SEOUL, May 13 (Korea Bizwire) — Hatred towards sexual minorities is spreading following a coronavirus outbreak at clubs commonly frequented by members of the gay community in Itaewon.
Activists for the rights of sexual minorities are joining hands to ensure that gender minorities receive coronavirus tests without falling victim to discrimination and stereotyping.
Seven activist groups held a joint press conference in Seoul’s Jongno District on Tuesday, saying that “gender minorities do not wish for coronavirus to spread.”
“We plan to work with health authorities to resolve any factors that can prevent us from getting tested.”
“Malicious news reports from the press related to infections at clubs and bars in Itaewon exposed the privacy of several confirmed patients and stereotyped the locations,” they added.
They argued that such acts are leading many suspected patients to stay away from voluntary coronavirus tests.
The groups plan to work with local health authorities to improve testing procedures as they encourage gender minorities to get tested by offering necessary information.
They also plan to take action against media reports that incite hatred and discrimination toward gender minorities, and receive complaints related to human rights violations during test procedures.
Human rights organization Amnesty International’s South Korean branch office also released a public statement, arguing that “incitement of hatred and stereotyping against certain groups of people is obstructing effective disease control.”
Some 3,000 people out of 5,000 clubbers who visited Itaewon during the golden holidays are currently ‘out of reach,’ according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local authorities.
Some of the contact information on entry logs kept at each club turned out to be false, and other individuals have been ignoring attempts from authorities to contact them.
A club popular in the gay community is among multiple clubs that the original confirmed patient had visited. Many clubbers are refraining from exposing their identity, fearful that they might be blamed for not adhering to social distancing.
As a response, a gay celebrity has stepped out encouraging them to take the coronavirus test.
TV personality Hong Seok-cheon said in a recent post on Instagram that “now is the time to take courage,” while admitting that “exposure of one’s identity to family, friends, and the public is particularly hard and difficult for gender minorities.”
The so-called ‘outing,’ or arbitrary exposure of one’s sexual orientation, is something that most gender minorities would not want to risk, he said.
“But now, we have to prioritize the health and safety of ourselves, our families, and society. Fortunately, there are tests available that ensure your privacy. You need to take the test now,” Hong said.
“Please take courage and get tested now, before all the efforts made by health authorities, medical staff, and citizens are ruined.”
H. M. Kang (firstname.lastname@example.org)