South Korea’s LGBTQ community confronts crushing headwinds in fight for equality

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11/28/2022

Lesvos rolls out of bed each morning before the sunrise, heads to work, then punches her time card at exactly 6 a.m. By day, she’s a chef at a traditional Korean restaurant in downtown Seoul, but by night, she runs South Korea’s first lesbian bar. The venue, Lesvos Bar, is located in a section of the Itaewon neighborhood known as “Homo Hill,” one of this country’s few queer-friendly areas. Lesvos, who said she legally changed her given name more than two decades ago and is only known by her mononym, said her bar provides LGBTQ Koreans the type of identity-affirming space she longed for in her younger years. “I want this bar to be a place for all LGBTQ Koreans, not just lesbians,” Lesvos, 66, said. “It’s my way of giving back to our community.”

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