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Sexual minorities to begin annual cultural festival Friday

Sexual minorities in South Korea are set to open their annual cultural festival in downtown Seoul on Friday amid strong opposition from Christian and conservative groups.

Organizers of the 18th Korea Queer Culture Festival will hold the opening ceremony at Seoul Plaza in the afternoon. The event, featuring musical performances, will be attended by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, as well as officials from the Seoul Metropolitan Government's human rights panel and foreign embassies, they said.

(Korea Queer Culture Festival)
(Korea Queer Culture Festival)

The 10-day festival consists of various special events, such as a gay pride parade slated to take place Saturday at Seoul Plaza, a night club party in the central Seoul district of Itaewon and a four-day screening of films on sexual minorities.

On Thursday, the US Embassy in Seoul voiced its support for the festival, saying that the US remains "committed to human rights and fundamental freedoms for all persons."

The summer festival, which was first held in 2000, has long unnerved Christian groups here. The groups, including the Korean Association of Sexual Education Counselors, plan to hold prayer gatherings and forums in central Seoul to display their opposition to homosexuality.

Police plan to send their staff to the festival sites to prevent clashes among LGBT festival participants and the Christian groups. (Yonhap)