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Reality check: How diverse is Korea really? LGBTQ+ and politics (4)
No openly queer candidates have ever been elected to South Korea's parliament
By Shin Ji-hye
Published : Jan. 25, 2024 - 17:36
South Korea defaults to heterosexuality as the predominant sexual identity publicly represented by political leaders.
Among national politicians and elected parliamentarians, there have not been any public disclosures of a politician's sexual orientation throughout Korea’s entire legislative history. This lack of openly acknowledged LGBTQ+ representation in the country's top political leadership underscores the degree of exclusion and discrimination faced by LGBTQ+ individuals in the country and mainstream news media.
However, a notable exception is Cha Hae-young, a 37-year-old municipal councilor who identifies as bisexual and is a dedicated advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. Cha was elected as one of the council members of Seoul's Mapo district in June of last year, becoming South Korea's first openly LGBTQ+ elected official.
Although no lawmakers from major parties openly discuss LGBTQ+ rights, members of the progressive opposition Justice Party have been more vocal on the issue, frequently acting as representative voices for sexual minority groups in Korea.
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