Seoul's LGBT community gathers for annual festival despite protest
Seoul's LGBT community gathers for annual festival despite protest
Seoul's LGBT community gathers for annual festival despite protest
by DZRH News02 June 2024
Participants parade with a huge rainbow flag during the Seoul Queer Culture Festival in Seoul, South Korea, June 1, 2024. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

SEOUL (Reuters) - The annual Seoul Queer Culture Festival was held in the South Korean capital on Saturday despite previous issues in securing a venue and protests against the LGBT community's pride celebrations.

"Our message to South Korean society at large this year is to affirm LGBTQ people," said festival chief organiser Yang Sun-woo.

The city authorities had previously denied requests by the organisers to use four locations, and a counter rally against the festival was held nearby.

"We're going to do it anywhere where we can do pride because the main thing is to convey the message that we're everywhere," Yang said.


A protest against the Queer Culture Festival was held in a separate location in central Seoul on Saturday. Thousands of participants held blue flags and signs with phrases such as "No to Homosexuality Queer Festival".

Among various booths and activities at the queer festival was event blessing for couples.

"We participated in the festival to show visibility, that we exist," one couple - Park Hyun Chung, a 25-year-old bisexual person, and Kim Jarim, 22, who identifies as pansexual - told Reuters.

"We're going to have a wedding ceremony next year. Usually at weddings, there are a lot of events where you receive blessings, or celebrate religiously. But in our case, we don't even know if our parents will participate... There are times when I'm sad, but I'm really touched to receive this blessing from this queer parade."


Conservative religious groups in South Korea mount fierce resistance to efforts to pass laws against discrimination. There is no legal acknowledgement of LGBT partnerships.

As a result, many LGBT people hide their identity in public as they struggle for equal recognition and acceptance.

Last year's parade attracted around 50,000 people, while 155,000 people attended the festival, according to organisers, who expected a bigger turnout this year.


(Reporting by Sebin Choi and Daewoung Kim; Writing by Joyce Lee; Editing by Mike Harrison)

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