A: Well, they might as well be. And in the Korean military, they’re (still) very much a crime. A captain in the army was recently found guilty of having (consensual) homosexual relationship and sentenced to 6 months in prison (1 year probation).
Outside the military, there is no law (in Korea) which specifically outlaws homosexual relationships. In that sense, you could say they’re legal. But there is no overarching anti-discrimination law either. So in Korea, it’s generally legal (right now) to discriminate against anyone LGBTQ (or on the basis of race, age…).
But to me, homophobia seems a bigger problem than racism (in Korea). To me, homophobia seems more widespread across all age groups + more easily acquiesced. The main reasoning against homosexuality (I’ve heard so far): 1) It’s responsible for widely spreading STDs and HIV/AIDS, 2) Their behavior comes across as too flamboyant/tawdry (i.e., an anathema), and 3) Homosexuality is a treatable mental disorder (i.e., an aberration of the mind).
I have my own metric for measuring the maturity of a society. That metric is: How free are people able to simply be themselves w/o (express or implied) prejudice or persecution?
“Every day is a fight. For respect. For dignity. For sanity.”
– The slogan for a TV show I used to watch called Boston Public.