All posts filed under: LGBTAIQ+

The legacy of Kim Bo-mi, South Korea’s first openly lesbian student president

  Interview with Kim Bomi, 26 December 2015 Video from HuffPost Korea This is a follow-up post to my previous post on Kim Bo-mi’s election at Seoul National University (November 2015). Kim, the first openly lesbian student president at Seoul National University and in the country, discusses her coming out prior to launching campaign activities as both a symbol of resistance towards the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” atmosphere in South Korean society as well as to be true to herself. Her primary concern before making the decision to come out to the public was on how her family would be impacted by her decision, since everyone, not just her friends and family, would be able to know that she was lesbian. But in the end, Kim decided that it was worth taking the risk. She hoped that her example would encourage those who wanted to be true to themselves, while acknowledging that those who chose to keep their private lives private should have the right to do so – and it seems that she has …

Seoul National University Elects Country’s First-Ever Openly Lesbian Student President

Kim Bomi with HankyorehTV (23 November 2015) Seoul National University (SNU), the mecca of Korean higher education and a source of admiration/grief for many high school students, has been home to QIS (Queen in SNU) since 1995. Their website has a roughly translated English version, and is mobile-friendly. Kim Bo-mi, a 22-year old at the Department of Consumer Science, ran unopposed and was elected with 86.8% of votes on a turnout of 53.3%. Kim has previously served as Vice-President of the Student Council (VP). She came out four days before the voting period (16th- 19th November), to much press coverage and public appraisal.  She and incoming VP Kim Min-seok (Dept. of Political Science and International Relations) campaigned for the following items To ban human rights violations, i.e. sexual assault and harassment To ban Protestant organisations from evangelising inside the campus To promote basic civic knowledge, i.e. CPR To recognise male students’ absences caused by army drills as justifiable Kim Bo-mi campaigned this August and September for the dismissal of two SNU professor accused of inflicting sexual violence on …

Korean Dictionary Reverts to Homophobic State

The 1999 Edition of Standard Korean Unabridged Dictionary, published by NIKL Image source: Emily Singh In November 2012, the Standard Korean Unabridged Dictionary, published by the National Institute of Korean Language(NIKL), re-defined five words: 사랑 (love) 애정 (love) 연애 (dating, courtship) 연인 (meaning ‘boyfriend’ or ‘girlfriend’ without referring to specific gender) 애인 (meaning ‘lover’ without referring to specific gender) All five words were changed to gender-neutral definitions. For instance, ‘love’ was re-defined from a feeling of attraction towards a member of the opposite sex to a feeling of attraction between two people. Likewise, lover was redefined as two people who are attracted to each other, as opposed to a female and male person who are attracted to each other. Many members of the LGBT community rejoiced at this small change, which would allow them to talk about themselves and their feelings free from heterosexuality-based words. However, barely a year later, in January 2014, Christian advocacy groups (technically, Protestant) lobbied into reverting these newly defined words to their original state. Such religious advocacy groups have been backing anti-LGBT movements in many different forms – When dramas with LGBT characters are televised, …

LGBT Poster vandalized on university campus…yet again!

Korean LGBT folk have it pretty bad. In fact, they’re not too surprised to be targeted, teased, or discriminated. It’s just the way things have been, and continue to be. In fact, a gay friend told me that back in the early 2000s when he was in university, LGBT societies would get student Christian groups gatherings in front of their club room, sprinkle holy water on their door, and sing gospel songs “in order to save those poor souls being led astray by Satan”. This doesn’t happen anymore, maybe due to the fact that since then, LGBT societies would be given “anonymous” club rooms on campuses, disguising their namecards on the door or by merging many of their activities with the women’s rights groups. But university LGBT societies have constantly been unable to even welcome newly admitted students, like many other societies and clubs do – mostly because some crazy individuals acting in the name of the Christian religion keep vandalising their posters and placards. Although this is not the first time such an event has …