Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Breaking News: Anti-Gay Hate Crimes Book Published in South Korea

Who Trampled the Rainbow Flag book cover, Alma Books, 2013.

Who Trampled the Rainbow Flag book cover, Alma Books, 2013.

Seoul, South Korea – An American scholar’s award winning book on anti-gay hate crimes will hit the shelves throughout South Korea on Friday, October 18, the first such book of its kind in the Korean language.  Alma Books is publishing Who Trampled The Rainbow Flag?: Remembering the Death of Victims of Hate Crime Against the Sexual Minority, the Korean translation of Dr. Stephen Sprinkle’s groundbreaking anthology of hate crimes murder victim stories, Unfinished Lives: Remembering LGBTQ Hate Crimes Murder Victims (Resource Publications, 2011).

Who Trampled the Rainbow Flag? will boost the creation of a whole new discourse on crimes against the sexual minority, heretofore a taboo subject in the Republic of Korea.  At the urging of Brite Divinity School’s Dr. Namsoon Kang, Professor of World Christianity and Religions, Munhakdongne accepted the challenge to publish a book many other Korean publishers thought was interesting enough, but “too risky.”  A translator was secured in Berkeley, California to take on the project, after negotiations between the American and Korean publishers.

Homosexuality is still considered to be a western “disease” by the majority of South Koreans, whose values are dually shaped by Confucian ideals of patriarchy and family, and by Christian heterosexism which exhibits strongly conservative aspects of the missionary efforts that established the churches on the Korean Peninsula over a hundred years ago. In the main, homosexuality is not spoken of in Korea, though a significant shift towards the beginnings of tolerance has taken place there in recent years.  According to the June 2013 Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Survey on homosexuality showed that South Korea, while still disapproving of sexual minorities, has shown the largest shift of public opinion towards tolerance of any nation in the world.  Korean attitudes moved from barely 18% who believed in 2007 that homosexuality should be accepted, to 39% in 2013–a shift of 21 per cent in six years.  

L to R: Dr. Namsoon Kang, Kim Jho Kwang-soo, Dr. Stephen Sprinkle, Kim Seung-hwan.

L to R: Dr. Namsoon Kang, Kim Jho Kwang-soo, Dr. Stephen Sprinkle, Kim Seung-hwan.

Sprinkle’s book, which won the 2012 Silver Medal for Gay/Lesbian Non-Fiction at the IPPY Awards in New York City, was chosen for Korean publication because of the way it puts a human face on the oppression of LGBTQ people.  The endorsement by famed gay Korean film director, writer, and producer, Kim Jho Kwang-soo (Peter Kim), gave the book a major boost.  Kim is one of the few openly gay celebrities in South Korea, and, along with his spouse, Kim Seung-hwan (David Kim), are the prime movers in the increasingly popular Seoul LGBT Film Festival.  Author Stephen Sprinkle is currently in Korea networking, speaking in churches and book gatherings in support of the launch of Who Trampled the Rainbow Flag? on Thursday, October 17 at Libro Bookstore at Hong Ik University in Seoul, where Kim Jho Kwang-soo will appear for a joint book signing.

During his tour of South Korea with Dr. Namsoon Kang, Sprinkle has been interviewed about his book by NewsNJoy, the major Christian news outlet on the Peninsula, has spoken at Open Doors Community Church, Chungdong First Methodist Church (the first Protestant church founded in Korea), and at Sumdol Presbyterian Church in Seoul.  The book has received the support of progressive church leaders such as Rev. Daniel Payne of Open Doors Community, Dr. Se-Hyoung Lee of Chungdong First Methodist, renowned Minjung Theologian Rev. Jin Ho Kim, and one of the few female pastors in Korea, sexual minorities advocate Rev. Borah Lim of Sumdol Church.

The odds facing LGBTQ people in South Korea are daunting, but books like Dr. Sprinkle’s human take on how hatred and religiously motivated bigotry destroy lives and motivate self-loathing, murder, and suicide in so many members of the sexual minority bear the potential to start a new dialogue on tolerance there.  As Dr. Sprinkle said, “We are not naîve about the future for gays and lesbians, bisexual and transgender Koreans.  But the signs of a thaw in opinions is unmistakable everywhere I go in Korea.  Perhaps Who Trampled the Rainbow Flag? can speed the liberation of queer folk here–as a matter of fact,” Sprinkle went on to say, “that very process has already begun.”

October 16, 2013 Posted by | Alma Books Korea, Anti-LGBT hate crime, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Book Tour, Chungdong First Methodist Church Korea, GLBTQ, Hate Crimes, hate crimes prevention, Heterosexism and homophobia, Kim Jho Kwang-soo, LGBTQ, Munhakdongne Publishing Group, Open Doors Community Church Korea, Social Justice Advocacy, South Korea, Sumdol Presbyterian Church Korea, Unfinished Lives Book, Unfinished Lives Book Signings, Who Trampled the Rainbow Flag? - Book | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Breaking News: Anti-Gay Hate Crimes Book Published in South Korea


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