Humans value love. People experience the beauty of love in many romantic movies and dramas, and cry after reading touching fiction or listening to music about love. However, imagine that the love is homosexual love. Will as many people still find it touching and beautiful? If not, is there discrimination between types of love?
While homosexuality has been the great target of controversy and discord for a long time, gay men and lesbians are fighting for their dignity despite negative attitudes. The case of a lesbian couple who committed suicide in Busan in 1971 shows that society’s abuse made it impossible for them to live as lesbians. A gay man interviewed in the television program, The Unanswered, recounted how he was constantly tortured: subjected to hydrochloric acid attacks, illegal confinement, and curses, as if, just by being born a homosexual, he had committed some sort of crimes.
Now that campaigns to protect gay people’s right to love, gay culture, and queer festivals (which have flourished since 2000) are more widespread than in the past, gay people are starting to come out in Korean society. There are many queer clubs in universities, and gay students are free to join them. In these clubs, university students hold queer movie festivals and give speeches about sexual minorities and their rights. This movement has also affected the entertainment business. Korean entertainer Hong Seok-cheon, Canadian actress Ellen Page, and other celebrities have disclosed their homosexuality in public; as a result, people have become much more respectful of their sexual orientation. Now that Hong Seok-cheon has appeared on various television programs confidently sharing his opinions, many gay people hope that others will recognize that they are just as normal and worthy of respect as heterosexuals.
Worldwide, there are still many homophobes who abhor homosexuals. Throughout history, some homophobes have even refused to acknowledge gay people’s right to exist, condemning and oppressing homosexuals. In 1928, Hitler announced that gays and lesbians were enemies of Germany, many homosexuals were purged, sent to concentration camps, and even castrated. As late as 1952, the American Philological Association(APA) regarded homosexual love as a personality disorder and a mental illness. Homosexual war heroes in America were injected with hormones and excluded from society, despite their huge contribution.
Some homophobes and religious people insist that homosexuals can be cured through medical treatment and religious belief; others argue that, special genes determine same-sex orientation. Unfortunately, no theory can determine whether homosexual love is innate or acquired. Dr. Irving Bieber, who researched sexual orientation for more than 20 years, found that converting homosexuals to heterosexuals was successful no more than 50% of the time. His research seemed to show that it was not impossible to change sexual orientation. However, no transition should be possible unless the gay person genuinely wanted to change; no change could be achieved through violence or pressure.
Homophobes cite the problem of gay promiscuity, blaming homosexual men for spreading the HIV virus. According to their research, “abnormal” homosexual sex spreads venereal diseases such as AIDS, which in turn cause severe infections after blood transfusions, wasting the tax-payers' precious money. They argue that acknowledging homosexuality creates identity confusion in children, thus having a negative impact on families. However, AIDS is transmitted by anyone who is an AIDS carrier; heterosexuals also catch AIDS. The HIV virus is transmitted to heterosexuals through sexual intercourse; in modern times, hospitals test potential donors to prevent AIDS patients from donating blood. Homophobes are discriminatory and wrong to say that only homosexuals carry out sexually perverted acts or damage others through rape. This is just a misguided stereotype.
In 2013, disregarding the homophobes, Korean movie director, Kim Jho Kwang-soo and his partner Kim Seung-hwan finally married, saying, “Don’t worry, we are happy.” In Korea, the question of whether or not to legalize gay marriage has been a pressing issue since they appealed to make their marriage legal. They argued that there should be no prohibition on same sex marriages because everyone should have the right to marry. However, legalizing gay marriage is a much more complicated issue than can be resolved through a simple understanding of gay love. In addition to protecting the dignity of gay people in education and employment, legalization would give special protection and legal favored status to gay couples, just as it does to husbands and wives.
Extreme opposing views exist, particularly within religious groups. Opponents argue that gay marriage would damage the sexual morality of minors, have a negative impact on other sexual customs, interfere with education, and cause a drop in the birth rate. On the side of the argument, a gay activist interviewed by the Ajou Globe interviewed and other supporters of marriage equality have argued that changing the definition of a legal marriage just provides equality of marriage regardless of sex. It does not damage traditional customs; moreover, having a child is not the essence of marriage. Both attitudes toward homosexual marriage are fixed, but all arguments should be based on accurate information and both sides should make at least a minimal effort to respect each other. Expressing one of the most basic human needs, marriage is essential to our most profound hopes and aspirations. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court finally legalized gay marriage, although more than 80 percent of Americans opposed the legislation. The concept of gay marriage cannot be detached from social development. Homophobes in the media circulate incorrect information and statistics. Supporters of same gender marriage should counter the hostile rumors about gay people and provide objective reasons to explain why gay marriage should be legalized, rather than making emotional appeals. Naked queer parades insisting on the right to love freely can alienate a lot of people. Although it does not seem likely that gay marriage will be legalized soon in Korea, a society may develop to the point where many more people welcome homosexual marriage.
Lee Joo yeon email@example.com
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