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Over 150,000 LGBTQ+ individuals and their allies marched in the Pride Parade in South Korea in 2024, defying a second consecutive year of a ban imposed by authorities.

While more than 35 countries, including Thailand, are moving towards the legalisation of same-sex marriage, South Korea has yet to recognise same-sex marriage or civil unions for its LGBTQ+ citizens.

On 1 June, the queer community and its supporters assembled in Seoul to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the nation’s Pride Parade.

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According to reports, authorities had previously denied organisers permission to hold the parade at Seoul Plaza in front of the City Hall, citing a scheduling conflict with an outdoor book event.

Despite lacking the endorsement of Seoul’s mayor, Oh Se-hoon, who stated he “personally can’t agree with homosexuality,” thousands of LGBTQ+ South Koreans and their supporters attended the event. Major roads in Seoul, including Namdaemun-ro and Ujeongguk-ro, were packed with attendees adorned in rainbow colours and waving orange balloons to mark this year’s theme.

“The colour range symbolises an intermediary quality between red and yellow. It doesn’t belong anywhere but exists independently, … akin to our queer way of being,” parade organisers explained in a statement.

The theme of the Pride Parade was orange this year, and various organisations, including the US embassy, IKEA, and Amnesty International, participated to show their support for the queer community.

Pride organisers claimed that three other venues managed by the Seoul city government, including the Seoul Museum of History, were also prohibited from hosting the event to avoid “causing social conflict.”

In contrast, Christian protesters nearby held signs rejecting LGBTQ+ rights, with messages like “No!! Same-sex Marriage” and “The country built with blood and sweat is collapsing due to homosexuality.”

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