IDAHOT 2017 Country page: South Korea

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On May 17, 2017, the IDAHOBiT event was held in Seoul, Daegu, Daejeon and Busan in Korea.

Recently, the former president who committed corruption was impeached by the resistance of the citizen. And on May 9, Moon Jae-in was elected president. During the election campaign, in the TV debate that the whole nation watches, the abominable remarks of the LGBTI+ poured out. Candidate Hong Joon-pyo of the Liberty Korean Party said that “HIV / AIDS is spread because of homosexuality.” Candidate Moon Jae-in of Democratic Party said, “I oppose homosexuality.” The sexual minority community was frustrated, and on the next day, the surprise protest were held at the speech venue of the candidate, and 13 people were arrested on the spot and released on the evening. On the following day, Moon Jae-in apologized, “I am sorry for the sexual minorities,” but he raised the controversy by explaining that he expressed “objection to homosexuality in the military.” At this time, the Army crackdown gay soldiers in accordance with the only sodomy law in South Korea, penalized by Article 92-6 of the Military Criminal Code (penalties for anal sex and other misdemeanors of up to two years in prison) and gay captain A was arrested. Currently, A has been demanded of two years in prison and is expected to be sentenced on May 24.
In above situations, this year’s IDAHOBiT Korean LGBTI+ community raised voices of opposition to LGBTI hatred in South Korea with hosting rally for adjuring new president and government to stop LGBTI hatred and discrimination, abolish Article 92-6 of the Military Criminal Code and enact the anti-discrimination law include sexual orientation and gender identity.

  1. Press Conference

Every year, Korean LGBTI community celebrates IDAHOBiT and organizes the IDAHOBiT joint action. This year, more than 50 organizations, including LGBTI+ groups, disability groups, labor organizations, civil society groups and political parties, joined together in a voice against LGBTI+ hatred. IDAHOBiT joint action held a press conference on the morning of May 17 and announced “There is no place to hate at the new country!” and issued a separate statement for each unit.
 the joint declaration is at the bottom

  1. Citizen Busking Against LGBTI+ hatred – talking the new president.

On the same day, free speaking event called “Citizen Busking, Against LGBTI+ hatred – talking the new president” was hosted for 5 hours (from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm). The event included a variety of people including youth transgender, person living with HIV/AIDS, person with disability, genderqueer, and parents of LGBTI+ persons, and shared stories of their lives and hoping for a new government to oppose hate and discrimination.
“Captain A has been demanded to two years in prison. He cried a lot during the trial, saying, “I beg you would manage it all right.” Sometimes when I go to counseling, people ask “I am a gay soldier. What should I do if I got investigated?” or “I am a parent with a gay son, what if my son is investigated, what should I do?” I cannot give them a certain answer every time. Captain A had an agreed sexual relationship with another gay soldier at his home. He was another unit that had nothing to do with business. He have never posted or spread a video. “Captain A sincerely serves at the army. The praise of colleagues and the soldier’s reputation is good” This is what the superior of the A wrote in the petition.
If someone is qualified as a soldier when they hide their sexual orientation? If they cannot hide, should they lose their qualification as a soldier? If someone is gay, is he a potential sex offender? If then, exempt gays from military service right now. If not, do not care where they go and what you do. ” – HyungNam, KIM(Centre for Military Human Rights Korea(CMHRK))

I am now going to stop talking about beautiful stories. We say that we oppose LGBTI+ discrimination and we say, ‘We oppose sexual minority discrimination’ and at the same time, we say, “Our love is beautiful, and we can live a normal, ordinary life and a pretty family.” But being a beautiful and normal person does not entitle you to a right. People with a socially vulnerable position may be vulnerable to illness, disability, crime, drugs and other societal problems. The world will be weird because of us. The NORMALITY of society will be shaken because of us. I think the process of confronting hatred will be completed with courage to create this strange world.

– NAYOUNG (Network for Glocal Activism)
I am a mother of transgender daughter. I am proud that my child is a transgender.  Four years ago, when I knew my child’s gender identity, I heard the word transgender first. I was able to feel the pain of my child had suffered in the meantime, so I was able to support the child’s gender identity in a relatively short time. Our family accepts her as a daughter and prepares the mind for hormones and surgery. She was happy just by changing the title to daughter and sister. She said she did not want to have surgery yet, so she is now living well without surgery
I require gender recognition without surgery. I would like to change the resident registration without sex marks. Transgender people start to puberty in the secondary sex characteristics, gender discomfort is getting worse and thus also the self-disgust. Transgender youth’s attempted suicide rate is over 50% and 80% of them have depression. I think that proper suppressive therapy and hormone therapy can relieve this discomfort during puberty. In addition, gender diversity education should be preceded in elementary to high school education system. Please abolish the current national standards of sex education and enforce comprehensive sex education in terms of human rights and gender equality. – Lala (PFLAG Korea)

  1. Local Voices

Also, this year, various events such as Daegu, Busan, and Daejeon were held to celebrate IDAHOBiT. There were lectures in Daegu and street campaigns in Busan and Daejeon.
The Rainbow Action Against Sexual-Minority Discrimination, a coalition of LGBTI+ groups, will continue the photo campaign of citizens opposed to LGBTI+ hatred from IDAHOBiT to Korea Queer Culture Festival and Pride parade(15th of July). We also will carry out the petition campaign to abolish the national standards of sex education which promote the abhorrence of sexual self-determination, sexual orientation and gender identity of youth.

International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia (IDAHOT/IDAHOBiT)
2017 Joint Action for the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia
Joint Statement against LGBT-phobia
“There is no place for hate in the new country!”
In May 2017, South Korean society is full of spring energy amidst which a new country is about to bud. The sea of candlelight that melted the cold winter has ended ten years of a refusal to communicate, destruction of democracy, and a politics of lies and fraud.
The past ten years were an age of hate as well. People resisting injustice and inequality, powerless minorities were branded with all kinds of labels such as “North Korean followers,” “seditious forces,” and “terrorists” and forced into silence and resignation. Indeed, LGBT people were some of the major scapegoats of a politics of hate.
Hate against gender/sexual minorities served as a moral weapon for those who remained silent about inequality and corruption. Ultra-right organizations such as the Korea Parent Federation and the Mothers’ Troops led the crusade against homosexuality. Even in the case of those who pursued a reformist image, the human rights of LGBT people became a real touchstone and were treated as a nuisance. All this time, gender/sexual minorities had to withstand craven disregard and silence while being subjected to torrents of blatant insults and violence without any defense.
The time of hate was a time of awakening as well. LGBT people realized that, to lead their lives as dignified beings, they needed a voice and resistance. The cry that human rights are life itself to gender/sexual minorities and resistance against hate with rainbow flags became invaluable experiences for the LGBT public. The legislation of the inclusive Anti-Discrimination Act, abolishment of Article 92(6) of the Military Criminal Act, and guarantee of the rights to marry and form diverse families emerged as concrete demands.
LGBT people were among the candlelight protesters who cried out for the resignation of the Park Geun-hye regime and, by their existence alone, became living questions about the meanings of human rights and dignity. In the process, South Korean society learned about the meanings, pretexts, and effects of hate directed at minorities and expanded solidarity to protect everyone’s human rights. The LGBT movement firmly established itself as a part of social movements and civil society in South Korea.
Nevertheless, a reality of discrimination remains unchanged. Institutionally and systematically deep-rooted exclusion and disregard, and hatemongering that makes use of vested interests have continued. Only yesterday, a South Korean soldier arrested for being a homosexual was tried under the charge of having engaged in same-sex acts.
The South Korean army’s searches for and investigations of LGBT soldiers were similar to the witch hunts against LGBT people in the Chechen Republic, which appalled the world. The army committed hunts and entrapment through apps used by gender/sexual minorities. A reality where someone is turned into a criminal, a scapegoat of violence, and an object of ostracism simply for being an LGBT person is the reason that we must act together against such hate.
Gathered here on May 17 in commemoration of the IDAHOT, we declare sternly:
Regardless of the gender of the person one loves or the gender that one feels and expresses, there can be no exception or postponement to each person’s dignity. We all are inherently dignified and equal. Though hate seeks to make us fear and exclude one another, we desire a life where diversity coexists and forges solidarity. To achieve this, the state has a responsibility and a duty to fight against hate and to resolve discrimination.
Let us create a country where equality, instead of discrimination, and love, instead of hate, are possible. There is no place for hate in the new country.
May 17, 2017
2017 Joint Action for the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia

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