Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Gay Politicians in South Korea

Here's the question:

I started wondering what the political atmosphere in Korea is concerning gay rights. As I'm sure you know already, it is a really touchy issue here in the US of A and political candidates stance on that one thing can make or break them at the polls. So my question is: does such a political stigma exist in Korea similar to how it does in the US? If so, what happens when the political discussion shifts into that issue?

From all of your responses so far [on LGBT issues], it seems that Korea is in a bit of denial when it comes to anything gay. I might be right to guess that they don't even mention it in politics? If so, are there any "rabble rouser" politicians who are making a mark in that respect?

I'm certainly getting a lot of questions about the LGBT community in Korea and honestly, while I was aware of some facets of it, I didn't know nearly as much as I do now. For that, I say thanks.

When considering South Korean politics, you must throw out many of the highly emotional issues in America. Korea has their own set of highly emotional issues and, although there are a few that overlap, many do not. Korea has dealt with same-sex marriage and like many US states, the court refused to recognize such unions.

In 2004, the left-wing or Democratic Party in Korea (민주당) has advocated for equal rights and even ran on a similar platform picking up a few seats in parliament, but there has yet to be a single successful openly-gay candidate to win an election. That's not to say that some politicians are concerned about equality for all citizens, it's just that timing is everything in politics and considering that current President Lee Myung-bak called homosexuality "abnormal", it's safe to say that right now, LGBT rights are not at the top of the list.

If anybody has any questions, just send me an email at or leave a comment.

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