The South Korean gay pride parade went wonderfully, despite homophobic protests and petitioners trying to ruin it.
South Korea’s pride month is in full swing with events going on until the end of this week. While the Korea Queer Film Festival starts on the 19th and ends on the 22nd, the Seoul Queer Parade finished this past Saturday.
The event at the country’s capital was joined by around 30,000 people who marched around in colorful clothing, danced on open truck beds, and waved rainbow flags.
The 19th annual event was also joined by 105 organizations including human rights groups, 13 embassies, including U.S. Ambassador Harry Harris, companies, and university clubs that support sexual minorities, according to the Korea Times.
Unfortunately, these parade marchers weren’t alone as about 20,000 anti-gay protestors joined them in several spots along the parade path. Some held signs reading the line, "We will wait. We love you. Come back to us," while others yelled out anti-gay chants.
One group even showed up on the path before the event started and locked arms to block the way. They were eventually moved by police who stood ready to keep protestors and parade goers apart while also erecting fences around the Seoul Square outside City Hall.
While homosexuality is legal in South Korea and attitudes towards it are slowly becoming more inclusive as the country progresses, there is still a great fear of discrimination and social isolation.
"I think the public attitude toward homosexuality has become much more receptive over the past few years", said parade participant Psygay to AFP as he handed out fliers.
"However, hate groups' animosity toward LGBT people has intensified all the more.”
Psygay also shared his story of coming out to his mother and brother three years ago.
"After a while, my mother said she understood me as I am her son anyhow. But my brother still urges me to change", he said.
"My father? Oh, he still doesn't know", said Psygay.
If you want to see more photos from the parade, you can check them out below.
h/t: Korea Times, AFP, ABS-CBN News