The 17th Queer Culture Festival
starts on June 11th, 2016 at Seoul City Hall Plaza
-The festival begins with the Queer Parade on June 11th until the closing ceremony of the Korea Queer Film Festival(KQFF) on June 19th
-The slogan is ‘QUEER I AM’, signifying the respect for the existence of queers while combating discrimination and hatred
-The festival expects 65,000 participants, the largest number of participants ever, with the aim to hold a safe and peaceful festival without hatred
This year we can once again spot a ‘rainbow’ at the center of Seoul. The Queer Culture Festival, the biggest cultural event for queer people in South Korea, will begin at Seoul City Hall Plaza this upcoming June.
The Korea Queer Culture Festival Organization Committee (Myeoung-Jin KANG, Chairperson of the Organizing Committee as noted below) announced that the 17th Queer Culture Festival will be held for 9 days, starting with the Queer Parade at Seoul City Hall Plaza on June 11th.
The Korea Queer Culture Festival is an annual event that LGBTIQ+- identified Koreans and foreign people in Korea, along with their citizen allies that support the rights of sexual minorities, can enjoy by supporting each other while raising their self-esteem and pride. The celebration of pride, however, is not solely a Korean phenomenon; it is in fact a series of global events held every year in June, to which an abundance of major cities all over the world play host. The queer festivals come in a variety of names and programs, for example “NYC Pride” in the US, “Pride in London” in the UK, “Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras” in Australia, “Tokyo Rainbow Pride” in Japan, “Shanghai Pride” in China, and “Pink Dot SG” in Singapore.
The 17th Queer Cultural Festival, with the Seoul Queer Parade, the KQCF Main Party, and the Korea Queer Film Festival all pillars to the festival’s framework, plans to showcase the variety of queer culture in Korea. The kickoff for the festival is the Seoul Queer Parade, scheduled for June 11th at Seoul City Hall Plaza. Consisting of stage performances, themed booths, and a street march, the Seoul Queer Parade was first held at Seoul City Hall Plaza last year, gathering a crowd of 30,000 people, the largest parade to date. Embassies from thirteen countries, including the U.S., France, Germany, and the European Union, as well as global corporations, such as Google Korea and American Apparel, endorsed the festival by participating.
The Queer Culture Festival’s Main Party—the theme of this year’s party is “Private Beach”—will be held on the day of the festival, from the evening of the 11th to early hours of the 12th. The Queer Film Festival, a cinematic dialogue of queer life, will take place at prominent theaters around Seoul over the course of four days, from June 16th to the 19th. In addition to the main events, there will be an assortment of exhibits, performances, and talk shows open to all who wish to participate during the length of the festival. The festival, which saw a stunning number of participats last year (50,000), expects an increase to 65,000 participants this year.
On April 7th, the Organizing Committee announced “QUEER I AM, Fight for our existence!” as its slogan for this year’s festival. The Committee explained that the slogan was a statement of dignity that both counters the homophobia and discrimination enacted against the LGBTQ+ community and expands upon the point that “We queers nonetheless exist, and we must all be respected for the basic fact of our existence.” The slogan also addresses our willpower to “FIGHT” the homophobic groups centered on conservative Christian influence and not succumb to their hatred, discrimination, and violence.
KQCF Chairperson Myeongjin Kang stated that “The Queer Cultural Festival is a democratic cultural event that initiates an opportunity for sexual minorities to reveal themselves as they truly are, hence taking a further step of maturity towards a civil society respectful of differences and accepting of diversity,” adding that the “already homophobic forces are rising to the occasion, attempting to illegally thwart the festival, and so we look to the government and the police for cooperation in holding a safe and peaceful festival.”