A proposal to conduct a Pride Parade in Seoul Plaza, the city’s downtown, in July was denied today. The 17-day celebration that includes the Parade celebrates the LGBTQ+ community. Originally planned for July 1, the festival kicks up on June 22.
Both the LGBTQ+ rights group and a religious group, CTS Culture Foundation, have applied to use the square on June 30 and July 1. However, the city’s authorities have favored the religious group.
The decision to cancel the Pride Parade in Seoul was made on the basis of the policy of the local government led by conservative mayor Oh Se-hoon. This policy states that child and youth welfare events will be prioritized when multiple applications overlap on the same date. He added that both applicants rejected Seoul’s request to move their events.
The decision sparked strong reactions from LGBTQ+ communities. Activists claimed the religious group’s planned event was intended to incite bigotry against the LGBTQ+ community. “Underneath Seoul’s stance lurks hatred of sexual minorities,” the rights group Rainbow Action Against Sexual Minority Discrimination of Korea said in a statement today. The organizer of the queer festival said it would find ways to stick to its plan.
A spokesperson for CTS Culture Foundation responded that the plan to organize the event was continued “to avoid the rainy season”.