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Anti-LGBTQ sentiment widespread in Korea: survey

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People who oppose discrimination against sexual minorities march with their advocacy groups' flags by the Presidential Office in Yongsan District, Seoul, May 14, to mark the International Day of Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia which falls on Tuesday this year. Courtesy of Dawoom
People who oppose discrimination against sexual minorities march with their advocacy groups' flags by the Presidential Office in Yongsan District, Seoul, May 14, to mark the International Day of Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia which falls on Tuesday this year. Courtesy of Dawoom

By Lee Hae-rin

Korea is a hostile place for 97 percent of sexual minorities, according to a recent report by a human rights organization.

Dawoom, an LGBTQ advocacy group, conducted a survey of 3,911 people aged between 19 and 34 identifying as sexual minorities from Aug. 11 to Sept. 7 last year. Sexual minorities are groups whose sexual identities, orientations or practices are different from those of the majority of society.

The group released the report on the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, which fell on Tuesday this year.

Over nine out of every 10 LGBTQ people ― 97 percent ― responded that "Korea is not a good country for sexual minorities to live in," because they suffer from discrimination and hatred ― and what's worse is that state institutions also contribute to spreading the hate.

The authorities that are hostile to sexual minorities include the military (91.4 percent), the National Assembly (89.0 percent), the government (88.4 percent), the judiciary (82.4 percent) and police (82.3 percent). Korea's two main political parties, the ruling People Power Party and the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea (DPK), were judged hostile to sexual minorities by 83.1 percent and 71.9 percent of those surveyed, respectively.

According to the report, 41.5 percent of respondents have contemplated suicide, while 8.2 percent have actually attempted it. Nearly half of the respondents have reported symptoms of depression, while 37.6 percent have sought out mental health services in the past year.

One out of every 10 respondents has never come out ― or revealed their sexuality ― to their acquaintances, and 61.6 percent of working participants said they want a LGBTQ-friendly working environment where they can feel safe to come out.

The respondents said that the most important and urgent policy measures to enhance LGBTQ rights are the passage of anti-discrimination laws, and the legalization of same-sex marriage.



Lee Hae-rin lhr@koreatimes.co.kr


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