While South Korea has no laws against LGBT+ relationships, it lags behind many developed democracies where the trend is increasingly towards tolerance. The country has no discrimination or hate crimes protections, and no provisions for same-sex marriage or adoption.
Research in Hong Found found that a closer relationship with an LGBT+ person makes respondents less tolerant of their sexuality, a result reflecting the complexity of familial expectations in Confucian societies. A more recent survey funded by the Academy of Korean Studies expands our understanding of the way proximity play a role in South Koreans’ comfort with LGBT+ people.
The survey found that only 10% of respondents stated that they knew of any other person who was LGBT+, independent of proximity. In an earlier survey, by comparison, 57% of Taiwanese respondents knew of any other LGBT+ person.
In line with the research predictions, respondents who knew an LGBT+ person were more tolerant overall, while respondents were least comfortable with LGBT+ family members.
The results support advocates’ arguments that greater LGBT+ visibility, in turn creating a context in which individuals feel safer coming out, will lead to greater tolerance and eventually legal progress in South Korea.
Read more at The Diplomat.