12 November 2008

A Facebook note

I posted my first-ever Facebook note, as follows. This was inspired by a very homophobic protest banner that I saw today, in front of South Korea's Human Rights Commission building. The commission has been very supportive of LGBTs and other disadvantaged groups, though its decisions are nonbinding; apparently, some people are VERY offended by the commission's continued support of LGBT rights. I have a post about it (with the offending banner, which is the second photo) over on my main blog.

I've seen the face of severe homophobia in South Korea. It hurts American LGBTs too, and proves that homophobia is far from a whites-only thing. But fortunately, the average South Koreans are as opposed to homophobia as I am.

In South Korea, there is a governmental body named the Human Rights Commission, which is completely nonpartisan and independent, and makes nonbinding recommendations regarding human rights laws in South Korea. It has generally been very supportive of many traditionally marginalized groups, including women, organized labor, foreigners, the young, and LGBTs.

The photo was taken in front of the Human Rights Commission's headquarters in downtown Seoul. Apparently, it recently made some rulings in favor of the nation's LGBT community. And as the left banner makes it clear, some people are clearly VERY offended. The banner, from an association of North Korean defectors, demands the resignation of the entire commission, for coddling and defending the destructive homosexual lifestyle while ignoring the real human rights problems over in North Korea. (Sorry, the commission doesn't have jurisdiction over North Korea just yet.)

Not pictured, there are two additional extremely homophobic banners hanging behind me, hung by other right-wing groups in solidarity.

It is very sad to know that the North Koreans, who claim to have defected to South Korea in search of freedom for themselves, are at the forefront of destroying other people's freedoms and their right to a pursuit of happiness. While "the right to a pursuit of happiness" is a fairly new concept in the Confucian, communal South Korean society, it is nevertheless firmly entrenched now and forms the basis of many new legal changes, including scrapping the old Confucian family registry system which denied many rights to anyone other than married men.

The North Koreans, due to their intense hatred of their home regime and its Communist orthodoxy, are prime and willing recruiting targets of South Korea's right-wing extremist groups, the neocons and the Republicans in the US, and the Christian extremists of both nations. While I previously held sympathy for their plight, I no longer do so, given this banner and the North Koreans' blatant support and praise of George W. Bush.

The homophobes have the upper hand, for now. Again, the Human Rights Commission's decisions are nonbinding, and certainly the homophobic Lee Myung-bak government will reject them. President Lee has been quoted as saying that homosexuality is an unnatural perversion to be discouraged at any cost, especially among the nation's youth. Lee is able to influence US politics by funding his US front, the Unification Church of Reverend Sun Myung Moon, who has vowed to exterminate all homosexuals in South Korea, the US, and worldwide. I am very well convinced that all the homophobic legislations passed in the US this month, including Proposition 8 in Korean-American-rich California, benefited handsomely from illegal South Korean governmental influence. But seriously, Lee has more pressing issues that he must pay attention to first, including reviving the South Korean economy and ensuring peace on the Korean peninsula; with North Korea sealing the inter-Korean border as of next month, Lee is failing on the latter as well.

But he'd rather win religious extremist support by pushing homophobia, both within South Korea and over in the US. For that reason, he must be condemned, and the LGBT community in the US must wake up from its politically correct white liberal trance, and denounce South Korea and other foreign nonwhite homophobes in the strongest terms possible.

Fortunately, the people of South Korea are fed up. They are fed up with Lee, saying that the only reason they had voted for him was due to the lackluster candidates of the opposition, and even then they regret it now. And they are certainly fed up with homophobia. While it is very well accepted that religious and moral objections can be raised to homosexuality (after all, Confucians and Christians have tons of influence), it is also well accepted that such personal objections cannot ever justify systematic, legal oppression of LGBTs. The South Korean people love their economic accomplishments, love their budding democratic institutions, and love their freedom and equality; they certainly do not believe in taking any of this away from anyone, LGBTs included.

And unlike in the severely homophobic Korean-American community controlled by extremist megachurches, here in South Korea, just like in the mainstream US, the younger generation (people generally 40 and younger, and even well-educated ones a bit older) are strongly in favor of gay rights. They hate the Confucian orthodoxy, which hurts LGBTs disproportionately, as much as anyone else, and they are fed up with their society which still considers age, sex, and marital status as one's most important job qualifications. As this new generation rises through the ranks and becomes the establishment of tomorrow, South Korea will become a more equitable, more developed society. Expect gay marriage to be legal in Seoul in about 30 years, maybe much less. After all, the past several years have seen South Korea's transgender population gain legal recognition and many specific rights, and nobody ever saw that coming a decade ago.

I am more reminded than ever that I must fight homophobes throughout the world, regardless of their nationality or background. This includes Germany's BMW as well as various Religious Right groups in the US. I will certainly retire my once-beloved BMW 3-series as soon as I return to Los Angeles next month. However, we also must cultivate alliances with the fair-minded people of the world, regardless of nationality, religion, or any other characteristic, as well. The average people of South Korea are not outspoken advocates of the LGBT movement, but they nevertheless are important allies, and they will be the ones stopping the governmental and Moonie menace in the US. To that end, my BMW will be replaced with a Hyundai Genesis, a far superior vehicle anyway. It's also a reminder that South Korea managed to progress from crappy econoboxes to BMW-killers in just a generation, and that its people will make similar progresses on many other fronts - including LGBT rights - before we know it.

Looking forward to showing up at various California LGBT venues in my brand-spanking-new Hyundai Genesis! I will certainly share more stories of my South Korean sojourn, including the significance of Gwaneum (Kwan Yin in Chinese), the transgender Goddess of Mercy in Buddhism, when I show up.

I made sure to send a message to many of my Facebook friends announcing this note. Sure enough, I already got a feedback from Los Angeles - even though it's early morning there! I am hoping to spark something out of this. Who knows, Harisu may visit Deep Stealth Productions on her next visit to the US!

I certainly want Sarah to make similar observations as she travels around the world. To be honest, this very note may somehow become Sarah's own, as I write the novel.

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