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Hoping for peace after Trump-Kim summit Continued from Page 15 complete two years of compulsory military service. If they don’t complete the full twoyear term, they are required to make up the difference in a correctional facility. Additionally, while consensual same-sex activity is legal among civilians in South Korea, it is punishable by up to two years imprisonment—or institutionalization—if participants are in the military. Despite the pervasiveness of homophobia in South Korea, HOBAK is hopefully advocating for a comprehensive antidiscrimination law. Pew research found public opinion has shifted toward LGBT acceptance more in South Korea than in any of the other 39 countries surveyed. Homophobia persists, however, fueled by a Christian conservatism originated in the

late 1880s. For instance, South Korean Prime Minister Moon Jae-in has a distinguished record of supporting progressive policies, but answered a campaign question about gay rights by saying he is against homosexuality. But HOBAK persists, as well. During her most recent trip to Jeju Island, part of South Korea’s Jeju Province, Shim attended Pride celebrations and witnessed the viciousness of counter-protesters wielding signs akin to those brandished by members of the Westboro Baptist Church. “So much of South Korean politics is very interrelated and interconnected,” Shim said. “So there are LGBT folks doing labor stuff—queer people are everywhere, so of course they’re involved in everything.” Ahn is pleased with the summit. Nuclear weapons would instantly kill 300,000 people on the Korean Peninsula and now Trump no

longer has the option to launch a first strike. Ahn believes Women Cross DMZ “planted a seed” in Trump’s mind through a letter they sent him saying he had unique opportunity to do what no American president has successfully done before: bring an end to the longest U.S. conflict. Jannuzi said that peace would open the door to further negotiations, including those focused on human rights. “I don’t think there’s anything about the North Korean human rights situation that would be improved through coercion,” he said. “Pressure in the form of military pressure or economic sanctions is not the way to convince them to improve their human rights record.” Jannuzi would like to see a human rights working group that would address human rights and human security issues, including in freedom of expression and religion, as well as

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protections for LGBTQ people. “Making peace with North Korea,” he said, “is the best way to gain access and leverage to begin to improve human rights in North Korea.” Jannuzi however, cautioned that this most recent pledge by North Korea to denuclearize is “more vague, weaker, and less specific than almost all of the previous commitments that have been made,” while also extolling the importance of the Summit. “We’ve accomplished very little so far, but we’ve started a process,” he said. Ahn is focused on peace: “This could be so good for peace in Korea, peace in northeast Asia, for the abolishment of nuclear weapons and for world peace. And we should not be trying to derail it because of our disdain for Trump but see it in the broader picture of what this means for the possibility of a future of world peace.”

Profile for Los Angeles Blade

Losangelesblade.com, Volume 2, Issue 15, June 15, 2018  

Losangelesblade.com, Volume 2, Issue 15, June 15, 2018

Losangelesblade.com, Volume 2, Issue 15, June 15, 2018  

Losangelesblade.com, Volume 2, Issue 15, June 15, 2018

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