SEOUL – Some 70,000 people took to Seoul on Saturday for the 20th edition of the city’s pride parade, an event that saw record participation and unfurled on the heels of nearby Taiwan becoming the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage.
According to its organizers, the number of participants exceeded last year’s historic record of 60,000.
The favorable weather made the event more enjoyable as the parade made its way through the capital of South Korea from the city hall, through the neighborhoods of Eulji-ro and Jongno-gu before hitting Sejongno avenue and Gwanghwamun square, passing a large rainbow flag adorning the US embassy.
As with every edition, the parade was guarded by a large police presence to stave off any violence that could arise from the presence of radical Christian groups that usually protest against the event.
Except for the occasional Christian protester, no violent incidents have been reported.
Jeezy Yang, an activist and artist who is known by his alter-ego Hurricane Kimchi, told EFE the first time he attended the parade nine years ago the event was not celebrated outside the city hall and there were barely 2,000 participants.
He said people “feared” going because they were scared about making their identity and orientation known to a wider public.
But now, except for the usual anti-LGBT protesters who turn up, the LGBT community and its allies have alleviated this fear, he added.
He highlighted the more-open mentality of younger generations and believed the situation for LGBT people in South Korea could change quickly.
Asked about Taiwan’s precedent, after it passed same-sex marriage legislation last month, he thinks that South Korea could follow suit in the next five-10 years.