▲ Sim Ki-yong is a chairperson of QUD, a club for sexual minorities in Dongguk University.
Photograph by Lim Ji-soo
In society, sexual minorities tend to be discriminated against and get unfair treatment just because they are not heterosexual. In such situations, they form groups and try to keep their rights by organizing group activities like queer festivals. Likewise, there is a club for sexual minorities named QUD (Queer in Dongguk) in Dongguk Univerisy. It was approved to be one of the central clubs of the school on March 31st, 2016. Therefore, The Dongguk Post interviewed Sim Ki-yong, the chairperson of QUD.
Q. Good to meet you. Please introduce QUD to the readers.
A. QUD is a central club for sexual minorities in Dongguk University. It was made on February 22nd, 2016, combining two different clubs that existed separately because we felt a necessity to make a visible community for sexual minorities. There are about 70 members in QUD and we have a supporting group named GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) that is made up of about 150 members who do not want to join a community but do wish to support QUD. We are doing various activities to make friendship and protect human rights of sexual minorities.
Q. What activities are you organizing in QUD?
A. During the first semester of this year, we had mainly organized activities to make friendship among the members because we had to know about each other to proceed with the activities. Hence, we had regular get-togethers in order to have conversations with our members.
Thanks to the process, members could feel a sense of belonging in the club. We also did activities to protect human rights of sexual minorities. For instance, we asked the student council of certain majors for mediation regarding sexual violence that was related to one of the club members, and the case ended well. Moreover, the connections among clubs of various universities got stronger by the university sexual minorities’ unity “CUBE.” Accordingly, we will plan activities with other school clubs by holding press conferences and seminars.
Q. When did you feel most proud during club activities?
A. First of all, when people who have never experienced a sexual minorities’ community come to QUD and thank me for making a club, saying that the club was really necessary in their lives, I felt that it was a worthwhile decision to make QUD. In addition, by mediating problems regarding human rights successfully, we could show the members of the club that QUD is a trustworthy place and they are always welcomed to share their problems and ask for help. These are the moments I feel rewarded during club activities.
Q. What difficulties have you faced regarding the club?
A. We faced difficulties when preparing for the process to receive the approval as the central club. When we had to submit the name list of club members, we were not allowed to miss out any information. So we had to make contact with our acquaintances to gather 120 people to help us make the name list, and they all became GSA.
Also, we are struggling to cope with some people’s viewpoints. When we went to the Student Support Team to apply for hanging a banner regarding sexual minorities, I found the staff hesitating on how to deal with the matter and we had to contact the school later. In addition, I worry that the members of the club would have to reveal their identities although they do not want to. However, the atmosphere of Dongguk is relatively acceptable to the sexual minorities compared to other universities so there are not major discriminations from students and the school.
Q. What has been changed after being approved as a central club?
A. The most important change is that QUD has received public confidence and could become more influential when we organize the activities and inform people that this is a place for sexual minorities. In addition, we have become more accessible since our club became more visible. It was hard to find and join our community for sexual minorities, but after being approved as the central club, it became easier.
Q. Could you explain the future plans of QUD?
A. In the second semester this year, we will put more weight on activities related to human rights. Accordingly, we are planning for a queer parade in the form of a protest. In addition, there will be a forum about sexuality, collaborating with the General Student Council on November 12th. While holding these events, activities for friendship will be continued in various formats.
Our ultimate goal is to show our special perspectives about sexuality. We think every person is a sexual minority because we all have different sexual preferences if classified into small groups in microscopic standards, so each person’s sexuality should be respected.
Q. Is there any message that you would like to give to Donggukians?
A. I want Donggukians to recognize that there are sexual minorities around them and not to discriminate against just because they are not included in the same category. In addition, I want Donggukians to consider if they have restricted their preferences for that reason they think heterosexuality is the most desirable trait. Finally, I really want to ask people not to do an “outing,” which is revealing someone’s sexual identity to a third party without the relevant person’s permission.
Kim Min-ji firstname.lastname@example.org
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