I Lost The Election Because I Defended Korea's LGBT Community, But I Have No Regrets

Participants of a gay pride march wave a rainbow flag as they stand before a police cordon set up to keep out anti-gay Christ
Participants of a gay pride march wave a rainbow flag as they stand before a police cordon set up to keep out anti-gay Christian activists, in Seoul on June 28, 2015. Thousands of participants of South Korea's annual gay pride parade marched across central Seoul, with many celebrating the US Supreme Court's historic decision allowing same-sex couples to wed. Gay and transgender Koreans live largely under the radar in a country that remains deeply conservative about matters of sexual identity and where many still regard homosexuality as a foreign phenomenon. Thousands of Christian activists stood behind police barriers to wave banners and chant slogans at those taking part, condemning what they called an attempt to turn the South Korean capital into 'Sodom and Gomorrah.' AFP PHOTO / Ed Jones (Photo credit should read ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)

After the party's primary election, I would like to analyze the cause of my defeat. Plutocracy and vested interests were among the reasons, but the biggest one was my support of the LGBT community in Korea.

I am a candidate that is difficult to find fault with; whether legally or with regards to my integrity. Their only option was to spread propaganda to make my camp suffer. And their propaganda wielded great influence over the outcome of the elections.

I was never a famous human right activist or a crusader. I was also not the kind of politician who supported the LGBT movement. Nevertheless, I tried my best to speak for the things that I believed in, such as the right not to be discriminated against.

I believe in the right to be treated as a human being and as a Korean citizen, and to be granted the right to vote! The constitution was built on ensuring that no one may be discriminated against according to their gender, religion, or social status in the political, economic, or cultural life. Equality is enshrined in Article 11 of the constitution!

All I wanted was to defend those principles.

When the election began, anti-gay broadcasters KHTV created and disseminated a video titled "Kwangjin Kim, the number one candidate who encourages homosexuality." At first, it was spread through social media, but at one point, it was widely circulated via text messages in the Soon-Chun area where I was campaigning.


I suggest that we put an end to this period of hatred and discrimination. We should talk about how to make our country a place free of discrimination.

Many people in my campaign were anxious and worried. As a candidate, I was deeply concerned about the issue. Many people advised me to make a public statement saying that "the clip was edited with malicious intention, the truth was manipulated, and that my opinion was not different from that of the Church."

Indeed, there were parts that were incorrect and misrepresented in the video, but it is true that I recently spoke out for LGBT rights, and that I still have the conviction that they should not be discriminated against, by any means.

As the election season went on and time for the nomination arrived, the Jeonnam Christian Council sent an official letter to the the nomination screening committee denouncing my candidacy. They expressed their position by saying: "We are going to do everything possible impede the progress." Some pastors in mega churches used their sermons to officially oppose my position.

I will not agonize over the fact that candidates from the opposition have used this against me with the knowledge that it would have a great impact. As they say, elections are like war. However, I do think we need to grow out of these "barbaric times," when such matters can make or break an election. I suggest that we put an end to this period of hatred and discrimination. We should talk about how to make our country a place free of discrimination.

I am not a politician who begs for votes, but a politician who would like to pave the way for a whole new world in which we can all live together in harmony.


I will do whatever it takes to make Korea a country with widespread respect and harmony. I trust that our citizens know that the power of love transcends that of hate.

I think that to be neutral as a politician is not to stand in the middle and criticize others, but to stand by those who are experiencing hardship and sorrow. Putting yourself in the middle of the seesaw that is tilted to one side does not make it evenly balanced: You have to move to the lighter side, to create a state of equilibrium. I will try my best to live up to this promise.

If a member of the National Assembly is criticized for defending those who are discriminated against, how hard do you think it is on the people who actually endure such discrimination?

It would be in the best interest of a candidate to receive as many votes as possible. Choosing to abandon minorities, and joining the antagonizers could help me achieve my career goals, but I would be too ashamed to do so.

You can condemn me all you want. I am fully aware that this is not going to be very helpful for my campaign in the local elections. However, I want to live as an honorable politician. I will do whatever it takes to make Korea a country with widespread respect and harmony. I trust that our citizens know that the power of love transcends that of hate.

This post first appeared on HuffPost Korea. It has been translated into English and edited for clarity.