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Seoul Pride Fest, June 2016

Prior to heading out to the festivities on Saturday morning, 11 June, I had searched for more details on Google about the activities that would take place so I could send the address and event line-up to some friends stationed at other camps here in South Korea. In doing so, I read that over 30,000 people attended the pride parade in 2015. I was amazed because I had never been to a pride that large (to my knowledge). I don’t know whether the prides in Georgia or Florida I’d been to had held nearly as many attendees. It made me more excited because I knew this was going to be a huge event with lots of big entertainment and plenty of people from all over the world. It ended up being even more than I imagined.

That morning we had a nice little brunch at The Baker’s Table before heading over to Myeongdong. Once we arrived at the area where Seoul Plaza was at, which is near City Hall, I started to realize something as we came around the corner towards the event location. The streets were lined on both sides with hundreds of police men and women, many of which were holding riot shields. It was so overwhelming that I didn’t even realize they were actually in place for the event WE were headed to attend. There were older civilian people gathered sitting on the sidewalks holding up signs as well as people in suits talking into megaphones. But it was all in Korean so it took me and my American companions a bit to realize these were the anti-gay and Christian protesters, and that the police were there to protect people. Never in my life…

Most people around us that were walking to the fest as well didn’t seem phased at all by whatever the protesters were saying, which is another reason why I didn’t realize that their efforts were aimed at us. We’re in a city and hey they could’ve been protesting anything, I thought. The closer we got to the entrance of the festival, the worse it got. Protesters seemed more angry, combative, and aggressive going toward the fest. But the worst of it all in my opinion was the yelling and moaning of a pastor across the street over a loud speaker. It sounded like the voice of a demon or ghost wailing over the audio system, and at times it was louder than the actual concert we were at inside the fest. These people protesting were causing more of a ruckus than the attendees! It truly stirred my soul. We even saw a car try to drive into the crosswalk as we were crossing. Luckily, the crosswalks were also lined with police officers and they quickly jumped in to make the car back up off of the crosswalk lines.

These protesters that held up crosses and pictures of Jesus Christ and their Holy Bibles were the same ones growling and gritting their teeth at us like they were a pack of wild dogs. I honestly didn’t feel safe and I remember telling the person next to me, “My mom would not like this. If she knew I was at a place like this, she wouldn’t be happy about it.” And I actually wasn’t referring to the type of fest. A “queer” fest. I was moreso referring to the situation in which our safety was at risk…

I have never felt threatened like this. And it’s a shame! The people who called themselves Christians at this event were ready to spit on people walking to and from the event. I made eye contact with some of them unfortunately, and it said to me, “If I could kill you and get away with it, I would.” I’m not even exaggerating. Not one bit. Such an event where people from different nations and backgrounds come together to celebrate the uniqueness of each individual was interrupted by evil, hateful persons who used the name of Jesus to throw curses upon the guests. I feel bad for both sides – the people attending the event who don’t know God as well as the people who were protesting who claim they know God. No one is going to win. They’re only going to push away the gay community with their rioting and curses. They are being everything but Godly. And I’m not saying I’m a saint. And I’m not saying homosexuality is not a sin. I’m saying that there are people using Christ as a means to hate others. I personally have never seen anything like this.

And then to wake up two mornings later to hear that 50 people were killed in a gay club in Orlando, Florida is horrific. So far I have not heard that anyone I know personally was in that club at the time. But the first thing that came to mind was that could have been us. An anti-gay shooter or terrorist could surely have emerged from the crowds at any time and injured or killed any of us on Saturday.

This is all so gross and evil. I am shaking just remembering how much hate was outside those festival gates on Saturday, on top of thinking of all the people that were killed at Pulse yesterday. No one deserves to suffer or die by your hand because you don’t believe what they believe in. Leave that up to the real judge when we all have to answer to Him at the end of our lives. It isn’t anybody’s job to kill someone else because the color of our skin, the person we worship, or the people we are in love with.

More: http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=3019869&cloc=joongangdaily%7Chome%7Cnewslist1

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