I’ve been an open supporter of equal rights for as long as I can remember. My parents were extremely open about how ‘boy loves girl and girl loves boy’ wasn’t the only way it could happen. “Openness” and transparency were huge themes for me growing up. My two eldest siblings are 10 and 12 years older than me creating an extremely diversified household. My mom was guiding my sister through her first ‘love’ while I wasn’t even in first grade yet. Because of this, mature topics were a common thing for me to overhear and my folks decided to just be open with us on what we were hearing.
This led to us overhearing some eye-opening stuff but also taught us what was happening in the world a little faster than usual. We knew about homosexuals from a very young age and were taught that it was perfectly natural. When you hear this from such a young age, it just makes sense. Everyone can love whomever he or she wants. Society obviously accepts this, right?
I wasn’t shocked when I found out men could love men or women could love women, I was shocked when I found out some people disapproved of it. It made no sense to me why someone would have a say on who someone wanted to love. What business is it of theirs? And then when I found out there were LAWS against same-sex marriage… I was dumbfounded.
I’ve lived in many countries and visited even more; I always do my research on where the country stands in regards to the LGBT+ community. I’m pretty outspoken about my beliefs on the subject, but when it’s downright illegal, I have to watch what I say. A quick Google search will tell you that activities between same-sex individuals are legal, but marriage and any other forms of a legal partnership is illegal in South Korea. So, naturally… I don’t fucking agree with that.
My sister found the first-ever Drag/Pride Parade being advertised in Itaewon and we literally jumped at the chance to go. It was the first of its kind and we had absolutely no idea what to expect. We arrived to find a small crowd that quickly started to grow with more members of the community and their allies. They expected a couple hundred people to turn up but over one thousand individuals proudly marched through the streets. It was a day of hope at the idea of one day eradicating the preventative laws and allowing equality to flourish in South Korea.
We did get a taste of the resistance that still stands… This super religious extremist stopped us with a megaphone telling us we’re going to hell and we’re damned. I know not all religious people are like this but being screamed at in public like that (at that time it was me and four girlfriends) made me sick to my stomach. What people of the beautiful pride community have to endure is nothing I can ever quite wrap my head around. I will never understand the true extent of that public abuse as I’m not part of the community… but I am an ally. I can only spread as much love as I possibly can in a world determined to hate.
Witnessing the great turnout made me realize that there is hope even in more conservative countries. I felt an overwhelming amount of hope.
Here’s to the future, Korea.