The kind of Pride one man waited for finally makes its way to Seoul
PHOTOGRAPH: SHIN HYOPSEOP
It was at the end of the last century that I took part in a Pride Parade for the first time. In 1999, I was living in Vancouver, Canada. Hosted by a gay couple, one Hungarian and one Italian, everyone staying there was Korean, Japanese or Taiwanese (and completely blind to the couple’s relationship). Around then, while going through my hosts’ record collection, I was given a bit of lifechanging news while discussing a Village People LP with them. "Vancouver Pride Parade will be held downtown over the weekend. Try it out," the Italian suggested. I briefly thought that it was a parade about taking pride in being Vancouver citizens but then quickly realized that it was a parade for sexual minorities. I put on my best clothes and went downtown alone, camera in hand. I've never seen anything like it before.Everything glittered. And in that moment I was infected by the kind of pride I'd never, ever felt before in my life. After I came back to Korea, I kept hoping to relive the kind of Pride Parade I experienced in Vancouver, and it wasn’t until last year that I finally got it. Of course, the 2015 [Seoul] Pride wasn’t the first one ever—but there was something different about last year. So many people with faces full of pride gathered at Seoul Plaza. Just a day earlier, the U.S. Supreme Court had legalized same-sex marriage in the States. Sexual minorities throughout the country were gathering together to celebrate the monumental day. Sitting in front of my Mac, gathering the facts for an article I was due to publish, my heart overflowed with joy. I read it over and over again realizing there were probably too many exaggerative expressions, but I couldn’t care less how emotional it sounded. Everyone was full of emotions that night! I believe it is these emotions that resulted in the exceptional Pride that happened last year. And I believe that if same-sex marriage is ever legalized in Korea, it will be in part because June 2015 was so incredibly momentous. This year, I’m going to dress up and look pretty. I’m going to stand up knowing it’s going to make a difference (even if it’s not immediate). Anything could happen. (I could even fall in love and maybe one day get married). I believe in the magic of Pride and the power of standing proud as sexual minorities.
Kim Do-hoon (Editor-in-chief, Huffington Post Korea)