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South Korea LGBTI activists barred from gender ministry investigation

South Korea LGBTI activists barred from gender ministry investigation

Daejeon Metropolitan City.

Two LGBTI activists in South Korea have claimed they were barred from the National Assembly’s investigation into the gender ministry, which ordered Daejeon city scrap its LGBTI protections in August.

Human rights lawyer Ryu Min-hee and Jeong Min-seok, the director of the DDing Dong LGBTQ Youth Crisis Support Center, said they were invited to be witnesses by the assembly’s gender equality and family committee on 5 October, only for their invitations to be withdrawn hours later.

The decision was reportedly made by the committee’s chairwoman Rep You Seung-hee, which she has denied, and led to protests outside the central government building in Seoul last week.

‘The chairwoman of the committee cannot finalize the list of witnesses by herself,’ a spokesperson for Yoo’s office told The Korean Herald.

South Korea’s Women’s Development Act 1995 was renamed the Gender Equality Act in July to include both genders.

Daejeon Metropolitan City revised its municipal charter of gender equality accordingly and introduced articles protecting LGBTI rights.

However, the gender ministry ordered the city scrap them after receiving complaints from Christian groups.

‘We had been planning to delete the articles even before the gender ministry sent us the request,’ said a spokesperson for the city government.

‘We received a lot of complaints from citizens. We first assumed that the Gender Equality Act includes the concept of protecting LGBTI rights, but it turns out the act does not specifically state that.’