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Man fired and made homeless for being gay in South Korea

Lily Wakefield September 21, 2019
Participants march along a street during a 'Gay Pride' march in Seoul on July 15, 2017. Thousands of people celebrated gay rights with song, dance and a march in Seoul on July 15, amid rain and boisterous protests by conservative Christians. Religious South Koreans have been a loud fixture at the annual parade for years, holding a rival anti-homosexuality rally while trying to physically block the march. / AFP PHOTO / Ed JONES (Photo credit should read ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)

Pride in Seoul, South Korea. (ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)

A young, gay man in South Korea has revealed the abuse he received because of his sexuality, including being fired and made homeless.

While there is no longer a law criminalising gay sex for civilians and LGBT+ people are becoming increasingly visible, soldiers can still be arrested for homosexuality and being gay is a huge taboo in the country.

The man used the pseudonym “Kim” to tell the BBC his story to avoid further persecution, as there are no anti-discrimination laws protecting LGBT+ people in South Korea.

20-year-old Kim said he had hidden his sexuality all his life, but when a co-worker got drunk at a company dinner he was outed in front of his colleagues.

He said: “It felt like the sky was falling down. I was so scared and shocked. No-one expected it.”

Kim was immediately fired, and the restaurant owner told him that homosexuality was “a sin” and “the cause of AIDS,” and asked him to leave the premises.

“He told me that he didn’t want me to spread homosexuality to the other workers,” he said.

The restaurant owner’s son then went to Kim’s mother at home to tell her that her son was gay, which led to her kicking him out with nowhere to go.

He added: “At that moment, she told me to leave the house and said I don’t need a son like you. So I was kicked out.”

Although his mother had kicked him out, he said she still tried to “save” him.

“Using her church people, she tried to kidnap me multiple times to go through conversion therapy,” he said.

“I was forced to go through some of these therapies, however there were times I manage to avoid them and escaped.”

He was once beaten with a stick in a park, an attack he believes was also ordered by his mother.

Although he said he is now on speaking terms with his mother again, Kim said they do not discuss his sexuality.

He added: “She still can’t accept me for who I am. She still thinks a man loving another man is wrong. But I no longer try to argue about this with my mom.”

According to the BBC, one survey showed that almost half of LGBT+ young people have attempted suicide (45 percent) and 53 percent have tried to self-harm.

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