LGBTI issues are very taboo in South Korea even though homosexuality is not illegal. Every year thousands of people, organized by Christian groups, protest Seoul’s Pride parade by lying on the road to block the demonstration, by screaming abuses and hurling rubbish as the participants of the march go by. The Christians opposing Pride turn up to the march and sing hymns through loudspeakers in the hope of drowning out the parade. They also hold petitions calling for public venues to be restricted to Pride events. “We do not want them to showcase homosexuality in public, which can corrupt the minds of our children. It’s okay to celebrate whatever you are at home or privately. Just don’t do it in front of others” pastor Hong Ho-soo, secretary general of the Homosexuality Countermeasure Council for Korean Churches told the media.
Nevertheless, South Korea’s LGBTI people will go ahead with their planned Pride march this year, despite vocal protests from conservative Christians. The parade forms part of the Korea Queer Culture Festival, a two-day festival celebrating all things LGBTI in Seoul. As one of South Korean LGBT activists said: “We should encourage people to break free of oppression and march out to achieve our rights”. In an act of solidarity a giant rainbow flag was hoisted on the front US Embassy building in Seoul. The embassy of USA also made a supporting statement, which said: “The US Department of State affirms its solidarity with the human rights defenders and civil society organizations working around the world to uphold the fundamental freedoms of LGBTI persons to live with dignity and freedom. We will continue to support the human rights of LGBTI persons together with like-minded governments, businesses, and civil society organizations globally”.