Daegu Queer Culture Festival: Contentious Remark of Mayor Hong Joon-pyo
On June 17th, an unprecedented situation occurred at the Daegu Queer Culture Festival held in the district of Jung-gu, Daegu, where about 500 police and government officials had an unforeseen conflict. Prior to the festival, public officials attempted to enforce administrative vicarious execution claiming the festival was not permitted to occupy the road. Hong Joon-pyo, the mayor of Daegu, strongly disapproved the festival on his social media on the same day, asking, "is the right of sexual minorities – composed of less than 1% (of the population) – more important than the right of the majority?"
We can point out several issues in Hong Joon Pyo’s remarks. First of all, the festival was a duly reported "legitimate" event. According to Article 74 of the Road Act, administrative vicarious execution is applicable only when "the road is occupied repeatedly and habitually, or it is necessary to take legal action to ensure road traffic and safety,” and this does not apply to Daegu’s queer festival. (Hankyore)
Second, stating that “the rights and interests of the 99% sexual majority is also important" obscures the nature of the festival. What would be the reason for discussing the rights and interests of the 99% of majority while the festival was held to celebrate the pride and demand equality of sexual minorities? Furthermore, sexual majority are always privileged in their daily lives. No matter how sexual minority human rights are developing, same-sex marriage is not yet possible in Korea, and sexual minorities always face prejudice in society. Hong Joon Pyo will have to explain how the "legally-held” queer festival, which was held for a day, would damage the rights and interests of the majority in South Korean society, where the majority benefit.
Above all, even if the sexual minority population of Korea is barely 1%, they should also be respected as Korean citizens. In a democratic country where people's freedom and equality is guaranteed, public hatred for sexual minorities is absurd.
We often regard the struggle of sexual minorities as "a far-off story that is unrelated to an individual," but sexual minorities exist in various forms in all places. Until the day all individuals are respected regardless of their sexuality, sexual minorities will vigorously fight for freedom and equality.