Thousands take part in Seoul LGBT festival, protesters gather

SEOUL, July 16 (Reuters) – Thousands of South Koreans took part in an LGBT festival in downtown Seoul on Saturday, as Christian and conservative groups staged a protest rally across the road.

Dubbed Seoul Queer Culture Festival, around 13,000 people reportedly attended around 3 p.m. local time, Yonhap reported.

Attendees, some wearing rainbow masks and waving rainbow flags, visited some 72 booths set up by human rights groups, LGBT college clubs, embassies, organizations religious and progressive, participating in face painting or social media events.

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“I’m glad we can have a festival offline after a long time. LGBT people are not hateful people who appear one day a year, but people who live their daily lives in the same way,” said the ‘Hurricane Kimchi, a drag queen who attended the festival.

“The Queer Festival has grown and many LGBT people are showing up outright, as the perception in our society is improving.”

US Ambassador to South Korea Philip Goldberg attended the festival to show his support.

“To express America’s steadfast commitment to ending discrimination wherever it occurs and ensuring that everyone is treated with respect and humanity, we simply cannot leave any of you behind.” Goldberg told the crowd.

“We will fight with you for equality and human rights.”

Across from the festival, which was taking place at Seoul Plaza in front of City Hall, the protest rally had at least 15,000 participants, according to the Yonhap news agency.

“We are protesting and holding a national convention for our children’s healthy sexual ethics, and we are coming together to demand the smooth operation of Seoul Plaza, which is run with citizens’ taxes,” said Lee Yong-hee, an academic professor. and participating in the protest rally.

Police were on hand to guard against possible clashes.

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Reporting by Daewoung Kim and Yeni Seo; Additional reporting by Dogyun Kim and Heejung Jung; Written by Joyce Lee; Editing by William Mallard

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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