33 This article is an excerpt of one cross-published with The Three Wise Monkeys webzine. The extended version can be read at thethreewisemonke ys.com. –Ed Suicide is a sensitive issue in the sexual mi- nority community. If one’s choices are extremely limited, suicide is the only answer, so a lot of sex- ual minority groups in Korea operate counseling programs. They can put the kids in contact with professional trauma treatment centers. Currently, Solidarity and religious groups that support sex- ual minorities are working on the Rainbow Teen Safe Space Project (read the story in Groove Korea, January 2014) to deal with crisis man- agement and emergencies. Upon reflection, activities so far have placed weight on identifying the factors negatively im- pacting the lives of sexual minority youth and seeking change. In the future, new tasks might include seeking out and reconstituting new role models for LGBTQ youth. It’s hoped that the literary award, as a site for discovering, producing and collecting stories of sexual minority youth in this environment, will play a role. As you foresee in your question, in certain contexts, I think it can be an important weapon. But we don’t see the award as a so- cial movement or as a plan to seek a means for a social movement. Of course, I do think it can provide motivation in fights for political efficacy or particular political issues. The view that LGBTQ orientation is a choice or a “sin” that can be “overcome” is rein- forced by a variety of social agents, for ex- ample, anti-gay Christian churches, whose homophobic rhetoric has been a great ob- stacle to the LGBTQ human rights struggle in Korea. It seems things have gotten worse in recent years. To give my own opinion, homophobic utteranc- es are not a recent phenomenon. But if there is any difference with the past, it’s the organized manner of the anti-gay slogans. Recently, in all parts of the country, student human rights or- dinances and regional human rights ordinanc- es have been passed and same-sex marriage/ unions, military law, anti-discrimination laws have become an issue. I think this is an indicator showing that in Korea, together with the growth of the LGBTQ movement, the consciousness of the public towards sexual minorities is changing. But to the same extent, anti-homosexuality (sentiment) is becoming organized. All the me- dia — journalism and broadcasts, internet, and even textbooks — are putting homosexuality on the chopping block, for and against. I think it’s merely sophistry to not recognize the existence of sexual minorities. Not only that, slogans of hate — everything from jokes to protest marches and even violence — are being created. Homophobic statements are not responsive to rational logic. On the contrary, hate itself becomes the logic and rallies for authority. The haters say that homosexuals go against nature, or say homosexuality is the “evil cause” of AIDS and that it can spread the disease and destroy the state. Under the logic that homosexuality is harmful to oneself, the homophobic powers make allianc- es with conservative journalists, political parties and Christians, and widen the reach of the right wing. You must keep in mind that against this backdrop, it is hard to spread the voices and slo- gans of sexual minorities. What strategies is Solidarity now employing to change public consciousness? Occupying discourse is important. That doesn’t mean it’s simply a battle of discourses. A variety of approaches — official, economic, administra- tive — must be considered to carry out action on a single issue, and many of them take a long time. Take, for example, the issue of abolishing 92.6 of the Military Law that has been introduced into legislation. Until recently, 92.6 described and proscribed homosexuality as “sodomy” (“gyegan,” literally “chicken rape”). Gyegan means it’s an inhuman act. This was first contested 10 long years ago but the language was changed only last year as a part of new revisions to the military codes. But 92.6 states, as pertains to soldiers and those of similar status, “cases of anal sex or other despicable acts will be punished by impris- onment for two years or less.” While not men- tioning homosexuality directly, it clearly states it will punish it. The movement to abolish this clause has been continually ongoing. Human rights groups, activ- ists and legal experts must join together, form a team. Street campaigns were undertaken and a legislative petition of well over 5,000 pages was put together in 2003 and 2011, a Consti- tutional petition was submitted twice. Recently, we’ve been able to organize National Assembly members and demand legislative reform. I heard recently there’s been a plan to submit a white pa- per on the activities over the past 10-plus years surrounding the military law. The issue of equality legislation alone would take hours to discuss. ‘Suicide is a sensitive issue in the sexual minority community. If one’s choices are extremely limited, suicide is the only answer.’ Ung By Ryu I-jji with coloring by Lee Scott