Korean organisations protest against Egypt’s repression of LGBT+

Special report by Korean groups against repression against LGBT+ in Egypt

See a photo gallery of pictures from the protest here

LGBT+ communities, progressive parties, labour organisations and student societies in South Korea demonstrated against the Egyptian government’s repression toward LGBT+ outside the Egyptian embassy in South Korea on 17 October. Dozens participated with rainbow flag and raised voice against Egypt government. This protest action was organised as a response to the call from NGOs in Egypt named ‘NO HATE EGYPT’ and ‘SOLIDARITY WITH EGYPT LGBT’ to the countries all over the world.

Young-jun Choi (former joint-secretary for the ‘People’s Action to Oust Park Geun-hye Regime’, which was the key umbrella organisation that hosted weekly protests against the former government and eventually won), Ji Hoo Han (leader of ‘Cue the Felix’, a queer circle in Konkuk University) and Hyo Young Yang (Workers’ Solidarity) gave speech in front of the embassy.

Choi denounced the Egypt government by saying, “In the movement that demanded Park Geun-hye’s resignation, LGBT+ people were our comrades within the struggle. In Egypt, El Sisi’s military regime is scapegoating LGBT+ people because it wants to hide the fact that its political legitimacy is unjustifiable.”

Han raised the voice as follows: “Egypt authorities argue that LGBT+ people promoted ‘immorality’ and ‘debauchery’ and use such claims to justify their repression. But homosexuality is one of the natural human sexualities.”

Yang pointed that Koreans are all too familiar with such repression: “In Korea, gays within the compulsory military service are being hunted and repressed. The repression toward LGBT+ in Egypt is not a separate phenomenon from Korean situation and that is why we are here to resist.”

Students from Arabic Department, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies also participated at the protest action and at the site, they wrote the following message in Arab, “We express our full solidarity with LGBT+ in Egypt, and its government should release all the arrested people immediately.”

Osori from ‘Solidarity for LGBT Human Rights of Korea’ read out loud the protest letter on behalf of the 59 organisation, and then the participants shouted “Release all the arrested LGBT+ and their supporters immediately!”, “Stop repression against LGBT+ in Egypt” and “Solidarity with LGBT+ people in Egypt!”

However, Egyptian Embassy locked the front gate and insisted not to receive the protest letter, despite being notified by the organisations on the previous day. The participants denounced such attitude which refuse to hear even the voice of resistance and pushed the protest letter through the gate.

Text of Letter of Protest

Stop repression against LGBT+ in Egypt

Egypt regime has arrested seven people for waiving rainbow flag during a concert of popular Lebanese band in Cairo on 22 September. The regime argues that such people promoted “immorality” and “debauchery.”

As if this wasn’t bad enough, the regime is now carrying out further crackdown against LGBT+ people in Egypt.

So far, additional 57 people have been arrested following the concert arrest for being homosexual. As of writing this protest letter, we are hearing the news that another 14 people have been arrested. According to the news, the detainees are being subjected to forced anal examinations after arrest, as well as other forms of abuse, which is a clear violation of their rights.

We are very angry about the crackdown LGBT+ in Egypt. Homosexuality is neither “immoral” nor “debauchery” but one of natural human sexualities.

Criminalizing LGBT+ and their supporters remind us the very dictatorship of Mubarak regime which arrested 52 men on Queen Boat for homosexuality (‘Cairo 52’). Such regime was brought down by the people in 2011.

The real criminals are not the ones who waive rainbow flag but the ones who oppress LGBT+.

We believe the ongoing witch hunt against LGBT+ is related to the regime’s crackdown against oppositional activists and organizations that has been going on since the military coup in 2013.

Egypt regime should stop scapegoating LGBT+ and be ashamed of their crimes against human rights. The regime should stop blaming LGBT+ people to hide their own crimes.

We will continue to stand and express our international solidarity with LGBT+ in Egypt until the repression ends.

We demand the following:

One, release all the arrested LGBT+ and their supporters immediately!

One, stop scapegoating LGBT+ and repression against them right now!

Protesting organizations:

Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, Sexual Minority Committee of the Justice Party, Youth of Minjung Party, Workers’ Solidarity, Workers’ Solidarity Student Group, Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party Student Committee, Student March of Korea, Solidarity for LGBT Human Rights of Korea, Albeit Workers Union, Women’s Students Union <Neulgyeot> in Yonsei University College of Theology, The socialist Academy at KoreaUniv, RedPaper, The 59th Student Union of Seoul National University, The 49th Student Union of Ewha Womans University, The 35th Student Union of College of Social Sciences of SNU, Student Union “Switch” in Yonsei University Department of Sociology, Solidarity for Anotherworld, Sexual Minority Committee of the Justice Party, Seoul National University Students & Minorities’ Rights Council, Seoul Feminist University student Club Konkuk branch FEMIPUNCH, Rainbow Action Against Sexual Minority Discrimination[GongGam Human Rights Law Foundation, Korean Lawyers for Public Interest and Human Rights(KLPH), Labor Party, Sexual Politics Committee, Minority Rights Committee of the Green Party, Daegu Queer Culture Festival, LGBTQ Human Rights Group Solongos, QUV Korean LGBTQ University Student Alliance QUV, Social and Labor Committee of Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism, the Korean lesbian community radio group, Lezpa, Rainbow Solidarity for LGBT Human Rights of Daegu, QIP Queer In Pusan, Gruteogi : 30+ Lesbian commuity grocommunity, Yeohaengja : Gender non-conforming people’s community, Collective for Sexual Minority Cultures PINKS, The Korean Society of Law and Policy on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, Sinnaneuncenter: LGBT Culture, Arts & Human Rights Center, Unninetwork, Lesbian Human Rights Group ‘Byunnal’ of Ewha Womans University, Network for Glocal Activism, Christian Solidarity for a World without Discrimination(Chasegiyeon), LGBTQ Youth Crisis Support Center ‘DDingDong’, Korea Queer Culture Festival Organizing Committee, Chingusai – Korean Gay Men’s Human Rights Group, Lesbian Counseling Center in South Korea, Korean Sexual-Minority Culture and Rights Center(KSCRC), Solidarity for LGBT Human Rights of Korea, Solidarity for HIV/AIDS Human Rights Nanuri+], QUFIT-Queer&Feminist intersection, Marxist political economy club “Left Wing” of Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul, Marxism Club “Manifesto” in International Campus Yonsei University, Looking World Through Marx’s Eyes (Konkuk University Circle), Korea University Central Sexual Minority Club “People to People”, korea university central club “modern history of korea researching”, Korea Univ. Small Liberty, Justice Party Students’ Committee in Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, HUFS preparation committee on the rights of the minorities(HUFS COROM), HUFS Feminist Society JUDI, Feminism Academic Society Dal of Seoul National University, Ewha Womans University Central Club Movement Ewha, Ewha Editorial Department, Cue the Felix (Konkuk University queer circle), “Beating Femi(Konkuk University circle)