|The banner displayed in front of the forest at the Student Union Building highlighted the Right Light Festival of unextinguished light of rights. Photo by Choi Kyu-min.|
In early October, students gathered around a booth at the main gate, jotting down statements like “You will meet a great guy to marry since you’ve graduated Ewha,” on a big white piece of paper. Papers with these prejudiced and discriminative remarks were torn apart at the closing ceremony. This event was part of the school’s third Right Light Festival, accentuating the necessity to enable people to speak out their rights, which are concealed under the veil of discrimination and hatred in today’s society.
On Oct. 1, 2, and 4, the Student Government Association (SGA) and five organizations of the Ewha Independent Union claimed the importance of the variety of rights in modern society and that appreciation towards them was necessary. The event strived to examine different rights currently debated in Korea to make a change through the exchange of thoughts. The agenda covered issues about women, queer, labor, disability, veganism, and refugees. Booths regarding these topics were held at the Student Union and the promotion area was set up at the main gate.
For this year, the topic of rights for transgender, queer, and non-binary was a highlighted point in question. With the slogan titled “We are everywhere,” the central planning group emphasized the importance of Korea Queer Culture Festival and insisted that revealing oneself as a queer in this event is a way of expressing self-positivity. Through this statement, they contend that nothing should constrain and force a persons’ way of living and if others start to show hatred towards sexual minorities, it is a denial to human dignity and can be considered as a serious violence.
Gender Voyager, a group of people who resist the concept of binary law on gender, opened a booth at Student Union on Oct. 2 to deliver their concerns and opinions of improving the rights of non-binary and queers in society.
“Through Gender Voyager, we want to deliver the crucial message that there are people who are on a long journey to widen the gender spectrum and that there are friends who are able to share their travelog,” Gender Voyager said. “We aim to integrate with more people to join this trip.”
The group also explained the activities of what Gender Voyager is executing at the moment, how the dichotomous thoughts on sexuality is influencing peoples’ lives, and how to cope with aversive remarks associated with this issue.
Furthermore, Byunnal, one of the organizations from Ewha Independent Union claiming rights for non-binary and queers, hosted a book talk with students and their parents. It shared stories about the moment when the parents had received the coming-out from their children, the processes of accepting the statement, and how they have started to actively take role at the PFLAG Korea (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays in Korea). They published a book titled “Coming-out Story,” which was discussed during the event. The first session had people discourse about the edition and the second session was remained for answering questions from the participants.
“We hope that more people will expand their understandings of sexual minorities,” Byunnal commented. “Also, this book talk will enable people to empathize with the agony of non-binary and queers who are now situated amid society’s prejudice, revulsion, and discrimination.”
Ahn Chee-young firstname.lastname@example.org