Announcements

From Explorers and Missionaries to Vagabonds and Potential Criminals
(Source: Facebook Event Page)

Hello everyone. Just to quickly let you know about an upcoming presentation not to be missed, some worthy causes, and some Youtubers that deserve more promoting.

First up, next Saturday (the 25th), Matt VanVolkenburg will be giving a presentation in Seoul for the 10 Magazine Book Club titled “From Explorers and Missionaries to Vagabonds and Potential Criminals: Two Hundred Years of Teaching English in Korea.”

If you’re unfamiliar with the name, let me add that he’s the author of the Gusts of Popular Feeling blog…which I’m sure will have you scrambling to check out the Facebook Event Page before you even finish this sentence!

Next, via The Kimchi Queen:

99 Film‘s new queer movie “Butterfly” is being crowdfounded on GoodFunding aiming for 2 million won in donations (about 2 thousand dollars). 99 Film has used this method for other films (such as “20”) and they have been in general successful in getting their target funding goals.

About working in a (gay) host bar, see The Kimchi Queen for more (English) information, or go directly to GoodFunding for more information in Korean.

Next, via Hollaback Korea 할라백 코리아 comes Rainbow Teen Safe Spacesfourth letter to donors. It begins and ends:

Rainbow Teen Safe Space will soon be launched. The project has been focusing on fund-raising activities so far. Now it is time for a new round of dealing with organizational issues. On July 13, we had a meeting to talk about a new organizational structure for this project to be a common cause of the LGBT human rights movement. We decided to set up the secretariat and hire a full-time staff to set out the street counseling program in September. The secretariat will share the office with Solidarity for LGBT Human Rights of Korea. We are also in preparation to form an advisory committee of experts in various areas such as law, medical care, counseling and human rights…

…We haven’t reached our fundraising goal yet. For the street counseling activities to start on a solid foundation, please join our fundraising effort for Rainbow Teen Safe Space project. If you, donors’ help come together, it would be such a great strength to all of us.

See the link for much more information about its activities, the video above for a quick introduction (it’s in English), or here for its fundraising website.

Finally, I’ve been asked to promote a couple of video producers. First, a small, Daegu-based organization called Stompy Ruffers Cultural Fusion, which “takes Korean culture and blends it with American culture to create some fun and exciting products/events.” See here for more information about them, or here for a selection of their videos—including the “How to Order Food at a Korean Restaurant” one above, which I think would be better titled “But we’re speaking Korean!” after the Japanese version, and which I’m I sure all too many expats in both countries can relate to (Update: Actually, the Korean video came first sorry!).

Last but not least, from Stephanie Rosier (whom I have to thank for this post), also based in Daegu, who has been making video blogs about Korean culture:

I talk about everything you can imagine really. The blogs are an average of 20 minutes long and usually include various photographs and short videos of my adventures here. I can speak Korean at a conversational level (or Topik level 4 to be exact) so I have been able to talk to, and make friends with a wide range of Korean people, from hair dressers to grandmothers, and learn about Korea from an insider’s perspective.

See here for the blogs, or the above video for her “Spring Video Project: Asking Korean People 한국 사람한테 물어보자: 봄 동영상 계획”.

If any readers also have any event, worthy cause, video, or just about anything else they’d like to promote, please just shoot me an email (but please add as many pictures and details as possible!) and I’ll add it here or in a later post.

Upcoming Events: 7th Korea-America Student Conference, Fundraising for Seoul LGBT Teens, and Hollaback Korea Launch Party!

Korea-America Student Conference 2014

(Source)

First up, for Korean speakers, this Friday there is an information session at Pusan National University about next July’s Korea-America Student Conference (sorry that I was too late to mention today’s session in Seoul). Alternatively, for those English-speakers among you who are hearing about the conference for the first time, it’s:

…a student-led, academic and cultural exchange program launched in 2008 to build closer ties between young leaders in both countries. Each year, an equal number of students from the U.S. and Korea are competitively selected to spend one summer month together, studying and analyzing Korea-U.S. relations while visiting four diverse regions in the host country. KASC alternates its host country every year, emphasizing the personal connections between two distinct cultures gathered together in one place.

And next year it will be held in Korea. See here and here for more information and application details respectively (deadline: March 1), or watch the following short video:

Update: There is also an information session at Kangwon National University on Thursday the 5th.

(Full disclosure: I gave a presentation to the 2011/4th conference participants, who were a great audience; everyone I know who’s participated raves about it; and many former participants are regular readers of and {awesome} commenters on my blog!)

Rainbow Teen Safe Space in Korea(Source)

Next, also on Friday, there is a fundraising event for the creation of a safe space for Seoul LGBT teens. As The Kimchi Queen explains:

The Rainbow Teen Safe Space is sponsored by Solidarity for Human Rights in Korea. The Open Doors Community Church is hosting this event and it is located feet from my old home. Unfortunately, I’m in San Diego. Luckily, I can donate to the organization directly and then get back to my finals.

If you’d like to donate directly to the Rainbow Teen Safe Space, you can do so on the Global Giving website. If you’d like to attend the fundraising event, head to the Open Door’s Event Facebook page.

See any of the above links for more information, or alternatively The Kimchi Queen itself for a small graphic explaining everything at a glance (apologies for the copy and paste of the post!).

Update: Here is the English promotional video for the project (again via The Kimchi Queen):

Hollaback Korea Offical Launch Party(Source)

Finally, next Saturday sees the official launch of Hollaback Korea, in Mapo-gu in Seoul. See the FB event page, their FB group page, or their Twitter for further details, and make sure to check their blog also, just launched yesterday! :)

Update: Click here and here for Hollaback Korea’s press releases (PDF) in English and Korean respectively.

Reader Request: Looking for people to share stories about relationships in Korea

Couple ShoesI’ve been asked to pass on the following:

Looking for people to share stories about relationships in Korea

*********Have you fallen in love in South Korea? Battled cultural differences and other pressures to be with someone you never would have met anywhere else? Found the freedom to do things, meet people, or be someone you wouldn’t have dared to at home? Kept things going long-term and long-distance? Decided that dating in Korea is just too daunting and put that side of your life on hold while you’re here? Worn a couple shirt?

If you have a great story you’d like to share about dating, relationships and sex in Korea, I’d love to hear from you.

I’m making a documentary about how living in Korea can affect relationships, and I’d like to interview people with experiences that been delightful and difficult, wonderful and weird, sour and sweet.

It would be great to speak to partnered and single, cis- and trans-gender people, from a variety of backgrounds, and with a range of preferences and interests, including:

  • Korean people with experiences with other Korean people and people from other countries;
  • Non-Korean people with experiences with people from Korea and other countries;
  • People in monogamous and non-monogamous relationships with one or more partners;
  • People happy or unhappy not to be in a relationship;
  • People who have made their homes in Korea;
  • People who are in Korea on a temporary basis.

The film will be inclusive, non-judgemental and sex-positive, allowing the stories to act as an honest look at the unique experience of looking for, holding onto and losing companionship in Korea. To this end, and because I intend it for gallery screenings, the film probably won’t be a traditional talking-heads documentary. Instead, I’ll try to respond creatively to the themes of the stories people tell me, especially when the storytellers wish to remain anonymous. If you’re happy to appear on camera, that’s great, but if you’d like to share your story and would rather not have your face, voice or name be part of the film, I’ll find ways to accommodate those wishes.

I hope to collect stories in December and January, and am happy to travel anywhere in Korea to conduct interviews.

If you’d like to know more, or if you’re interested in taking part, please get in touch at relationshipsinkorea@gmail.com

Ben

A Queer Week in Seoul!

Gay Short Film Festival plus 11th Annual Queer (Lesbian) Culture Festival(Sources: left, right)

Sorry for the late notice, but this week features the both the 11th Annual Queer (Lesbian) Culture Festival and the 2nd Gay Short Film Festival, both in Seoul (I’m unsure if they’re related). See Psyched in S.Korea and The Kimchi Queen respectively for further details.

Update: The Kimchi Queen has expanded upon the information about the Queer (Lesbian) Culture Festival also.

Radio Interview on Gay Marriage Tonight, 7pm

Cyndi Lauper 2010(Source)

In a few hours I’ll be on Busan e-FM’s Let’s Talk Busan again, this time talking about gay marriage. You can listen on the radio at 90.5, online here (please note that you’ll have to download Windows Media Player 10 first), or via an archived version here later in the week.

For any readers who didn’t already know, I’m all for it, although I’m not very confident about seeing the issue on the political radar in Korea for at least another 15 years, and actual law changes not for another 15 after that. But I’ve often noted the extraordinary pace of change in Korean society too, so here’s hoping I’m proven wrong!

Have a Queer Weekend~!

Busan Drag Prom 2013(Source)

To those of you in the south of the country, I hope to see you all at Busan’s Second Annual Drag Prom this Saturday night, which promises to be a much bigger event — at 3 locations instead of just 1! — than last year’s. (Seriously, please say hi!) Check out Busan Haps or the Facebook event page for further details, and please note that you absolutely don’t have to wear costumes to attend!

(Source)

Meanwhile, for those of you up north, the 14th Korean Queer Festival also starts this weekend, with various events spread over the next 2 weeks, including a parade on Saturday and the Seoul LGBT Film Festival starting on Thursday. See 10 Magazine, the Facebook event page, or the Korean Queer Festival website for further details.

Taeyeon Drag Queens(Source)

Speaking entirely too frankly, I’d just *ahem* love to dress like this at the drag prom, especially like him/her on the far left. But, alas, I’m just too attached to my goatee to shave it off, and besides which don’t have any wigs (nor, indeed, a mini-skirt)…

Let’s Talk About 섹스, 베이비~

Kim Soo-yong's 19 Show Banner(Source)

I showed my (Korean) wife this thread. Her response:

“They think Koreans can’t talk about gay rights? How insulting. We’re more advanced than you think. Gay issues are talked about all the time on talk shows and in the media. [Those commenters] clearly do not understand Korean culture.”

(Comment at Gusts of Popular Feeling)

I would have said more “ignorant” of Korean culture, but you get the idea. And, as if to prove her point, somehow the very next thing in my browser was the new Kim Soo-yong’s 19 [R18] Show, hosted by (obviously) comedian Kim Soo-Yong and announcer Kim Min-jin, and also starring psychologist Dr. Choi Chang-ho and comedian Yun Sok-ju.

Although this particular show may not have talked about LGBT issues (yet), it hit home because it provided a second healthy reminder that Koreans are frankly talking about sex at least, despite foreign stereotypes of their extreme sexual conservatism. Indeed, there’s actually been shows like this for many years now.

Here’s the introduction to it on the Kukitv station website:

Kim Soo-yong's 19 Show(Source)

My (very quick) translation:

Men and women,

Out of feelings they share when they love each other, there’s some things they don’t understand, or they do understand but feel strange about, or they thought they understood but can be easily mistaken about.

From the first date, skinship, and sex to proposing and marriage, we need to something to clear the wish-washy, hidden, unspoken things between men and women.

For the hidden sex stories in your heart, to the secret urges of your partners whom you thought you knew well…

And fortunately for something that plays at 1:10am on weeknights, all of the 5 shows so far — and shorter segments of shows — are available on Youtube here. Here’s the full first episode to get you going:

Alas, language-wise, it’s not for the faint-hearted: the Korean subtitles are minimal, and there’s unlikely to ever be English ones available. Can anyone please recommend any similar shows that are more accessible for non-Korean speakers, and/or — seeing as they inspired this post — pass on any of those that have dealt specifically with LGBT issues? Thanks!

(Update: I should also mention the Talk on Sex podcast that I’ve been following on and off for years, but again that’s entirely in Korean).