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The Korea Now Podcast

Oct 6, 2019

This episode of the Korea Now podcast features an interview that Jed Lea-Henry conducted with Joe Phillips. They speak about the landscape of LGBTQ rights in South Korea, the absence of legal protections for this community, the cultural atmosphere of intolerance and indifference that traditionally has existed in the country towards sexual minorities, the emerging presence of pro-rights movements despite this social and cultural climate, the lack of real political representation for the LGBTQ community, the legal rulings that have affected the realization of full LGBTQ rights, the resistance and counter-activism of evangelical communities, the indicators of demographic change, how the military deals with questions of LGBTQ soldiers, the role and reach of religious schools and universities, and the possible future of LGBTQ rights in South Korea.

Joe Phillips is an Associate Professor in the Department of Global Studies at Pusan National University, the Director of the Human Rights Center at Pusan National University, and a Research Fellow at Yonsei Human Liberty Center. For six years, he piloted the creation of Pusan National University’s Department of Global Studies, and his current academic research focuses on human rights, corporate social responsibility, international relations, and law. Pertinent to this podcast, Joe is the author of: ‘Evangelical Christian Discourse in South Korea on the LGBT: the Politics of Cross-Border Learning’ (, ‘Queer Communities and Activism in South Korea: Periphery-Center Currents’ (, ‘Gay Seouls: Expanding Religious Spaces for Non- Heterosexuals in South Korea’ (, ‘Debating Same-Sex Marriage: Lessons from Loving, Roe, and Reynolds’ (

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