Korean mothers give out hugs and tell people at Seoul Pride: “I love you just the way you are”
After the awful news coming out of Orlando today, we had to share a lovely, heartwarming moment from Seoul Pride yesterday. By all accounts this year’s parade was a success with an estimated 50,000 people turning out. That’s apparently almost twice as many as last year which faced various setbacks with interference from police and protesters and the MERS outbreak.
The general consensus on social media and from the people I’ve spoken to is that the event was well organised with a strong police presence which made it impossible for the many protesters who turned up to ruin anyone’s fun. The Korea Herald’s reporting on the event reflects the positive atmosphere of the day:
“I am so proud of being gay, being myself,” Han Beom-yong, 18, told The Korea Herald in excitement as he participated in the festivities. “I am just so happy! I can finally feel free as most of the people here don’t care about my sexuality!”
“My only wish is that people would respect sexual minorities and accept us as human beings without prejudice,” the student said, adding that he could not come out to his parents in fear that the revelation might damage the relationship with his family. “But anyhow my mother would have to accept it. I was born this way, which I never regret.”
But the sweetest moment of this year’s Pride coverage is a video of mothers from the Gathering of Parents of Sexual Minorities – the Korean chapter of PFLAG – who turned up at the parade to show the many LGBT people at the festival that they are loved.
A survey last year showed that almost half of LGBT-identified people in Korea are out to none or almost none of their closest friends and family and it’s clear from the emotion on their faces how much many of the young people needed the motherly love and acceptance these women were providing. It was made even more striking by the fact that almost all the other images of people of a similar age from yesterday’s festival were of anti-gay protesters with signs saying they would never accept a male daughter-in-law or a female son-in-law.
대한문에서 주변부터 서울시의회 앞까지 동성애법과 차별법 반대하는 기독교인들! 그런데 태극기는 왜 들고 있는지 알수가 없음!! 차도까지 점거 됐는데 견찰은 뭐하나? 진보단체였다면 때려 잡았을 견찰늠들! pic.twitter.com/JpQZuyRXnD
— Agora대한민국 (@korea486) June 11, 2016
While the protesters wanted everyone taking part in Pride to think the older generation was disappointed and ashamed of them, these parents wanted them to know they will accept their children “just the way they are”.
That’s what true motherly love looks like.