Amid the COVID19 pandemic, the South Korean government has relied on contact tracing to find the whereabouts of people infected by the coronavirus. Contrary to all expectations, the system has put the LGBT community at risk and exposed its members to potential violence in society.
It’s a lesson Taiwan should learn from South Korea and reflect on whether the tracking system is an invasion of privacy.
A 31-year-old gay man, who tested positive for the coronavirus after partying in various gay clubs in Seoul, has brought panic among the South Korean society, cementing negative views toward the LGBT community.
As a result of news anchor Kookmin Ilbo’s coverage, some netizens have taken to social media to request donations “to help put a stop to these disgusting endeavors.”
Homosexuality is legal in South Korea and society has become more friendly to the LGBT community in recent years. Yet, the country’s recent reports of a cluster infection in gay bars and clubs have made more difficult for the gay community to fight for their rights.
Last week, South Korean health authorities released 1,500 names of people who had frequented gay bars in the past 7 days and called for COVID-19 testings of all potential contacts.
In a country where LGBT members are reluctant to disclose their sexual orientation, many are afraid to come forward for fear of being abused or bullied.
A 37-year-old IT engineer who had recently been to 3 gay clubs, shared with The Guardian that the company where he worked is very anti-gay. He revealed that his boss and colleagues would say that “all gay men should be put to death in a gas chamber.”
“If they find out that I was at a gay club, they would most likely tell me to leave under some other pretext or make my life there a living hell so I would have no choice but to leave,” he said.