Learnings – About Community (Part One)

Well, the week came and went – the sit-in at Namdaemun-gu Police Station came and went – and the decision of the Seoul Police Agency has been issued. The Pride Parade has been disallowed on the basis of ‘competing rallies’ and ‘inconvenience to traffic’, although the Korea Queer Culture Festival (KQCF) still has its permits for its opening ceremony on the 9th and the main festival on the 28th. ‘So’, some might ask, ‘why aren’t you happy with that? Take your partial victory, have your festival, and be happy!’ I’ll let the statement of the KQCF Organizing Committee speak for itself:

‘…the attendance at the KQCF has increased consistently over the past 15 years, while there has been no inconvenience to pedestrian or vehicular traffic on routes such as Cheonggye-daero,…where the Pride Parade has been held 4 times.

(T)he planned assembly is not interfering with pre-scheduled events…Conservative Christian groups intending to disrupt the KQCF Pride Parade scheduled for June 13th camped out in a tent in front of the Hyehwa Police Station for more than a week; this was one of the ‘simultaneous rallies’ cited in the police report. In addition, meetings were held with Hyehwa Police Station representatives after the parade had been reported, in the month preceding the parade, with the intent of interfering with the parade scheduled and reported by the KQCF Organizing Committee.’

‘Nuff said ’bout dat, says I! (can you tell I’m originally from Newfoundland?) The struggle will continue – an appeal has been launched, plans are being made for a human chain of Peace Against Hate and Discrimination, and plans are going forward for the festival. And the community which formed over that week continues to gel, to strengthen each other, to spread the story of what’s going on, and to act. The main organizer of the sit-in had this to say about how expats and Koreans are coming together:

‘What I realized during the staying in front of the police station is
Forigners are also the member of “OUR” community.
Lots of them comes to join the line and try to support as much as they can.
because, they are also care about pride parade just like Korean. We are just same people who LIVES IN KOREA.
I was touched and impressed a lot as well.

This was part of my response:

We are one community – Korean and expat; gay, lesbian, straight, queer, and transgender. We are united in our caring for each other and our desire to see equal rights for all!’

It is amazing to see a community coalesce like this. It’s also amazing for me to find out something about myself…see my next post.

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