South Korea will celebrate gay pride on Saturday with the Korea Queer Love Festival (KQLF) in Hanbit Media Park in central Seoul. According to the website, this is the 13th KQLF in Seoul.
Indicating the stigma around homosexuality in South Korea, people at the festival who don’t want to be photographed will wear a ‘no photography’ sticker and a red band. Only press will be permitted to take photographs and videos of the festival, and they must get permission of the individuals captured before publishing.
In the run up to Saturday’s event, the festival included an art exhibition, Living with Red Ribbon, that tackles the negative perceptions of people with HIV and AIDS in Korea. ‘We hope this is useful to get right information about HIV/AIDS and a great opportunity to represent the activists’ opinion on this subject,’ the festival organizers said.
Tonight the festival is holding a discussion about anti-gay discrimination in South Korea, following the protests against Lady Gaga’s concert earlier this month.
The festival also celebrates the end of the 12th Seoul LGBT Film Festival which ran from 24 to 30 May with Korean films (Girl Princes, Wandering Stars, Summer Days in Bloom) and international films (The Perfect Family, Loose Cannons, Children of Srikandi).
Despite being more developed than Asian neighbours North Korea and China, South Korea’s LGBT community is still relatively underground, with few openly gay clubs, public displays of affection or celebrities.