- Posted June 3, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Impact Your World
The Gay Pride in Seoul on June 2, 2012
- Jareen, CNN iReport producer
On June 2, 2012, at around 13:00, the LBGT community and their supporters started to prepare for the 13th Gay Pride in Seoul Korea.
The march took place around the Cheonggyecheon (Hangul: 청계천) area. It is an 8.4 km (5.2 miles) long, modern public recreation space in downtown Seoul, South Korea. A wonderful spirit prevailed.
As the march got underway, I experienced cold shivers going down my spine. "This is the taste of real freedom!", one of my friends declared.
No church complained. Nobody protested the march. Families with children were seen around the march, some were even participating on the fringes. I saw a father with his +/- 14 year old son attending the pre-festival preparations.
The march was marshaled at a few traffic points by the police. No police protection was needed te protect the marchers, only about four officers handled traffic control.
From the photographs one can also see the participants were really enjoying themselves. Participants were really happy. My feeling was that some people were not so comfortable being photographed. Many wore masks. Korea is not yet a totally open, gay friendly society. Koreans seem to be more tolerant than similar marches in conservative areas in the US.
I interviewed some gay people. In general, in the wider community being gay is still not excepted. Many people stay in the closet, some break contact with their family because homosexuality is not excepted. Some employers are said to discriminate if the person is very open, although some gay people does not experience the same discrimination. So it is still debatable how much discrimination takes place.
The after parties took place all over Seoul. The parties were typical at gay clubs. Seoul has a few gay clubs and a "SOHO area" in Itaewon. The places were crowded and the crowds came out to enjoy.
I think Korea is a very tolerant country and an example to many democracies. Gay marriage may still be a long way off, but the debate has started.