It was only 17 years ago when 30 individuals rallied on the streets of Korea to promote the rights of LGBTI persons. This year saw over 50,000 people gather at City Hall in downtown Seoul for Korea Queer Culture Festival.
In support of the rights of sexual minorities the festival theme was ‘Queer I Am, Kudo to Who We Are.’ The Embassy of Canada to Korea was yet again a proud supporter promoting human rights including the rights of LGBTI persons.
Ambassadors and Chargé d’affaires from 18 diplomatic missions in Korea joined Canada in speaking at the opening ceremony. James Trottier from the Embassy of Canada highlighted the importance of protecting human rights including the rights of LGBTI persons:
“Canada advocates strongly in support of LGBTI rights, both at home and abroad. The new government has made respect for diversity a central tenet of its platform.”
“Canada believes the human rights of all persons to be universal and indivisible, and these include the human rights of LGBTI persons.”
James Trottier, Counselor for Political, Economic and Public Affairs, Embassy of Canada to Korea
The downtown streets were filled with color and with over 100 event booths of different organizations, businesses, and foreign embassies. The Embassy’s booth promoted Canada’s leadership on human rights. Canadians, Koreans and participants of other nationalities expressed immense appreciation for Canadian participation.
Leading up to the Korea Queer Culture Festival, Dr. Judy Han, Assistant Professor in Geography at University of Toronto, gave a talk on queer and evangelical geopolitics at Hyanglin Church, a local church with a long history of democratic engagement. The event was organized by the TransChrist research group, The Christian Institute for the 3rd Era, and Gilmok (progressive Christian network), and co-sponsored by the Network for Global Activism (NGA) and Korean Society of Law and Policy on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI).
Dr. Han shared her insights on religious homophobia and minority geopolitics from the point of the diaspora, discussing examples from the Korean American experience in the 1990s. Dr. Han commented that the Korea Queer Culture Festival has grown significantly in size in recent years, and that the visible support of foreign embassies can help remind everyone that LGBTI rights are an important part of international human rights.