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:


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 »

LGBT forum in Korea faces resistance

Attempts to discuss Christian attitudes toward gay people at the World Council of Churches (WCC) meeting held in Busan were derailed by resistance to engaging with the issue, according to one of its key organizers on Tuesday. In a country where a number of protestant groups continue to be a source of high-volume bigotry, the… Read more »

Gay South Korean film director marries his partner in public

Seoul(Reuters) – Gay South Korean film director Kim Jho Gwang-soo symbolically married his long-term partner on Saturday, with the couple exchanging vows on a bridge, though same-sex marriage remains illegal in the conservative Asian country. Dressed in white, Kim and his partner of nine years, Kim Seung-hwan, staged an ceremony on a stage overlooking a… Read more »

South Korea easing homophobic views on news of gay ‘wedding’

South Korea appears to be becoming more accepting of gays following news that one of its movie directors is set to marry his boyfriend. The first time a South Korean celebrity announced he was gay, in 2000, the reaction was quick and without empathy. Popular actor and entertainer Hong Suk-chon was banished from television and… Read more »

Over hundred LGBT South Koreans and allies record video against gay hate

in Korea, Republic Of, Korean Gay Men’s Human Rights Group Chingusai organized the recording of You Make me Proud, a song created by Sydney Gay and Lesbian choir to mark IDAHO (International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia) in 2012. ‘[The song] conveys the conviction that, just as LGBT people affirm and recover their lives and… Read more »

Over hundred LGBT South Koreans and allies record video against gay hate

YouTube video released for IDAHO (International Day Against homophobia and transphobia) Over 100 South Korean LGBT people and allies star in a YouTube video in support of gay rights released this week (Monday 13 May). Korean Gay Men’s Human Rights Group Chingusai organized the recording of You Make me Proud, a song created by Sydney… Read more »

Landmark Trans Victory In Korea

in Korea, Republic Of, In South Korea five transgendered individuals won a landmark court case in Seoul to get officially gender recognized without the use of gender altering surgery. Korea Times reports that a court in Seoul has ruled that transgendered South Koreans can amend their gender on official documents without having to go through… Read more »

Gay South Korean film director to marry in bid to pry open closet

(Reuters) – A gay South Korean film director is set to symbolically marry his long-term partner, saying he aims to pry open the closet in this conservative Asian country where homosexuality is still taboo and gays have been subjected to hate crimes. Kim Jho Gwang-soo announced plans to marry his partner of nine years on… Read more »

South Korea: Court grants Ugandan lesbian refugee status after family killed due to her sexuality

A 27-year-old Ugandan woman has become the first person to be granted refugee status in South Korea due to their sexuality. The woman, who can not be named for legal reasons told a court that she feared for her life after her family members were killed by neighbours because she is a lesbian. The Korean… Read more »

Sex organ operation not vital to change gender

A Seoul court has Ruled that persons who undergo sex change operations can be recognized as the opposite without altering the sex organ for the first time in the country. According to a research organization specializing in sex change, a Seoul district court Ruled that while sex change operations involve the removal of wombs and… Read more »

Choe Seung-ja’s “Love in this Age”: Exploring a Modern Same-Sex Poet

At a time when media coverage of self-inflicted gun shots, hangings, and bridge-jumpings of bullied gay teens has sparked celebrity attention and Internet campaigns assuring suffering teens that “things will get better,” the “feelings”/emotional experiences of American LGBT teens have suddenly been brought into wider national consciousness. Fortunately, South Korea, at least until recently, has… Read more »

South Korea celebrates gay pride

This Saturday sees the 13th annual Korea Queer Love Festival in Seoul South Korea will celebrate gay pride on Saturday with the Korea Queer Love Festival (KQLF) in Hanbit Media Park in central Seoul. According to the website, this is the 13th KQLF in Seoul. Indicating the stigma around homosexuality in South Korea, people at… Read more »

“Homophobia, Transphobia is Violence”

in Korea, Republic Of, Today, May 17, is the day when the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of mental diseases. It is also the International Day Against Homophobia. Today, LGBT people living in many countries around the world come out to the streets and rallies to convey the message that homophobia is… Read more »

Seoul Student Rights Ordinance passes with sexual orientation, gender identity protections

The Seoul Student Rights Ordinance that contains sexual orientation and gender identity protections, which are strongly opposed by religious groups, was passed on Monday. The Seoul Student Rights Ordinance with all its sexual orientation and gender identity-related (SOGI) clauses has been passed by the Seoul Metropolitan Council with 54 votes in favour, 28 against, and… Read more »

Inside North Korea’s First Family

The bizarre family psychodrama at the heart of North Korea’s brutal government is entering a new chapter with the death of Kim Jong il and the succession of his youngest son. The question now for many Korea-watchers: Will the new, untested, twenty-something leader, Kim Jong-un, declared today as “the Great Successor,” face a threat from… Read more »

Gay S. Korean conscript wins refugee status in Canada

Seoul (Yonhap) – Canada awarded a South Korean man refugee status after he objected to the mandatory military service in his home country for being a pacifist and a homosexual, a local human rights group said Thursday. The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) granted the status in July 2009 to Kim Kyung-hwan, 31,… Read more »

Heart & Seoul

Twenty-four stories above Seoul, I drape my arms over the the vertical ledge of a swimming pool like no other. Enclosed by glass walls, blinded by city lights and foreign symbols, I descend into the latest feat of Korean modern design and slowly resurface, savoring my last moments at the Park Hyatt Seoul. It is… Read more »

Being gay in South Korea

Ten years ago, an actor named Hong Suk-chun became the first mainstream celebrity in South Korea to come out. At the time, many thought that Hong’s revelation might usher in a new era of openness about sexuality in the traditionally conservative country. That hasn’t happened. It’s still very difficult to be gay in South Korea… Read more »

South Korea: online haven for gays

Seoul, South Korea — When Suh Eun-pil was being harassed at school last year because of rumors he was gay, the internet was one of the few places he felt safe. One website in particular, called Rateen, provided a haven from critical eyes and verbal abuse. Suh began visiting Rateen regularly, and six months later… Read more »

Gay South Korea News & Reports 2008-11

1 Seoul Policeman Comes Out, Fights Prejudice 1/08 2 South Korea Sees First Openly Gay Politician 3/08 3 Seoul’s spring forecast: More visibility for Korea’s queers 6/08 4 Gay Actor Found Dead in Apparent Suicide 10/08 5 South Korea asks court to retain ban on gays in the military 11/08 6 South Korea challenged over… Read more »