Monday, 29 June 2015

RECAP: 2015 Seoul Pride Month (2015 퀴어문화축제 돌아보기)

photo by heezy yang

RECAP: 2015 Seoul Pride Month 
by Heezy Yang
2015 퀴어문화축제 돌아보기
히지 양

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Hello. This is Heezy. As I have participate in Pride-related acts/events (as a performer, party host, etc) this year more than ever, I would like to share what I have experienced and felt as well as some photos I have. This log is going to be rather casual and subjective than serious and informative. If you are interested in who I am or what I do after reading this, feel free to visit www.heezyyang.com.

안녕하세요. 히지 양 입니다. 제가 올해에 들어 (공연자, 파티주최자 등의 역할로) 이전 어느 해보다 더 적극적으로 퀴어문화축제에 관련한 활동들에 참여하게 되었는데요, 이제 제가 그간 보고 겪은 것들을 사진과 함께 조금이나마 여러분과 나누어보고자 합니다. 이 글은 필기적 측면에서 정보전달적이거나 진지하기 보다는, 캐주얼하고 비주얼 중심적이라는 점을 참고하시기 바랍니다. 글을 읽으신 후 제가 누구인지, 제가 하는 활동이 무엇들인지에 관심이 생기시면 www.heezyyang.com을 방문해주시면 되겠습니다.

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Contents Order
Queueing Up In Front of Namdaemun Police Station
Rainbow Gathering: Pride Month Party (Pre-Pride Party)
A Few Pieces In Almaz (Exhibition)
Private Beach (Official Pride Fundraiser Party)
The Pride Meet Market
One-Person Demonstration in Front of Seoul Plaza
Osan (American) Airbase Pride Month Festival
Pride Parade

컨텐츠 목차
남대문 경찰서 앞 줄서기 모임
레인보우 개더링: 퀴어축제의 달 파티
알마즈에 작품 몇 점 (전시)
프라이빗 비치 (축제 공식 후원 파티)
프라이드 미트 마켓
시청광장 앞 1인시위
오산 미 공군기지 프라이드 먼스 페스티벌
퀴어 퍼레이드

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Gathering In Front of Namdaemun Police Station
남대문 경찰서 앞 모임
May 21-28

photo by argel rojo

Last year, Korea Queer Festival (aka Seoul Pride) had to go through so many interruptions by Christian extremists on the parade day. It just got much worse this year as the interruptions started months before the pride month. In Korea, in order to have any kind of protests or gatherings legally, you need to submit a declaration paper to the local police in advance. The 'anti-gay' groups pre-booked the place that the organisers of Korea Queer Festival were planning on booking for the parade. So the KQF organisers moved the parade date and tried to submit the declaration paper at Namdaemun police station. However, Namdaemun police changed the first date of submission for declaration paper and noticed the Christian groups first. In result, a Christian group became the first in the queue and KQF oragnisers became the second. Each member of the Christian group took turn and stayed and kept their spot in front of the police station for one week and KQF organisers did the same. Except, KQF organisers were not alone. hundreds of members of LGBTQIA+ community and allies - including dozens of expats - visited and stayed with them in the queue as long, and as often as they could. Anyway, after a week of making people sleep outside, the police decided to ban the Pride parade due to possible traffic congestion but later the court ruled their decision saying that it was not a reasonable decision. In the end, we were able to have our parade back! Below are pictures of the people who came out on the last day of queuing up:

photo by heezy yang
I think there were about 150 people in total there on the last night of queuing.

photo by heezy yang
Look, that's me in the bottom left corner of the pic! And my good buddy Amanda :)

photo by korea queer festival
So we brought colourful and glowing balloons and...

photo by korea queer festival
...the police brought riot shields.

photo by heezy yang
This is drag queen, Hurricane Kimchi visiting the organisers in the queue in one afternoon to show support.

photo by heezy yang
It was only fair for her to bring a basket of Kimchi for snack as she spent the entire afternoon in the queue. See, Hurricane Kimchi is not some random name.

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Rainbow Gathering: Pride Month Party (Pre-Pride Party)
레인보우 개더링: 퀴어축제의 달 파티
May 30

photo by heezy yang
Rainbow Gathering is a party brand of mine which I started in the beginning of 2014. I focused more on casting various types of talented performers in 2014 but I have been focusing more on raising funds through parties and helping LGBIQIA+ people in need this year. Rainbow Gathering donated more than 50% of the profits from its April party to Korea's first LGBT Youth Support Centre <DDing Dong>. I hosted <Rainbow Gathering: Pride Month Party> to celebrate KQF's gaining the permission to use Seoul Plaza for KQF for the first time in its history of 15 years and to financially support KQF.

photo by heezy yang
I've been to most of recent LGBT parties in Seoul and I think the ratio of ally attendees is highest in Rainbow Gathering parties which I think is pretty cool!

photo by heezy yang
I was singing Avril's Sk8er Boi with slightly changed lyrics. "He's just a boy and I'm just a boy too. Can I make it any more obvious?"

photo by heezy yang
Kuciia Diamant is one of my favourite drag queens in Korea. Hot. Talented. Warm-hearted.

photo by heezy yang
DJ TWINK (aka Yongnam Goon) is definitely the hottest DJ in the gay scene in Seoul. Annnd you know what, he's also a singer-songwriter.

photo by heezy yang
I'll give you a hint. The music theme for the night was the '90s.

photo by heezy yang
KQF staff are selling the official 2015 merchandise at the door. The lady in leopard patterned leotard is one of the headliners of KQF show and also a core member of LGBT Youth Support Centre <DDing Dong>.

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A Few Pieces In Almaz (Exhibition)
알마즈에 작품 몇 점 (전시)
June 9-21

photo by heezy yang
I had an exhibition at a gay bar in Itaewon near the gay district as a part of 2015 KQF. I actually wasn't planning on having any exhibition in the summer because I was already busy enough because of other KQF-related stuff I was dealing with. However, KQF was looking to have some sub-events and I thought this could be a good opportunity to show my work since KQF published ads for its sub-events on/offline. So I did some quick prepping with my already-existing illustrations and had a small exhibition with a very humble name - A Few Pieces In Almaz.

photo by heezy yang
Lex and I are standing in front of <Queens Of Seattle Series>. I illustrated these queens for Seattle Gay Scene which is a Seattle-based online magazine.

photo by heezy yang
This is on my T-shirts too.

photo by heezy yang
I was hooked on Green Day for a while and these came out.

photo by heezy yang
LGBT Youth Support Centre <DDing Dong>'s staff came to see me after work. I made these posters after the police tried to ban Pride parade after Christians' complaints. I changed a few words in a famous Korean poem about wishing Korea's liberation that was written during the Japanese colonial era and used it on the posters.

photo by heezy yang
Oh, hey, I look good in this picture!

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Private Beach (Official Pride Fundraiser Party)
프라이빗 비치 (축제 공식 후원 파티)
June 13

It was a official KQF party that was held to raise fund for KQF. Basically KQF is run entirely by donation so selling merchandise and making profits out of parties like this is really important. Since it's for a good cause, I did go to this party too but honestly I didn't stay for long and didn't see much. The club wasn't very big but there were so many people! I heard there were 1300 people that night. Anyway, here are some photos from the party:




photo by heezy yang
I know. I know. Titanic isn't really beach-like but this was the best I could do. By the way, have you ever wondered why The Titanic sank? I have some idea based on my own experience. It must be tequila.

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The Pride Meet Market
프라이드 미트 마켓
June 21

photo by the meet market seoul
The Meet Market is one of the most popular LGBT events in Korea. It was started and run by 'The Butch-hers'. After the first two years of being organised and run by 'The Butch-hers', now it's organised and hosted by Kuciia Diamant(the fabulous queen I mentioned earlier). For the show part, it always has numbers of very artistic performers from all over the world. This time, unfortunately, I was selling the Pride merchandise I made at the door and didn't get to see the show. That means I didn't get to take pictures inside but I tried to take as many pictures of the performers and attendees outside.

photo by heezy yang
Winnie is the MC of the party. She's holding a standing screen with my illustration <Queens Of Seoul> which is one of the merchandise products I made for the Pride month.

photo by heezy yang
So, this is me before getting into my costume...

photo by heezy yang
I think Kevin Costner and Liam Neeson are hot. Their piss must be extraordinary too. But this is just beer so don't worry. Or sorry if you're disappointed!

photo by heezy yang
I call this performance piece Mr. Paraphilia. Mr. Paraphilia is a man with bunch of different fetishes. Voyeurism, Infantophilia, urophilia, etc. I'm not trying to say I am those nor I think all of them are okay with this piece. They do exist and knowing about them could offer you something - you can be careful and stay away from them if you don't like some stuff or you might discover/experience different kinds of fun.

photo by heezy yang
Tasha and Vanessica are like sisters.

photo by heezy yang
Group photos are always fun.

photo by heezy yang
And here's The Meet Market's host Kuciia!

photo by heezy yang
Her name is 'More'. I've never met her before but she's very cool.

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One-Person Demonstration in Front of Seoul Plaza
시청광장 앞 1인시위
June ??-27

I do not know when exactly this lunch-time demonstration started but it started at some point in June. Basically people who support KQF takes turn and hold the sign around Seoul Plaza during the lunch time. The sign says 'we support the march of sexual minority' in front and 'guarantee our safety during the parade' - last year, the cops just looked on while Christian extremist were being extremely violent and threatening toward LGBTQIA+ and allies marchers during the parade - in the back.

photo by korea queer festival
Kang Myeongjin, the Chief Director of KQF

photo by korea queer festival
Kim Seon-ah from Seoul International Women's Film Festival

photo by korea queer festival
Lim Bora, the Pastor of Sumdol Presbyterian Church

photo by korea queer festival
Meeeeeeee! It's just me. Heezy Yang. Lol.

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Osan (American) Airbase Pride Month Festival
오산 미 공군기지 프라이드 먼스 페스티벌
June 27

photo by heezy yang

photo by heezy yang

Actually this is not a part of KQF. Well, obviously. Osan (American) airbase had their first Pride Month Festival inside the base and they started it with DJ TWINK (aka Yongnam Goon) in charge of music. Thanks to him, I could attend the event last year and this year too. The turnout and the location were so much better this year. At first I wanted to turn down the invitation since KQF parade was the next day. In the end, however, I had so much fun in the bast and later I thought being able to attend such a meaningful event is a bless.

photo by heezy yang
photo by heezy yang
photo by heezy yang
photo by heezy yang
photo by heezy yang
I told them I needed to take a picture of their cool T-shirts but it was their faces that I really wanted to take a picture of.

photo by heezy yang
photo by heezy yang
We finished the festival with a cute dance-off!

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Pride Parade
퀴어 퍼레이드
June 28

People are enjoying the show and booth events before the parade starts. More people joined later and Seoul Plaza got busier. People across the street are Christian protesters, by the way. Faces in the pictures from the parade will be extremely blurred. Some of the people were there already risking their jobs, families, lives and I definitely do not want to put them at more risks.

photo by heezy yang
photo by heezy yang
photo by heezy yang
These are pictures of the entrance to the plaza. The Christian protesters were being loud and violent and trying to get into the plaza, the cops were standing, the KQF staff were trying to keep everybody safe.

photo by heezy yang
I arrived before the events officially started and set up my installation and merchandise stall (or you may call it a yoga mat).

photo by heezy yang
I have performed this street performance/installation several times earlier this year in many other places in Seoul. The purpose of this piece was to bring awareness of homeless LGBT youth. Just like animals are abandoned, people can be abandoned too. There are lots of LGBT teenagers who get kicked out from their parents' house because of their sexuality. Many of my friends (including Edhi Park who were mentioned earlier in this log) work for LGBT Youth Support Centre <DDing Dong> and their hard work touched me and inspired me. I am planning on donating 15% of the profits from selling merchandise to the centre.

photo by heezy yang
This dude participates in lots of acts and events with great causes too. Awesome guy!

photo by heezy yang
photo by heezy yang
I did get lots of interview requests too. It was pretty fun. Although it was so hot and my skin got all burnt despite the sunblock. After sitting there for four hours, I had to run to the backstage to get ready for the main show of the day.

photo by heezy yang
In the backstage with my team members!

photo by heezy yang
Kuciia is a hot blondie today!

photo by heezy yang
They say stage rehearsal and I say selfie on the stage.

photo by heezy yang
I took this just before going onto the stage - my costume looks like it's falling apart but it's okay as I am stripping down after the first 90 seconds.

photo by heezy yang
Our opening act is comedy.

photo by heezy yang
Then my solo act - Toxic! Yep, that's my cute little (but squeezable) bum.

photo by heezy yang
My anaconda don't, my anaconda don't, my anaconda don't want none unless you got buns, hun!

photo by heezy yang
Crazy In Love - a perfect ending!

filmed by yoni
↑↑↑
You can watch our full performance on Youtube.

photo by heezy yang
 People are getting ready for the parade but it got slightly delayed and I went to the front line to see what's going on.
photo by heezy yang
I thought it was 2007 and Britney Spears joined our parade for a sec.

photo by heezy yang
Nope. It was middle-aged Christian protesters. Just like last year.

photo by heezy yang
Last year, the cops didn't do s**t and the parade got delayed for 5 hours. I was on the float entertaining people and thought I was gonna die that day. Fortunately the cops were pretty cooperative this year and moved the crazy people quickly every time they lied down. Yes, that happened multiple times. Oh and this happened. I heard people gasp and turned around to see a suicidal anti-gay protester going under the float when it was moving. Guess he really wanted to stop the parade but hey, I pulled him out just before the tires hit him. I'm a skinny little dude with no muscle but I never felt so manly. Lol.

photo by heezy yang
I was following the transgender activists' float which had Edhi Park on it. It was the most popular float this year, too.

photo by heezy yang 
photo by heezy yang 
photo by heezy yang
I don't know exactly how long it was but I heard the parade course was the longest in KQF history. It included Myeongdong and Cityhall area. I know how much everybody wanted to have this festival in Seoul Plaza, in front of Cityhall. We failed and failed, and were disrupted and sabotaged by hateful people, but in the end, we had our victory. I almost cried in the parade. I almost cried several times while I was writing this log and now that I'm about to finish writing this, I am crying. Just a little. Sobbing. Not like crying crying.
photo by heezy yang
photo by heezy yang
 This is what I looked like after all the events were finished. Beer and vodka happened next. 2015 Korea Queer Festival (aka Seoul Pride) was finished successfully on Sunday and now it's Tuesday afternoon but I haven't left my house since I came home on Sunday, not even for a second. My tired and old body is not fully recovered but I need to get in drag now to go to an event at the National Museum of Contemporary Art to attend an event! I'm going to say bye to you now and say hi to Hurricane Kimchi. Hope you enjoyed my little photo diary.

Bye!

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This is a photo of me hanging out as Hurricane Kimchi at the National Museum of Contemporary Art.

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Heezy Yang