Gay Guide

South Korea
Pink Star Rating

7

Capital

Seoul

Other Main Cities/Resorts

Pusan, Taegu, Inchon

Scene and Culture

Generally South Koreans do not wants to acknowledge the existence of homosexuality. If Koreans come across it they think of it as unpleasant, something to be studiously ignored and certainly not openly discussed. Gays and lesbians may find they are treated shabbily. Because of the stigma mosts gays are still unwilling to come out of the closet fearful of the consequences in a highly conservative and homophobic society. There is nonetheless an active gay scene in many of South Korea's larger cities. The main centres of the gay scene are Seoul and Pusan. The scene in the capital is large with more than 20 gay bars (including several karaoke and cabaret bars) several saunas and one night club. We think gays and lesbian travellers will find a trip to South Korea a facinating experience.

Gay Age of Consent

13

Lesbian Age of Consent

13

Straight Age of Consent

13

Legal Notes

Whilst homosexual acts between consenting adults is not an offence there is still a lot of discrimination and homophobia in South Korea. For example in 1997 The banning of the first Seoul Queer Film and Video Festival brought to the attention of the world the extent of govermental homophobia in South Korea. The national censorship authorities banned the film "Happy Together" on the grounds that it was "not relevant to the emotional life of the Korean people." The same authorities stated that they would not permit the Queer Film and Video Festival to import and screen film prints. The festival had to be cancelled with threats of fines and imprisonment being made. Official homophobia continues unabated and recently the government banned the country's first lesbian and gay website http://www.exzone.com. In January 2002 gay groups filed a joint law suit claiming the ban was in violation of the constitution. In 2003 South Korea's Human Rights Commission called for the ban on LGBT websites to be lifted. The commission said: "International trends show governments acknowledging homosexuality as a normal sexual orientation", and noted that limiting young people's access to to gay sites, encroached upon their right to pursue happiness, equality and expression guaranteed by the constitution.

Population

47.47 million

Currency

Won W

Climate

The best time of year to visit Korea is the the Spring (April/May) or the Autumn (October/November) unless you want to go skiing. South Korea has a continental climate with dry cold winters and hot humid summers. There is a swift transition from winter to summer conditions between April to early May with an equal reversal in late October. Due to the Asian monsoons, the cold winter winds come from Manchuria and Siberia while in summer the warm moist air comes from the Pacific Ocean winds. The wettest months are between June and September with at least one typhoon per year. Average annual precipitation varies from 1,016 mm to 1,524 mm depending on each region. Average temperature ranges in Seoul are from -9c to 0c in January to 22c to 31c in August.

Nationwide info
Seoul