Did you know that the Queer Festival is celebrating its 19th anniversary in Korea? The Queer Festival is not a familiar concept in Korea yet, but it is widely celebrated and many people participate in Europe. ST discusses the Queer Festival in Korea............. Ed
Queer. The dictionary defines queer as “an umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities who are not heterosexual or cisgender.” With the widespread social interest in human rights around the world, social movements on queer people are also increasing. Have you ever heard of the Queer Festival? Among the different queer activities, ST will introduce the most famous one, the Queer Festival.
Globally, the Queer Festival is perceived as a festival that everyone can freely enjoy, just like a normal festival. However, in Korea, this general perception is not fully established. The Queer Festival helps people who support queer rights to affirm their sexual identity and increase their self-esteem. It was first held in one venue in 2000. Now, it has become a grand festival in seven different locations in Korea. Including the Seoul Queer Festival, which was held last July, a total of 19 Queer Festivals have beenheld in the country.
The Queer Festival consists of parades, film festivals, booths, exhibitions, and
many other discussion activities. Among them, the parades are part of the main
section of the Queer Festival. In the Queer Parade, social minorities, such as
homosexuals, bisexuals, and transgenders, march confidently throughout the center
of the city. The parade is not just for the queer. People who stand for the queer can
also participate. People who are marching together often hold the rainbow flag, the
symbol of the queer, while police stand by them for safety from “haters,” the anti-
queer forces. Other than marching, many exhibitions and celebrations are also held
during the parade. Then, there is a large-scale film festival supported by many booths. According to the 2018 Seoul Queer Festival, about 100 booths were set up, while 72 movies from 24 countries were screened at the film festival.
However, there are people who have negative views on the Queer Festival. “Haters,” or anti-queer forces, insist that inappropriatecostumes, exposure, and expressions of affection between same sexes are very sexually and socially immoral, criticizing them as “actsthat make people uncomfortable.” There have been physical violence issues against people attending the festival, and many harshattacks still occur beyond the control of the police.
The Queer Festival, which has been held annually since 2000, is on its 19th year. As social interest toward human rights expands, we need to know the exact information on queer festivals, including how they are done, and what they are for. We look forward to the future of the Queer Festival in Korea, and wish everyone would know the true meaning of the festival so that it can be fullyrecognized as a mainstream event.