South Korea, Asia

Korea (north and south) is one of the oldest civilizations in the world. Seoul, the capital of South Korea, is a major global city and a leading international financial center in Asia, and is the second largest metropolitan city in the world. Following the Korean War, the South Korean economy grew significantly, transforming the country into a major economic power and one of the wealthiest countries in Asia. It is a developed country with a high standard of living.

Homosexuality in South Korea is not specifically mentioned in either the South Korean Constitution or in the Civil Penal Code. Article 92 of the Military Penal Code, however, singles out sexual relations between members of the same sex as "sexual harassment", hence punishable by a maximum of one year servitude. See gay rights in South Korea.


News & Reports:


Gay Sex Ban in Military Upheld by South Korean Court

In the past, the law has been used to arrest dozens of people in what critics have called a “gay witch-hunt.” Seoul, South Korea (CNN) — South Korea’s Constitutional Court has upheld a law banning same-sex relations in the military, citing a threat to combat-readiness, in a judgment decried by the local LGBTQ community as… Read more »

Gay Sex Ban in Military Upheld by South Korean Court

In the past, the law has been used to arrest dozens of people in what critics have called a “gay witch-hunt.” Seoul, South Korea (CNN) — South Korea’s Constitutional Court has upheld a law banning same-sex relations in the military, citing a threat to combat-readiness, in a judgment decried by the local LGBTQ community as… Read more »

South Korea’s supreme court rules on legal transgender recognition

In a victory for LGBTQ rights, South Korea’s supreme court ruled that transgender people have the right to change their legal sex status, regardless of whether they have underage children. Click link for audio TranscriptA Martinez, Host:South Korea has been a democracy for more than three decades. Now, despite this, some minorities, including sexual minorities,… Read more »

South Korea’s supreme court rules on legal transgender recognition

In a victory for LGBTQ rights, South Korea’s supreme court ruled that transgender people have the right to change their legal sex status, regardless of whether they have underage children. A Martinez, Host: South Korea has been a democracy for more than three decades. Now, despite this, some minorities, including sexual minorities, are still battling… Read more »

South Korea says consensual sex act between male soldiers ‘bordered on rape’

Activists decry discrimination as court finds men guilty of indecency and hands down a six-month suspended sentence A South Korean military court has been accused of discriminating against sexual minorities after it found two male soldiers guilty of indecency for engaging in consensual oral sex. The ruling, which took place in March but emerged last… Read more »

Transgender Character In ‘Itaewon Class’ Reflects Changing Attitudes In South Korea

Over the last two decades Korean dramas have become more open to exploring LGBTQ issues. Gay characters—or characters people assumed were gay—have appeared in several TV dramas, with Gong Yoo falling for a girl disguised as a boy in Coffee Prince (2007), Lee Min-ho, playing a supposedly gay character in Personal Taste (2008), Lee Jong-suk… Read more »

In the camp world of K-pop, it’s hard for stars to be gay

On a brightly lit stage, two male K-pop stars with glowing skin and perfectly coiffed hair are nibbling either end of the same long, chocolate stick. As the stick gets smaller and smaller, they get closer and closer – and eventually a fellow K-pop idol pulls them into a kiss. In South Korea’s glitzy, highly… Read more »

Police give South Korea pride parade green light

But, anti-LGBT Christians are expected to disrupt the parade later this week Police in South Korea’s Daegu city have granted permission for a pride event scheduled for Saturday (29 June) to take place. It comes as mainly Christian, conservative anti-LGBT groups continue to disrupt pride events throughout the country. Police on Monday (24 June) said… Read more »

Seoul Queer Culture Festival kicks off in South Korea

Counter-protests from Christian groups take place next to the capital’s premier LGBTI rights event The first day of the Seoul Queer Culture Festival (SQCF) has kicked off in South Korea’s capital on Saturday (1 June). The weekend-long festival will mark the 20th iteration of Seoul’s biggest LGBTI rights event. It follows on from Seoul Pink… Read more »

Survey finds 45% believe same-sex marriage inevtiable in Asia-Pacific

And, three-quarters of respondents report improving LGBT rights in their region A survey by the Economist found 45% of respondents in the Asia-Pacific believe same-sex marriage is inevitable in the region. But, 31% of respondents disagreed that same-sex marriage is inevitable. Meanwhile, three-quarters of those surveyed reported a more open climate for LGBT rights compared… Read more »

Court rejects bid to stop South Korea pride

But, homophobic Christian protestors are setting up a counter-demonstration next to the Seoul Queer Culture Festival taking place this weekend A court in the capital of South Korea, Seoul on Thursday (30 May) rejected an application by conservative Christian groups to stop the annual LGBTI pride event this weekend. Anti-LGBTI groups had argued the 20th… Read more »

Secrets and crimes: Gay South Korean soldiers trapped in legal bind

Seoul: Productive and driven, he was a model army officer, but he had a secret: He was in a gay sexual relationship with a fellow soldier – a crime under South Korea’s military law. He kept his sexuality hidden from everyone, including friends and family, only meeting his lover off-base and after work. Same-sex acts… Read more »

South Korea’s witch hunt for homosexuals in the military has restarted

Three men serving in the navy are being investigated for engaging in homosexual acts South Korea’s military has resumed its hunt for homosexual servicemen, according to the country’s Military Human Rights Center. Three men serving in the navy are under investigation for engaging in homosexual acts. They face two years in prison under South Korea’s… Read more »

Pride organizers in South Korea urge police to protect their rights

Seoul’s 20th Queer Culture Festival will kick off in May amid rising violence from conservative Christian groups Organizers of the largest LGBTI pride event in South Korea urged the government not to give in to conservative groups and protect attendees. The 20th Queer Culture Festival will take place in May, including a parade on June… Read more »

South Koreans opposing gay rights are less than 50% for the first time

And more people identify as liberals than ever before The portion of South Koreans opposing LGBTI rights has decreased, dipping below 50% for the first time in history. A 2018 report suggests 49% of South Koreans said that they cannot accept homosexuals. The number has decreased from 57.2% tallied in 2017, according to the Korea… Read more »

South Korea slipping on LGBTI rights, activists warn

In the last year, conservative groups have violently protested a number of LGBTI pride events South Korea’s fledging LGBTI movement has triggered a conservative backlash, Human Rights Watch (HRW) warned this week. In it’s 2019 world report, HRW said leaders had done little to protect the rights of LGBTI people in South Korea. The rights… Read more »

It took thousands of police to keep this South Korea pride parade violence-free

Recent pride events in South Korea’s cities have been violently disrupted by conservative Christian protestors A pride festival and parade in South Korea’s Busan went ahead without major disruption from conservative protestors on Saturday (13 October). Some 2,000 police kept the event’s 15,000 attendees safe, according to organizer Minsoo Kim. It comes after similar events… Read more »

LGBTI South Koreans back on streets to protest violence at Incheon pride

Police and protesters appeared to outnumber attendees of LGBTI rally to speak out against hate More than 100 LGBTI rights advocates rallied in South Korea’s port city Incheon on Wednesday (3 October). They were demonstrating against violence from conservative protesters and police inaction at the first Incheon Queer Culture Festival on 8 September. The Open… Read more »

Over 210,000 sign petition against South Korean gay pride festival

More than 210,000 people have signed a petition on the web site of the South Korean president’s office demanding that an “abominable” gay pride festival scheduled to take place in central Seoul this weekend be cancelled. The three-day Seoul Queer Culture Festival is marking its 19th anniversary this year and will include art exhibitions and… Read more »

Dozens arrested as South Korean military conducts ‘gay witch-hunt’

Seoul (CNN) – “Sergeant A” doesn’t want to give his real name, his exact rank or show his face. Speaking to CNN, he said he was afraid the South Korean military would find out he was talking to the media. He faces charges for having sexual relations with another man, a crime within the South… Read more »

A South Korean soldier has been convicted for being gay

A soldier in South Korea has been handed a prison sentence for being gay. The soldier has received a suspended sentence for a year, after he was convicted for having sex with another male soldier. According to reports on the Yonhap News Agency, the sex was in a private residence and consensual. “It is a… Read more »

One of the most powerful countries in the world has elected an anti-gay president

One of the most powerful countries in the world has reportedly elected a man who says he opposes homosexuality to be president. Voters in South Korea, the eleventh richest nation on earth, have seemingly handed a sizeable victory to Moon Jae-in, a former human rights lawyer. Exit polls conducted jointly by three TV stations have… Read more »

South Korea Military Is Accused of Cracking Down on Gay Soldiers

Seoul, South Korea — At a time when South Korea is struggling to deter North Korea’s nuclear threats, human rights advocates say its military is targeting gay soldiers in its ranks. In recent weeks, the army has focused on dozens of those soldiers in what rights groups say is a campaign against gay men in… Read more »

After sex video, S. Korea accused of targeting gay soldiers

Seoul, South Korea — A watchdog group says South Korea’s army is hunting down and prosecuting gay servicemen after a video of two male soldiers having sex was posted on the internet earlier this year, stoking fear in an already persecuted minority group. Military investigators looking into the case have threatened soldiers to out their… Read more »

Korean lesbian thriller breaks box office records

Lesbian Korean thriller ‘The Handmaiden’ has broken South Korea’s box office records. 1.8 million people flocked to cinemas to see the R-rated film, directed by Park Chan-Wook, in just one week. This beats ‘Deadpool’, which previously held the record for the biggest audience, with 1.7 million people seeing it over the same period. 2015 film,… Read more »

South Korea fails to recognise same-sex marriage

A lawsuit filed by a prominent South Korean couple has been dismissed by authorities. A lawsuit filed by a prominent gay film director and his partner seeking legal status for their same-sex marriage was rejected by a South Korean district court yesterday in the first case of its kind. Movie director Kim Jho Gwang-Soo and… Read more »

Meet the man who escaped North Korea, learned what homosexuality is, and came out as gay

A gay defector from North Korea has revealed he had no idea what homosexuality was until he left the country. The reclusive Asian country is renowned for its secrecy, warmongering, and the oppressive rule of the Kim dynasty, currently headed by 33-year-old Kim Jong-un, who claims to have cured AIDS and hangovers. Given the country’s… Read more »

South Korean university elects openly gay student president

Activists hope student victory is a sign of change in South Korea as LGBT rights become a more prominent issue in the country. South Korea’s top university, Seoul National University, has elected 23-year-old Kim Bo-mi as president of the student body. Kim identifies as a lesbian. The results of the elections on Thursday make Kim… Read more »

The problem with being gay in South Korea

Seoul, South Korea (CNN) Micky Kim remembers the day two years ago when he married Tony Ruse in California. “All the people from City Hall suddenly came out and congratulated us,” he recalls. “People who I don’t know are congratulating our marriage. But in (South) Korea, no-one even knows my marriage and I couldn’t even… Read more »

Gay couple sue for recognition in South Korea

Famous gay couple in socially conservative South Korea suing officials for refusing to recognize their 2013 same-sex marriage. Buoyed by the landmark US Supreme Court ruling a celebrity couple, Kim Jho Gwang-Soo (a rare openly gay celebrity) and his partner Kim Seung-Hwan, fought for legitimacy on Monday when they took their case to the district… Read more »

Gay Pride In Korea Faces Christian Wrath As Seen At Rally In Seoul

Gay pride faced Christian outrage in central Seoul in a showdown that dramatized the conflict between Korea’s deeply conservative values and the country’s latter-day surge toward democratic equality. Advocates and foes of gay rights clashed after a gay pride rally on the grassy plaza in front of Seoul City Hall that drew several thousand people… Read more »

Seoul gay pride organisers vow to defy police ban

Organisers of South Korea’s annual gay pride festival vowed on Thursday to push ahead with a planned parade in downtown Seoul, despite a police ban and protests from conservative Christian groups. More than 20,000 people had been expected to take part in the street parade on June 28 at the end of the Korea Queer… Read more »

South Korean teachers banned from talking about LGBT issues

New sex education guidelines outlaw teaching about sexual minorities. The guidelines, issued to schools and teachers this week state that “sex education is not intended to be an opportunity for teachers to share their views on sexuality” and “teaching about homosexuality is not permitted.” It also orders teachers to remove any references to LGBT issues… Read more »

South Korea: LGBT protesters occupy Seoul City Hall after rights charter axed

A group of protesters have staged a sit-in at Seoul City Hall, after the government dropped plans for a human rights charter which banned discrimination against gays. The Seoul Metropolitan Government had been due to enact a charter next week, on December 10 – Human Rights Day – which included the right “not to be… Read more »

Korea University’s student council bans anti-gay discrimination

Korea University’s student council has revised its rules to ban discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The move Oct 22 came as a response to a series of homophobic incidents such as when this year, a school club welcoming new students who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender had its poster… Read more »

US, French German embassies take part in Korea Queer Cultural Festival

Seoul: Foreign diplomatic missions have for the first time participated in the annual Korea Queer Cultural Festival to demonstrate support that their countries have for the LGBT community in South Korea. “Our presence (at the Korea Queer Cultural Festival) is one way we can encourage progress on LGBT issues,” Markus Hatzelmann, first secretary at the… Read more »

South Korea’s LGBT Community Is Fighting for Equal Rights

One prominent couple’s effort to get same-sex marriage recognized is helping to raise awareness in a mostly conservative country Last September, two men held South Korea‘s first same-sex wedding on a bridge in Seoul, to the applause of hundreds of guests and the soaring voices of a choir. The ceremony carried no legal weight —… Read more »

Creating a safe space for queer youngsters

[Letter to the editor]  South Korea has one of the highest rates of suicide among developed (OECD) countries, reaching 28.4 per 100,000 people in 2011; the rate of teenager suicides was 9.4, also among the highest. Hidden among these tragedies are Korean LGBQT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer, Transgender), whose sexuality is often condemned by our… Read more »

Korean star supporting trans student faces vile attacks

Jonghyun’s display of solidarity with a transgender student drives a conservative group to post nude photos on fan sites A week ago, Jonghyun of South Korea’s leading boy band SHINee switched his Twitter profile picture to the image of a hand-written poster. The poster was written by Kang Eun Ha, a trans student studying social… Read more »

South Korea court overturns adults-only rating for gay kiss film

South Korea’s Supreme Court has deemed a gay romance film fit for people 15-and-over, overturning a Korea Media Rating Board decision that it was not fit for teenagers of any age to watch South Korean filmmaker Kim Jho Kwang-soo has won a four year battle with the Korea Media Rating Board to have an adults-only… Read more »