Korea couldn’t start pride month any more colorful. June 1st was marked by Seoul Queer Culture Festival (SQCF) 20th edition, which started back in 2000, with the brave presence of 50 people in total. In 2019, the estimate is that 60.000 LGBTQ+ people and allies have showed up in a march that went through South Korea’s modern and traditional history.
Nineteen years after its begining, the Parade has changed names (beforehand, the event was national and was called de Korean Queer Culture Festival); was joined by other local parades like Daegu’s and Jeju’s ones; and has speacially provided an environment to celebrate queer culture, in which there’s equal space to party, acceptance, fight for rights and even K-Pop.
According to the ally and columnist Seunghan, the parade has grown in the last few years alongside with the increasing number of opositors, who carry out demonstrations around the LGBTQ+ festival. Despite this, the number and the noise of the conservatives make become mere noises in the face of acceptance: “LGBTQ + people had fun dancing and singing with allies like me, and it was normal to see other people [outside the Parade] waving at us”, affirms the columnist. Woobin, who went to the festival for the first time, said that “the way people see the festival is changing gradually and the number of heterosexual couples and families participating in the Parade is also growing.”
This harmonious acquaintanceship of recognition and respect among LGBTQ+ people and allies is crutial, according to a Queer ARMYs representative, one of the fandoms that literally raised the flag during the event. “We wanted to say that queer people are no different from others, and that we are everywhere. In BTS fandom, work place, school, and as someone’s family member, literally everywhere. When you go to Korean Queer Culture Festival, you can see from the flags risen that LGBTQ+ people are also part of many different communities in our society, based on their jobs, religions, status, hobbies and interests. We believe that showing that we exist everywhere like this, would eventually help people realize that we are real people, and fight the discrimination.”
Alongside ARMYs, who took part in the event for the firts time, there were other K-Pop fandoms that were in the SQCF representing their LGBTQ+ members, like Carats (@qurat), Moomoos (@rainbowmoomoons), Exo-Ls (@EXO_Queer) and NCTzens (@NCTsmtown_QUEER). Other artists, like Sunmi, Momoland and Girls’ Geneation, were able to be a part of the Parade through their songs, sang and performed by the attendants.
“Parading with K-Pop hits itself gives a lot of joy and happiness”, an anonymous contributor said. According to them, singing and dancing with their friends and people with various backgrounds gives off an empowering feeling and the sense of connection. Red, a young chinese and pansexual person, has her attendance in the event as a personal resistance act: “I came out to my high school classmates while I did a presentation about sexual and gender equality. Then I got bullying from them. Although being bullied almost destroyed my life, I never stop what I’m doing. I’m really glad I can join Queer Parade in Seoul. It makes me feel alive and gives me so much power.”
To come up with this article, K4US interviewed five people that aside from the quotes in the text, gave us the opportunity of important dialogues so that the people interested in South Korea’s culutre, can understand better the experiences and social context in which the local LGBTQ+ community lives in.
We contacted the SQCF organization but until the closing of this article they didn’t returned. The K4US team salutes the brave people who attended the Seoul Queer Culture Festival and willingly cooperated with this article.
Text by Bea | @ K4US Team
www.k4us.com.br | Please, do not take it without credits.