Seoul Police Reject Application for LGBT Pride Parade

Pictured above: Korean LGBT supporters snap a group photo after submitting their application for the 2015 pride parade. 

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

Seoul police stations have banned the annual gay pride parade organized by the Korea Queer Cultural Festival (KQCF), after conservative Christian groups attempted to book the same venues as the LGBT festival committee.

Seoul reportedly began holding pride parades in 2000, with only 50 attendees, according to Oh My News Korea. Since then, KQCF has grown to be one of Asia’s largest LGBT festivals and now includes more than 20,000 participants.

However, last year, the Seoul metropolitan government allowed anti-LGBT groups to hold rallies during the 2014 KQCF Pride Parade, which led to major traffic jams and delays. Hundreds of non-affirming Christians lied down on the ground to prevent parade attendees from moving through the streets, according to the Korea Observer.

KQF-christians-block-roadAnti-LGBT and non-affirming Christians protest during 2014 KQCF Pride Parade. (Photo via ZoominKorea)

Although Seoul government officials have already approved KQCF’s request to hold this year’s pride parade, the festival organizers are still required to receive police approval.

Last month, the KQCF committee attempted to reserve the Seoul Plaza through the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency for the 2015 parade, but failed after an anti-LGBT group called, “Love Your Country, Love Your Children Movement” applied for the same venue.

The KQCF organizers then tried to register the parade through the Namdaemun Police Station, which made the controversial decision to accept applications for rallies that are to be held on June 28 on a first-come, first-served basis.

Love Your Country, Love Your Children Movement again lined up outside the police station on May 20, nine days before the Namdaemun police would even accept applications. The LGBT community spread word about the Christian group’s efforts via social media and quickly joined the line.

Both groups camped outside the station for more than a week, with individuals taking turns going to the bathroom. Several individuals and non-profit organizations donated food to the LGBT supporters standing in line.


11266463_847561355335690_7848132988918419455_nLGBT supporters stand in line outside Namdaemun Police Station (Photos via KQCF)

Despite the LGBT community’s efforts, the Namdaemun Police Station issued a prohibition notice on May 30, banning street marches from both advocates and opponents of the pride parade.

“Rallies may be banned wherever two or more rallies are planned by groups with conflicting goals and on Article 12 where rallies may be banned whenever there is a possibility of inconvenience to pedestrian and vehicle traffic,” the prohibition notice stated.

In response, the KQCF released an official statement on Sunday, saying that Namdaemun Police Station’s “reasoning is not justifiable” and that its decision suppresses the freedom of speech by sexual minorities while “instigating hatred and violence” toward them.

“Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency and Seoul Namdaemun-gu Police Station should withdraw its ban on outdoor rallies on May 30th 2015 at once, and should guarantee the Pride Parade of KQCF to be held safely and peacefully,” the committee said in its statement.

“The KQCF Organizing Committee has already begun to seek the support of civil society, human rights, cultural, and women’s groups to support the KQCF in the eight days before the decision rendered by Namdaemun-gu Police Station. Our work will continue.”

Although South Korea remains largely intolerant toward homosexuality, a recent 2014 survey showed that Koreans in their 20s and 30s are becoming more open-minded regarding LGBT rights and issues.

See Also


“Study: South Koreans Becoming More Open-Minded About LGBT Issues”

“Dr. Esther Oh’s Column: LGBTQ Youth, The Challenges of Coming Out”

“Korean LGBT Activists Protest at Seoul City Hall”


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