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KOREA - Mar 10, 2003

South Korea's geographic and ethnic seclusion has shaped a society that fears and rejects difference. With a total land mass of only 38,023 square miles, it occupies the southern half of the Korean Peninsula in northeast Asia. The other half is occupied by North Korea. Japan flanks it to the east. China looms south and west.

South Korea is one of the world's most ethnically homogeneous countries. Most of the population can trace their ancestry back thousands of years. About 60 percent are connected to one of the main three surname groups: Lee, Kim, or Park. About 49 percent of South Koreans are Christians (strongly fundamentalist), 47 percent are Buddhists, and 3 percent believe in Confucianism. All three religions hold extremely conservative views on sexuality, particularly homosexuality.

Korean activist, Huso Yi, has begun a series of articles for the online magazine, The Gully, entitled "Life and Death in Queer Korea", illuminating the daily uphill battle faced by Korean gay and lesbians. He recounts stories of religious intolerance, violence, pressure to marry, and his own personal struggles to improve the lives of Korean GLBT.

Read the series introduction: Appetite for Conformity, Part I: A Queer Exorcism, and Part II: Homo Koreanus at The Gully.


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