An estimated 85,000 revelers took to the streets of Seoul, South Korea over the weekend for the city’s largest Pride celebration ever.
The event’s apparently record turnout drew a fair share of detractors, too ― namely hundreds of conservative Christians, who staged a demonstration outside Seoul’s City Hall urging LGBTQ people to “return to Jesus Christ,” the AFP reported.
What those protesters couldn’t have predicted, however, is that Jesus himself would appear at Pride to reassure them that, yes, he loves queer people, too. Photos and video of two Pride attendees countering the anti-LGBTQ demonstrators in full biblical regalia quickly swept the internet.
One of the men dressed as Jesus was identified by The Irish Examiner as 27-year-old Robert Evans, an American expatriate who has been living in Seoul for four years. The photographer, who identifies as straight, said he felt inspired to spread an all-inclusive message in support of his queer friends after he experienced discrimination firsthand at the city’s Pride two years ago.
“Walking amongst them and feeling [the protesters’] pure hatred directed right at me as if I was gay was an unforgettable moment,” he told The Irish Examiner. “The hate was tangible and intense, and as a straight western male, I had never felt anything like it.”
Noting that he bears “some resemblance to the classic representation of Jesus” in his day-to-day life, Evans said he felt it “would be meaningful to present an alternative interpretation” of Christ’s teachings.
“Korea still has a long way to go in terms of rights and acceptance but I’m glad to see and be a part of the small steps it is making in the right direction,” he said. “Every year Pride gets bigger, the protests get smaller, and the long road towards equality gets a little bit shorter.”
As it turns out, “Jesus” is quite fond of taking part in inclusive events. In 2014, a man dressed as Christ appeared at Chicago’s Pride parade, shutting down anti-LGBTQ protesters with a sign that read “I’m Not With These Guys.” A year earlier, another man in Christ-like garb attended the 2013 AIDS Walk Los Angeles to protest people with anti-gay signs.
Well played, Jesus(es)!
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