A group of parents stood by their love and support for the LGBTQ community by giving hugs at Korea’s Queer Culture Festival held in Seoul on Saturday.
Members of the Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) Korea had a booth along with 100 others at Seoul Square in central Seoul, handing out guidebooks for parents of gay and lesbian children, reports The Korea Times.
The parents were also giving out hugs to festival participants while they were there for about three hours.
‘It was supposed to be a brief event. We were surprised that so many showed up for a hug. Many wept in my arms. I am glad that I did that,’ Ji-in, a mother whose son who came out as gay three years ago, told The Korea Times.
She shared that she was shocked by her son’s coming out at first, but her self-education on the subject of homosexuality changed her heart:
‘I was in shock,’ she said ‘I did a lot of reading about homosexuality. I know one mother who read more than 1,000 research papers on the topic.’
It was the statistics she read about that helped her change her attitude.
According to the Korea Youth Counseling and Welfare Institute, 47.4% of LGBTQs answered that they have attempted suicide.
‘I love my son for who he is,’ Ji-in said. ‘They are already going through so much because of prejudice and discrimination due to their sexual identity. If I decide to reject him, who would support him? We need to unite to build a society where my son will have a better life.’
According to the organiser, the festival drew almost 50,000 participants, among them were university students from all over Korea.
European countries had also set up booths at the festival, disseminating information about LGBTQ issues in their countries and voicing their support for LGBTQ rights in Korea, according to The Korea Times.
However, a group of Christian protesters was reportedly holding a protest against the festival in front of Deoksu Palace.
Watch this heartwarming video of the festival produced by FACE now: