Seoul: Korea University student council bans anti-gay discrimination on campus

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

In a first for a South Korean university, students at the Korea University in Seoul have revised their council’s rules to ban anti-gay discrimination on campus.

Speaking to the Korea Herald, council head Choi Jong-un said concerns about homophobia on campuses were raised after a placard welcoming new LGBT students was torn down by unknown individuals.

He said: “In addition to the placard incident, there were homophobic remarks during some of the classes and school events. Representatives of all colleges agreed on the need to ban discrimination, leading us to pass the revision.”

Han Ga-ram, a member of Korean Lawyers for Public Interest and Human Rights, has welcomed the decision, although added it was a “little overdue.”

“I believe it will become a catalyst for people to actively speak out for human rights and freedom of speech regarding sexual minorities among students,” he said.

“It is also in keeping with the global trend. Korea voted in favor of a UN Human Rights council resolution on sexual orientation and gender identity that was passed last month.”

Earlier this month, Seoul mayor Park Won-soon was quoted as saying he hoped Korea would be the first Asian nation to allow equal marriage, although later claimed his statement was mistranslated.

It is legal to be gay in South Korea. However, the country does not offer same-sex marriage or civil partnerships for same-sex couples.

Gay couples can not adopt and there is no anti-discrimination legislation to help protect LGBT people.

Efforts to include protection of sexual orientation in the Anti-Discrimination Act are opposed by religious groups and have been thus far unsuccessful.