June is the international Gay pride month which boasts parades, concerts, performances, parties, and events for all ages across the LGBT community. Usually, a parade starts off a chain of events for an entire month. But in South Korea, they have only just begun their official celebrations in mid-July.
Troubles began when late last year, the leading LGBT organization for Pride, Seoul Queer Culture Festival, was denied non-profit status due to complaints of indecent exposure and intimate parts being on display at the festival. The organization fought these claims, which are mirrored by the very anti-LGBT groups that protest the event, and were eventually granted permission to host the event on July 16th.
This festival is not only a parade around downtown Seoul, but also a series of performances, speeches, and a general celebration of pride not commonly seen in the conservative city. Usually, the LGBT community is sheltered in its neighborhood of Itaewon, a former military outpost area emerging as a bustling hip area, where judgment is much harder to come by. They have carved out a niche there with several gay bars, drag shows, and gathering spaces where they can be comfortable in their own skin.
This festival gives them the chance to show their true selves in front of a wider audience as well as inspire others to do so as well. The US Embassy has heard of the organization's struggles and its ambassador is set to speak on the 16th as a show of goodwill.
Let us know your thoughts about this serious issue South Korea is dealing with!