SEOUL, June 14 (Korea Bizwire) – Anti-gay views and even hate crimes against members of the LGBT community have been on the rise recently.
The Orlando mass shooting that just occurred two days ago was also a hate crime against the gay community, with 49 casualties and dozens more badly injured, according to BBC News.
In South Korea, the queer parade that takes place every June in Seoul usually triggers anti-gay sentiment and protests. During the parade, conservative or religious organizations gather to hold their own “anti-gay” parade in response.
The 17th Korea Queer Culture Festival that was held on June 11 was a scene of conflict. Approximately 10,000 people participated in the queer parade, waving the rainbow flag both literally and figuratively. However, at the same time, on the other side of Seoul Plaza, Christian communities held an “anti-gay” rally, saying that homosexuality is obscene and doesn’t follow the teachings of the Bible.
The parade itself has been a struggle for everyone involved for many years, and the opposing views are growing further apart.
Controversy regarding LGBT rights is prominent on college campuses as well. Back in March, a banner welcoming new LGBT freshmen to Seoul National University was vandalized. Posters about the LGBT community at other college campuses also have been taken down or damaged.
To provide equal rights to all students, Korea University’s student council demanded that anti-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation be decreed in 2014. Public opinion did not agree then.
Experts, on the other hand, stress that society as a whole must take action to resolve the issues regarding the LGBT community before the conflict gets out of hand.
Lee Byeong-hun, a sociology professor at Chung-Ang University, said “The traditional culture of South Korea is not very accepting of homosexuality, but the conservative organizations holding anti-gay rallies shows how they don’t embrace the differences.”
“Defining different as wrong only brings about dispute and oppression. Society must learn to accept differences and to live with those differences in order to deal with anti-gay views,” he added.
“Hating or discriminating against others just to stay true to your convictions is a serious problem,” said Lee Na-young, another sociology professor at the same university. She concluded by saying, “Society should be concerned with preventing extremists from acting on their hate, and the government needs to introduce anti-discrimination laws to create an egalitarian state.”
By Nonnie Kim (firstname.lastname@example.org)