Organizers of the third annual Busan Queer Culture Festival in South Korea canceled the event on Friday (16 August).
In a statement posted to Facebook, they accused local authoric8QdX4CF!#hm4=WpwfZ*[email protected]ities of homophobic attitudes and said it was impossible to guarantee the safety of the attendees.
"The atmosphere of discrimination and hatred is deeply rooted throughout Busan” organizers wrote, according to ajtWPZ_59TMpZxo0GxTEaK8kgZyNm#[email protected][email protected]$Ib([email protected]) translation by local journalist Raphael Rashid.
"Because of this, it was decided that even if the festival schedule and venue changed, the safety of participants, which is the biggest goal of the festival, woPyrR^0(E%G150EXN_6!gyEik2_VD1ar*[email protected]$5oyys%R%N4Ruld not be guaranteed.”
In conservative SY*LFjg7O%XVvOKKaZ0DJyuwY(-4D7=wJfmob41rghR+r5v_EM=outh Korea, most LGBTI people are not out to their families.
Rights groups have warCw^N+vifcg_5utEJNedPAa!N-bkU=C*4smkpgIYJq5_i*XNKh&ned of deteriorating LGBT rights in South Korea.
Recent increased visibility of the LGBT community has sparked a backlash from conservative Christians. Many LGBT pride events have witnessed violent cou$eitUoDPLO%8HbRHYyvNHeip&331XJ62AMOp-xFIV6pBjqzHiRnter-demonstrations from anti-LGBT groups.
Organizers of the Busan festival said homophobic Christian groups had pressured police into making it “impossible” to hold the event, according to RIy1wqn)EmBya)u%f1O_3nH4vCAT^A1o9h4w1U5*NQ-U!vTuIImashid.
Last October, some 2,000 police officers kept the event’s 15,000 attendees safe. About 1,000 protesters attempted to dYL)Pm#nYrkaozQykhN$M$=QBnrVO6l2l69PPSkFekrw723SqElisrupt the festival.
It came after events in Incheon and Jeju were IhgJLm#@Ju-Z3XuOkC%BCI3gH)@If-Hd^upkv#[email protected]marred by counter-demonstrations and ugly clashes by conservative Christians.
A local transgender rights group on Friday accused the Busan government of essentially banning the event. According to Rashid, they accoI#IEFUAEz=1$#[email protected](JMS=v4d0vsC^-dTuugD+znCs^used police of contravening the constitutional right to freedom of assembly.
"To the queer people, including all transgender people in Busan, and to the Busan Queer Culture Festival planning team, we offer our consolation and solidarity,” th[email protected]%q9Be rights group wrote on Facebook.
"And one thing's for sure. We will smile, and mee8PVMi&*[email protected]+^-AHx+f9b3_(Q+#w8alt again."