Asia » Korea-South
Gay Guide Korea-South
The age of consent for all is 14 years. Although homosexual acts are legal, they are punishable by imprisonment in the independent Military Penal Code, which only applies to South Korean military personnel. According to a 2004 ruling, same-sex marriages are not recognised "socially and culturally". Although there is a small bar and disco scene for gays and lesbians in the capital Seoul and in the port city Busan, homosexuality is socially rejected. This can lead to expulsion from school or the loss of a job. In textbooks, homosexuality is not mentioned at all or only discriminatory. Especially within the families, homosexuality is considered a catastrophe. When a well-known TV presenter outed himself in 2003, there was still great indignation in society. Gay Koreans therefore prefer to hide their sexuality. "Holding hands" among men is common between friends and shouldn't be misunderstood as a gay gesture. In December 2006, South Korea was one of 54 states to support a UN resolution against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Under pressure from conservative Christian groups, the government has once again removed the features "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" from the planned anti-discrimination law. A further seven features (such as "nationality" and "mother tongue") were also removed. In the summer of 2007, the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) launched a major campaign and tried to position South Korea as a "must-see" destination in East Asia. The second edition of the English-language gay and lesbian travel guide "Utopia-Guide" was published at the same time. Homosexual travellers are a target group for the commercial side of tourism, but the local gays and lesbians can hardly count on respect, let alone rights, in the near future. But there is hope in form of the younger Koreans as the acceptance of LGBT differs very strongly in the different age groups. According to a survey in 2013, a large majority of 71% of 18-29 year olds support a stronger acceptance of LGBT in society. Only 19% of Koreans over the age of 50 support LGBT as well. While in 2016 "only" 50,000 people took part in the Pride in Seoul, by 2018 there were 120,000 participants. Prides are also held in other South Korean cities.
Cities in Korea-South
Location: Eastern Asia
International country code: 82 (omit 0 from area codes)
International access code: 001 or 002
Currency: 1 Won (W) = 100 Chon
Religions: 18% Protestants, 23% Buddhist, 40-50% no confession
Climate: Moderate climate with heavier rainfall in the summer than in winter.
Important gay cities: Seoul
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