The Embassy of Canada to Korea partnered with other foreign missions to take part in the Korea Queer Culture Festival, which raised unprecedented public and media attention on LGBT rights.
Public acceptance of same-sex marriage in Korea has risen in recent years, but challenges still remain for the LGBT community.
The growth of LGBT advocacy groups in Korea has fueled heated discussions on LGBT issues, sparking resistance from opposition groups to legislative attempts to protect LGBT rights. The strong opposition by Christian and conservative groups has led to numerous bills being proposed to repeal the right to be free from discrimination based on one’s sexual orientation and identity.
The Korea Queer Film Festival (KQFF), part of the Queer Culture Festival, was based around the theme, “an open window for Queer”.
A Canadian documentary, In the Turn (2014), was chosen to close the festival from a selection of 35 films from 12 different countries. To support our Canadian producers and to show solidarity with those fighting for their rights, the Embassy of Canada to Korea funded the addition of Korean subtitles and delivered congratulatory remarks during the closing ceremonies.
“Cinema remains a great way to reach a large audience and address sensitive issues by helping to foster dialogue and understanding, and overcoming prejudices and ignorance” said James Trottier, Counselor for Political, Economic and Public Affairs at the Embassy of Canada to Korea.
The pride parade hosted by the Queer Culture Festival organizers took place in the Seoul Plaza, a well-known rallying point for Korean activists. The Embassy supported parade activities by setting up an exhibition booth promoting Canada’s leadership on human rights. The US Embassy and a number of EU Embassies also had exhibition booths at the event to show their support.
The festival was a great opportunity for the embassy to expand its professional networks of LGBT activists, which will help to facilitate future events promoting the freedom and equality of LGBT persons in Korea.
Events like the Korea Queer Culture Festival are reflective of a key Canadian priority, namely the protection of human rights.
The government of Canada is determined to carry forward the momentum for the protection of the human rights of the LGBT community.