According to a report by Yonhap News on June 3, the annual “Queer Culture Festival” held in Daegu, South Korea has been prohibited from using an outdoor stage on a popular street as part of its festivities.
The stage is located on Dongseong Street in the Jung District of Daegu, the fourth largest city in Korea. The Jung District Office claims the reason for the ban is that “some groups and businesses on Dongseong Street are opposing [the festival], so we are concerned that if the event is held, there may be safety issues such as physical confrontations.”
A representative from the district commented, “The street’s outdoor stage is operated under a reservation system. However, there is a condition in the regulations in which reservations can be rejected in the case of for-profit events that exclude the common good or if there are safety issues or concerns about the obstruction of public order.”
But it is possible that the reasons stated by the district office don’t tell the full story. According to a report on June 2 by news outlet Hankyoreh, the decision to ban the festival from using the outdoor stage was relayed “immediately after Jung District director Yoon Soon Yeong met with a conservative-leaning Christian group that opposes the ‘Queer Culture Festival’.”
The report says that when the Christian group met with the director on June 1, they asked that he not approve the festival’s use of the outdoor stage. Right after their meeting, the director informed the Queer Culture Festival’s organizing committee by phone that using the stage would be difficult.
The Daegu Queer Culture Festival has been held every year since 2009. It is the only city in South Korea other than Seoul that has a pride festival.