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The Rainbow Wave across the Universe


  ▲ A 2014 gay parade in Prague, Czech Republic. / Photogrpahy from Wikipedia  
On June 26th, the White House turned into rainbow colors. The Supreme Court of the United States made a historic decision by legalizing homosexual marriage across the whole nation. U.S. President Barack Obama was also pleased with the decision by saying, “Love is love” and “America is where you can write your own destiny.”  The United States’ momentous choice reignited the issue of gay marriage of other countries as well. Korea, where a long history of Confucianism exists, is also showing signs of movement, such as increased visibility of sexual minorities through events like parades. Homosexuality was a taboo issue from the past, and it has been a very tough for a long time for homosexuals to come out and face the public.


   Homosexuality was relatively more opened in the Western countries. In ancient Greece, homosexuality was even suggested in terms of strengthening military power and fellowship. Moreover, a male-dominated society made the culture more active, which people thought that only men could experience a true love, and the love between men will make them stronger. Homosexuality did not have serious opposition up to this time, but with the advent of medieval times, it began to suffer from persecution. A firm Christian ethic was established, and it included strong disagreement against homosexuality. Some homosexuals were burnt alive or decapitated.

   In  the 20th century, homosexuality received even more hatred. Before the WWII, homosexuality was strictly oppressed by the Christian society and Adolf  Hitler’s Nazism was also very against the idea. However, with the United States winning the war, the homosexuals who could not freely express his or her sexual preference, was finally released from the social obstacles. They enjoyed sex life as an expression of freedom. However, some people started to feel repulsion toward too much “expression,”  including promiscuous sexual relations.
   Homosexual has always existed in Korean society. Before Confucianism was introduced to Chosun Dynasty, Korea was very opened to sex culture, as well as homosexuality. The 44th volume of <Gyoreo History> from Gyoreo Dynasty, an explanation about King Gongmin describes, “When his wife, Queen Noguk, died, the king wanted a beautiful boy, which brought disorder to the discipline of the palace.” After Chosun Dynasty, homosexuality was not understood by the Confucian culture. However, after 1960s, homosexual groups started to gather in the society. The meeting places were usually theaters or parks. This was, though, only limited to men. Women got the chance of meeting from 1990s.

Social hardships&obstacles

   The history of homosexuality is quite long. However, it still has a very long way to go. A lot of conservatives and religious groups are expressing extreme displeasure that the “queer culture” is getting closer. Some opponents described the gay parade as “very nasty costumes and props.” American Psychological Society (APS) deleted the definition that regards homosexuality as a type of mental disorder (DSM3) in 1979, with an approval rating of 53 percent. However, among the 47 percent of opponents, many are still submitting research papers that insist on the inappropriateness of homosexuality for more than 20 years. Christian groups are also against this acceptance, with the reason that homosexuality is harmful to the education, it could cause diseases such as AIDS, and it is a social evil. Lee Yong-hee, a representative of a union which disagrees with gay marriage said that petitions objecting to gay marriage signed by more than one hundred thousand people were sent to the Western district court, Seoul.

   A  Dongguk University student in College of the Social Science who wanted to stay anonymous, said that she is on the opponent side of homosexuality. “However, I am not saying that homosexuality should disappear,” she put, “I think that I will be very embarrassed and shocked when one of my friends or family “come-out.” Even though the society became more open-minded, I am still uncomfortable with this matter.” Homosexuality became a more controversial issue in the modern society. The views were divided, with some still entirely refusing to accept the matter. Nevertheless, the continued efforts and various movements has improved homosexuals’ position in society little by little.

   In the case of U.S., a lot of cities and states are holding gay parades regularly such as San Francisco. Moreover, Supreme Court declared on gay marriage legalization to the whole nation on June 26th. Canada is known for being the 4th country to legalize gay marriage (since 2005). Toronto Gay Parade is also regularly being held in Toronto, which is the biggest parade in the city.

   A man who lives in San Francisco, and wanted to be called as David, said that he is pleased with the gay culture in his city. “I am very pleased with the current shifts in the United States,” he said, “but San Francisco was already open-minded towards homosexuality, so I could not really see the difference after the legalization. We always hold parades and campaigns.” David said that he is also interested in gay cultures in Asian countries. “I do not know much about gay culture in Eastern countries, but I know that they are more closed with this issue. I believe more campaigns and movements that show our effort to the society will make a change for sure.”

Continuous efforts being made

   Korea began to show movements from 1960s, starting with little meetings among homosexuals. In 1993, the first open homosexual group called “Chodonghwe” was formed in Korean history. After 1994, the group was divided into two groups, “Between Friends” for gays and “Ggiriggiri” for lesbians. Homosexual unions also started to pop upand currently there are a lot of homosexual groups in universities that try to increase gay rights, such as “Rainbow Solidarity for LGBT Human Right” and “Solidarity for LGBT Human Right of Korea.” In addition, there are also homosexual unions in universities in Seoul, including “QUIS” from Seoul National University and “DancingQ” from Sogang University.

   Celebrities also played a role to drag out gay culture to the public. The coming-out of an entertainer Hong Suk-chun and a movie director Kim Jho Gwangsoo made the issue more familiar to the public.

   Many parades are being held now in Korean society. From 2009, a gay parade called, “Daegu Queer Culture Festival”     is supported by a lot of public groups and unions. Moreover, Korea Queer Culture Festival is held every year since 2000. This year, it was located in Seoul Plaza, with permission from Seoul government.

   The Post tried to reach many homosexual groups in Korea, but the responds we could receive was “there were no volunteers to do this interview. I am very sorry but also thank you for having interest about the issue.”

   In the contemporary society, there are a lot of efforts being made to make homosexuality truly become as a part of society, not as some kind of deviation. The efforts have achieved quite a lot, including gay marriage legalization in several countries. It is obvious that homosexuality has existed all the time in human history. Activists say that all they wanted was understanding and acceptance, not special rights or positions or participation. However, the opponents still argue that they receive the sense of enforcement to understand homosexuality. The society still has numerous obstacles to get through. May be the real diversity is to balance out, not to take sides. Like Dr. Seuss said, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind do not matter and those who matter do not mind.”

Choi Young-eun  ye_1277@dongguk.edu

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