Conservative Christian groups are expected to disrupt an LGBTI pride event on Saturday (29 September) in Jeju, South Korea, organizers have warned.
The second annual Jeju Queer Culture Festival is slated to take place at Sinsan Park on the island of Jeju from midday on Saturday. Organizers plan to hold a fair in the park before a pride parade.
But, organizers took to social media on Friday to urge supporters to gather at the venue on Friday night and ‘occupy’ it until the pride event begins on Saturday.
‘We ask for a lot of publicity and people power to come to the venue so that the Jeju Queer Culture Festival can be held safely’, HyunJeong Shin, a member of Jeju Queer Culture Festival organization committee, told gay star news.
She said some 4,000 LGBTI and allies attended the event last year. About 200 to 300 people attempted to disrupt the event. Importantly, HyunJeong Shin expects more than that number this year.
‘Last year, cars rushed into the ranks of the march’ HyunJeong Shin warned. ‘Please keep an eye on the events happening in Jeju’, she urged
Organizers have hired security personnel and plan to work together with police. ‘We will no longer allow hate speech and interference’ HyunJeong Shin said. ‘All illegal activities will be handled legally’.
Homosexuality is legal in South Korea. But conservative attitudes, especially among Christians, force many LGBTI Koreans to live in the closet.
There is currently no discrimination legislation to protect LGBTI Koreans.
Anti-gay protesters physically blocked 300 LGBTI supporters from leaving a plaza and beginning a march in Incheon earlier this month.
‘Our flags and banners were damaged by anti-gay protesters, said LGBTI group, Rainbow Mama Papa, in a statement. ‘We could not eat nor use the bathroom throughout the entire day’.
Earlier this year, more than 210,000 people signed a petition calling for the government to cancel a pride event in capital Seoul.
Petitioners demanded the government acts to prevent the ’abominable’ festival from going ahead.
They claimed ‘homosexuals and normal people should not engage in such perverse and obscene events in a plaza that is meant to be a space for citizens to relax’. ‘True human rights are not indulgences’, the petition said.