JEJU, Oct. 19 (Korea Bizwire) – Jeju’s very first LGBT pride festival is facing a huge setback as the Jeju government has canceled a parade permit only 10 days before the event was set to take place on the island, amid backlash from anti-LGBT groups.
The Jeju government announced on Wednesday it had retracted the decision to allow the Jeju Queer Culture Festival to occupy Shinsan Park on October 28.
The setback for human rights comes after a meeting held by the civil affairs committee on Wednesday following complaints and a petition filed by local anti-LGBT groups.
“As local communities continue to express opposition, it is becoming a difficult situation to socially accept a queer culture festival. We also fall short of measures to prevent possible acts of indecency that might occur during the event,” the Jeju government said.
Despite the short notice, the organizing committee behind the Jeju Queer Culture Festival says it is pushing ahead with the event and released a statement in which the committee condemned the Jeju government and said it will take all possible measures, including legal action, to overturn the decision to cancel the festival.
“The Jeju government has never held a civil affairs meeting despite having permitted numerous festivals and events. The fact that only the Jeju Queer Culture Festival was questioned is a sign of discrimination against sexual minorities,” the organizing body behind the festival said.
The committee added that since Shinsan Park is open to every local resident, much like the Jeju Queer Culture Festival is, the festival will go forward as planned.
In August, Jeju Island’s first queer festival organizing committee was launched in the hopes of tackling stereotypes and discrimination against sexual minorities to help create a safer environment, with plans to hold a queer festival later in the year.
Despite having acquired permission to hold a pride parade at Shinsan Park from the local government last month, growing backlash from local communities saw the government give in to anti-LGBT groups.
The Justice Party, a party deemed most liberal on LGBT issues in the country, issued a statement in response to the Jeju government’s decision to cancel the island’s first LGBT parade, in which it said, “The Jeju government’s decision to cancel the festival is an act of bigotry and discrimination against sexual minorities.”
Hyunsu Yim (firstname.lastname@example.org)