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Controversy over Korea Queer Festival

Posted May. 30, 2014 03:41,   


“It’s the rights of the sexual minority!” vs. “We’re concerned that children might see them”

There is controversy over Korea Queer Culture Festival, the largest event for the sexual minority in Korea. The event started in 2000 and marks the 15th anniversary this year. A parade heralding the beginning of the festival was scheduled to take place on Yonsei-ro, Shinchon, Seodaemun district in Seoul on June 7, but the district office cancelled the permit to the event on Tuesday. A queer festival has been held to promote the understanding of the general public on the sexual minority and increase a sense of pride among the sexual minority in Korea.

The Seodaemun district office that governs Yonsei-ro said, “We simply cancelled an outdoor event as the country is still in sorrow in the wake of the Sewol ferry disaster.” The secretary general of the Queer Festival Committee said, “I heard that many people complained about the festival to the district office last week, which I think is the reason behind the cancellation.”

In fact, the Seoul metropolitan government and the Seodaemun district office reportedly received many phone calls claiming that they should never approve the use of the place for the event. On their websites, people are posting that the festival is unethical and harmful to the education for adolescents and children and the event should never happen.

The Queer Festival was held near Hongik University in Mapo district, Seoul in June last year and made headlines as it attracted some 10,000 people, the largest number in its history. Though the Mapo district did not approve the use of the place either, the event was held. A source from the district office said, “After the festival, many people complained that why the district office did not block the event. As we have to concern about residents, it is not easy to approve such an event.”

Despite the controversy, the festival will take place on Yonsei-ro as scheduled. A source from the committee said, “What we asked to the district office was to control cars and other events before 2 p.m. when the Saturday traffic control starts. But as we have already reached an agreement with the merchants association in Shinchon, we will go with the plan without the help of the district office.” The festival committee estimates some 20,000 participants this year.