Queer Communities and Activism in South Korea: Periphery-Center Currents

Joe Phillips, Joseph Yi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Research into South Korea’s LGBT+ communities is growing but still very limited, especially regarding communities in Busan and other urban areas outside the capital city, Seoul. We collected and analyzed responses from young LGBT+ who resided in the periphery and center and who described the two communities, their activist tactics, the connections/separations between them, and periphery-center characteristics of dialogue with opponents and participation in Korea’s conservative, evangelical Christian churches. We reveal attitudinal and behavioral differences between Seoul and Busan (and other outlying areas), and we suggest that the differences reflect, in part, physical, social, and psychological distances between LGBT+ residing in the periphery and center. In time, outlying areas may converge with the center, imitating, though perhaps incompletely, Seoul’s strong identity activism and more integrated community, or the periphery may pursue an independent, local identity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1948-1973
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Homosexuality
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Dec 5

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This article was supported by Hanyang University Research Fund. We thank the anonymous Journal of Homosexuality reviewers and the editor, John P. Elia, for their invaluable comments on an earlier version of this article. We also thank Johnny Ha, Sungbin Kim, and Tae-yeon Kwon who provided indispensable assistance with data collection. Any inaccuracies are our own.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Psychology(all)


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