PHOTOS: Protesters Tried To Halt The Seoul Gay Pride Parade March. Guess Who Won The Day.


In some cities showing your pride remains dangerous, and for Seoul, South Korea–where discrimination is rampant–it isn’t about the circuit parties or swimming pools filled with shirtless hotties. The 15th annual Korea Queer Culture Parade really was all about the festival’s official slogan of “Love Conquers Hate.”


The event has gained momentum each year since its inception in 2000. It began with 50 brave people, who marched through the streets of Daehangno, most of whom wore masks or bags over their heads to conceal their identities. Last year, it hit 10,000. This year, the festival was attended by 20,000.

During the week leading up to the Pride parade, rumors circulated regarding cancellations and the legality of the event. Several media outlets even reported the parade wouldn’t take place. Organizers were determined to make it come to fruition despite efforts to shut it down.


Parade day arrived and protesters and supporters alike filled the intersection outside Sinchon Station. Protesters maintained a discernible presence in the crowd, armed with amplification systems and an array of antigay chants and signs. A parade member (pictured below) tried to drown out a protester’s megaphone with bagpipes.


Only minutes after the parade began it was forced to stop due to a sit-in organized by Christian protesters. The parade members marched on as the procession unexpectedly transformed into a walking tour of stopped floats until bottlenecking at the standoff with the protesters.


Despite efforts by police to clear the protestors, their numbers continued to multiply and the officers’ concerns shifted to maintaining the peace between the two groups rather than allowing the parade to continue.


After a four-hour standoff, members of the parade began to turn around and return to the main stage, and the floats soon followed. The protestors briefly reveled in what seemed a victory, as all now sat and sang the Korean national anthem.


Determined to finish the parade route, the members of the Church Bitches float led the crowd on an alternate, unplanned route that circumvented the protestors. A crowd of thousands followed and the marchers were victorious.


Despite exhibiting one of the largest worldwide shifts toward acceptance of same-sex relationships, the vast majority of Koreans still reject homosexuality and its LGBT members remain largely closeted. Until 2010, the festival employed a “no photo” sticker system in which photographers weren’t allowed to photograph anyone wearing the sticker. Due to the brave people who came out to march, giant steps toward visibility and equality are being made.


The author, Samuel Murray, is an English teacher and writer currently living in South Korea. He is honored to have been part of the pride parade in Seoul this year, his first as an open member of the LGBT community.


  • Jonty Coppersmith

    I don’t think the word “condones” means what the writer seems to think it does. Apparently the word he was grasping for is “condemns.” That caused me a brief moment of confusion, but otherwise this was an interesting story with a great outcome.

  • Jack Spratt

    The Confucian Christians in Korea will not stop ranting and hating on LGBTs until some kind of anti-discrimination law enlightens them. There is no one more ignorant and bull-headed than a Korean nationalist Confucian Christian. When they were proudly crowing the national anthem it was like North Koreans cheering the Great Leader. All the same nationalist crap.

  • Ari

    Wow I’m sad that I missed this

  • Hata H. Zappah

    These kinds of outbursts by anti-gay haters remind me of what African Americans had to deal with at the hands of white law enforcement when they marched from Selma to Montgomery. Stand strong, marchers, and let every speck of attention you get from haters be transformed into love.

  • mtrav

    what the hell is a confucian christian?

  • Dick Leigh

    Parents are like god, and the Bible IS God.

  • Jorge Cruz

    What is ridiculous is that they suffered their own discrimination in Korea and were ridiculed, banned, murdered all for their religion. Why is it that groups that were persecuted forget what it means to accept others once they gain acceptance?

  • Gaybygod

    They promote discrimination, condemnation, crucifixion and hate. All in God’s name. They have no idea God created THEIR LGBT children, family and friends. What one sows, so shall they reap. They are presently reaping. Pray that their narrow minded souls, make the connection.

  • billdrayton

    Bigotry is a lost cause. It has a poison from within which kills. By the way, I was recently at a religious venue (stupidly! should have known better!), and met an “American missionary” (the most dangerous kind of bigot!). When I told her I was gay, she said it was ok, so long I wasn’t practising (!!!!!!!). I should have quipped: “Well, my dear lady (and I use that term advisedly), it is said that practice makes perfect, doesn’t it!” I know that reply would have been a bit facetious and near the bone, but so what! As it happened, I told her I saw no reason for continuing our “chat” and walked away.

  • LarryChemEngr

    I lived in Korea for a year. The dominant straight culture is unbelievably sexist. In general terms, guys were expected to be virgins until finding another virgin to marry, have a few babies, and then have a series of mistresses for the rest of their lives. No extra-marital flings for the girls, however, who had to stay home with the babies and take care of the household. There was a huge industry of bar girls to provide mistress services to the guys.

    I was 32 at the time and unmarried, of course. Although partnered, I was not out at work. In Korea, I had the following conversation umpteen times on first meeting a Korean person:

    Me: “Hello, my name is Larry”
    Them: “Hello, Larry, my name is Kxxx. Where is your wife?”
    Me: ” I am not married”
    Them: “Excuse me, how old are you?”
    Me: “32”

  • cynic

    at the end of the day, we’ll all burn in hell.

    but who would you think would be more damaged?
    us? the ones who’s true to their nature and fought for it
    or them? hypocritical purists who chose to be blinded by prejudice

    they will be anguished, humiliated, confused, and full of regrets.

    i can’t wait to see that day fulfilled.
    even if it would cost me the same amount of pain and suffering, it would be alleviated by their tormented screams.

  • Ari Ola

    Where was Girls Generation tho?

  • Seriously Spain

    Always just blows my mind that these so-called ‘Christians’ are some of the most hateful people on the planet. And good for the participants in the gay pride parade not backing down!