, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Russia, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, and the United States of America. For the purposes of this summary write-up, however, Ipsos has chosen to focus on findings from the 16 countries where internet penetration is sufficiently high to feel confident that the data is truly nationally representative
K-pop dominated the music scene in 2017 with boy band, BTS, becoming household names and chart-toppers on Billboard. However, one artist may be taking that spotlight with a new music video that showcases gay representation. K-pop singer Holland made headlines on Sunday with the release of his music video for his debut single, “Neverland.” The video caught viewers’ attention with its same-sex love story, that finds Holland sharing a romantic beach day with his male lover and baring hs sexuality for the world to see. Despite, being praised across the world and garnering over 1.6 million views on YouTube, the video has been met with controversy. According to HuffPost, Korea gave the video a 19-plus rating due to the kiss that is shared between the two lovers at the end of the clip.
The U.S. Olympic team competing in South Korea this year will have more out LGBTI athletes than have ever represented the nation at a Winter Olympics, and that contingent now potentially includes one of the biggest stars for the games. Here’s a second installment from The Advocate on what’s happening with gay sports leading into PyeongChang
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