The 3rd Busan Queer Culture Festival scheduled to be held later this year has been canceled.
Organizers of the festival announced the cancelation of the festival after a long deliberation on their SNS channels on the 16th.
In a statement from the group, they were denied rally permission from the Haeundae-gu district and couldn’t guarantee the safety of participants due to the “homophobic atmosphere created by local authorities”.
According to translations of the statement from Seoul-based journalist Raphael Rashid, “organizers blame the cozy relationship with between the homophobic ‘Christian’ groups and the local Busan authorities” as well as “local authorities planned to take legal action against Pride Organizers if they dared to allow the event to take place”.
Though the Busan Queer Culture Festival is trying to create a festival for everyone who can enjoy without discrimination and hatred, the first and second festivals came under protest, as some local churches actively tried to stop the festival which was held on Gunam-ro in Haeundae in 2017 and 2018.
Religious groups have tried to block the parade at pride events for years in South Korea by also holding anti-homosexuality protests, though thousands come out annually to celebrate and enjoy the festive atmosphere in record numbers around the country each year.
No major incidents at the previous two events in Busan were reported despite thousands of participants and protestors in attendance.
The organizers plan to hold a press conference this morning at 11 a.m. at the Haeundae District Office to denounce the district’s decision not to give them permission to hold the festival this year.
Korea’s Green Party also released a statement condemning the district’s decision and supporting the festival.
Christian groups are also reportedly trying to use their influence to shut down the Incheon Queer Culture Festival scheduled for August 31.
Festival organizers, meanwhile, closed their statement with the following:
“To the queer people, including all transgender people in Busan, and to the Busan Queer Culture Festival planning team, we offer our consolation and solidarity. And one thing’s for sure. We will smile, and meet again.”