“Homosexuality is a Threat to Our Family and Nation”: Korean Protestant Right’s Anti-LGBT Movement

Lecture by Dr. Nami Kim at Pacific School of Religion on February 18th at 6:00 p.m. Experiencing the slowdown of the domestic church growth, Korean Protestant Christianity entered the phase of post-hypermasculine developmentalism. Hypermasculine developmentalism characterized not only the society’s rapid industrialization and urbanization during the three decades of military regimes but also the “miraculous” growth of Korean Protestant Christianity from 1960s until late 1980s. The Protestant Right, a subset of Korean Protestant Christianity, resurfaced as a unified social and political force in the post-hypermasculine developmentalism period. The reemerged Protestant Right that combines conservative evangelical/fundamentalist gendered theology with social and political conservatism, wittingly or unwittingly, engaged hegemonic masculinity by redefining, reclaiming, or reasserting it.The Protestant Right’s anti-LGBT movement has shown its reassertion of hegemonic masculinity in relation to sexual minorities and gender nonconforming people. This talk discusses the ways in which the Protestant Right has led the anti-LGBT movement in South Korea. It will specifically examine three loci of the Protestant Right’s anti-gay bashing: mass media, the grade school, and the military, and expose the complex but often hidden interplay between homophobia, heterosexism, anticommunism, and ethnocentric nationalism of conservative Korean Protestant Christianity.