Things are getting heated in Korea and not just because of the summer humidity. Korea, alongside its people, are known for being anti-LGBTQIA+ and not recognizing nor providing rights for people who identify as such. Now, a recent poll shows just how much opposition the country has against the gay community.
On August 25th a poll was posted on the Seoul City Government Official’s online forum which asked visitors “What do you think about the Queer Culture Festival in Korea?” As anticipated, it was met with a lot of hate with over 98% against the idea during its first 3 days of release.
Soon after, there was a slight increase in support (up to 30%) after 5 days of activity and sharing the thread across SNS platforms. However, the poll was ultimately closed (way before its original closing date of October 22nd) due to harassment, threats, and malicious comments written in the forums and even sent into the government via e-mail or over the phone.
An office official stated, “We decided to take action because of the comments,” the official said. “Hearing people were hurt by the forum, the author of the poll requested we take it down, fearing it was heading in an unintended direction.” However, this hasn’t stopped opposers and supporters from sharing their opinions. Protestors stated, “The worst of human decadence is homosexuality. A society that calls it a culture is a crazy one.” Another user stated, “Gay Mayor Park Won-soon must go!” Many others made false accusations saying that homosexuality is the cause of HIV and AIDS in Korea and globally.
But many were also offended by the poll. “Sexual identity is not something that’s up for agreement and opposition. Just as me being a Korean national cannot be agreed to or opposed to, it’s just what it is.”Another read, “The festival exists for (LGBTQ members) to display (their) identity because their human rights are not protected, as this clearly shows.” Many foreigners who were aware of the poll expressed their disbelief and condolences for the Korean LGBT+ community.
But many online users were also not surprised over Korea’s actions. The country’s army just finished arresting and removing gay soldiers from the military – which was deemed a “Gay Witchhunt” by gay communities both in and outside of Korea. American news station CNN also reported on the tragedy saying the military was using gay apps to seek and find gay soldiersin order to punish and remove them from their military base. The dilemma occurred after two soldiers were believed to be having sex on base.
One soldier commented, “After I was accused of being gay, they separated me from others and took my cellphone away in order to download all of my data and history. They said if I resisted, they would tell my whole base camp I am gay and punish me.”
Unfortunately, Korea is moving backward, almost becoming more barbaric, rather than moving forwardwith the times and acceptance towards gay culture shown worldwide today.
Now, the gay community of Korea, once again, is sadly left without a Queer Culture Festival (which provides many outlets of support, safe sex practices, and information for the community) and many have left comments online simply saying, “Maybe next year…”
What do you think of this hair-raising issue? Share your thoughts in the comments down below.