The LGBTI community in South Korea are furious after the government has taken down a website outlining the gay-friendly venues across the country.
Korea Pink Map has been recently taken down by the Communication Standards Commission and they have yet to explain why.
When you go onto the page, whether you live in Korea or Kentucky, US, it sends you to a warning page that says it has been taken down due to ‘illegal’ activity.
Describing itself as the largest information-sharing website for regional gay businesses, it expressly banned anyone under the age of 19 from using the resource.
Jenny, a 39-year-old lesbian living in Seoul, spotted that it was down after seeing people talk about it on a LGBTI Korean Facebook page.
‘There are no laws against homosexuality in South Korea, so there is no reason to block a site that simply lists venues,’ she told Gay Star News.
‘It is utterly insane and clear discrimination. It is hard enough for gay people in Korea, so to have a resource like this removed by the Korean government is…well, it pisses me off.’
While Jenny said blocking sites is common, it most often happens with porn as that is illegal in South Korea.
But the Korea Pink Map wasn’t. The Youth Protection Act of 1997 states minors should not be exposed to the topic of homosexuality censoring LGBTI websites. This was challenged in court in 2004, removing sexual orientation as a category of harm.
In the sex education guidelines introduced in March of this year, the government removed any mention of LGBTI people or relationships. While the draft of the guidelines in 2014 mentioned same-sex partnerships, religious groups pressured the Department of Education to change this.
Earlier this month, it was revealed Samsung and Google Play had taken down gay networking apps like Grindr and Jack’d due to ‘local moral values’.
Homosexuality is legal in South Korea. However all male citizens are drafted in to military service where being gay could lead you to being dishonorably discharged or spending a year in jail. This has been appealed to the constitutional court.
Gay Star News has contacted the Korea Communication Standards Commission and is awaiting a response.