|▲ Two of the posters held by protesters|
Editor's note: Since this article was published, the festival organizers have confirmed that the festival will go ahead. For more information please check out their Facebook Event, Facebook Page, and website.
On Oct. 17, a noisy demonstration was held outside City Hall in Jeju City in protest of the government's decision to allow the Queer Culture Festival to be held at Shinsan Park in Jeju the end of the month.
After this protest, the government reversed its previous decision to allow the festival to be held at the public park.
Jeju City said that the reason for the reversal is that there has been strong opposition from Jeju residents which makes it hard for the festival to be held.
In reply, on a post on their Facebook page, the festival organizers said that this response lacked a basic understanding of what the festival is about or human rights.
The festival organizers hope to review the decision, suggesting that the cancellation lacks legal founding. They also still hope to hold the festival and plan to use any possible ways to hold the festival including legal action.
They also claimed that the follow-up questions made by the organizers of the festival were ignored and buried by the provincial government.
The signs held by the protesters were filled with dubious statements attacking the government for allowing the festival to take place.
|“How is it possible that the government can allow the Queer Culture Festival to use the same facilities as our youths and children?”|
- "The Jeju Police Station and Jeju City Hall allowed the festival but please don't ignore the opinions of Jeju residents."
- “Oppose the gay marriage legislation that will lead to the death of Jeju youths.
- “How is it possible that the government can allow the Queer Culture Festival to use the same facilities as our youths and children?”
The festival aims to raise awareness of the issues surrounding the LGBT community in Korea and Jeju. They also have ten promises which espouse things such as respect for "each other as human beings," and "we do not slander and have preconceptions based on others' religion and political orientation."
This isn’t the first opposition that the festival has been subjected to since it was announced.
In fact, in an earlier interview with The Jeju Weekly, organizer Kim Ki-hong said that malicious comments were left on the Jeju Government website against the organizers of the festival.
Since then, the organizers have started to take legal action against those who left the worst of the comments.
Jeju Queer Culture Festival isn’t the only queer festival in Korea to have had opposition protests.
In Seoul, the festival has been running for 18 years now, yet still every year attracts large opposition.
However, despite this opposition, the festival is growing, from around 50 when it first started, to 10,000 at the latest festival in Seoul. It has also inspired other festivals in Daegu (2009), as well as Busan and Jeju this year.
*Edit: An earlier version of this article stated that Shinsan Park was in Shin Jeju. It is actually in Gu-Jeju. Here is a map.
Duncan Elder firstname.lastname@example.org