Summer’s finally here, so whether you’re a disco diva, a wallflower or a leading man, it’s time to get gussied up and shake your booty for a good cause. Besides, how often can you check out a drag show Korea?
Entry to the First Annual Drag King and Queen Prom is 5,000 won with proceeds going to Chingusai (Korean for ‘between friends’), a non-profit human rights organization that has worked tirelessly in the Korean gay and lesbian community for 20 years. They’ve served as a welcoming safe haven and promoted HIV/AIDS education and prevention, all with a view for creating a society without discrimination.
Chingusai is engaged in public events, counseling of and research on sexual minority families, and programs for the improvement of middle and high school teachers’ understanding of gay and lesbian teenagers.
Like many countries around the globe, South Korea is still in the process of coming to terms with a gay and lesbian community. At present there is a lack of proper education and seemingly endless misinformation regarding gays and lesbians in Korea, with a fair amount of the population unaware or in denial that they even exist.
This creates a two-fold problem: those who wish to express themselves freely often run into the towering walls of misconception and prejudice. Another dilemma is that many gay and lesbian Koreans view themselves as being safe from STDs and HIV, as long as they avoid encounters with foreigners and only engage in sexual relations with fellow Koreans.
The education and representation that organizations like Chingusai provide is vital to the largely closeted gay and lesbian community in Korea, which, according to Utopia Asia, a gay and lesbian Internet resource for Asia, numbers as many as 4 million—few of which feel they can live an open life, free of discrimination.
Drag Prom organizers are hopeful that events like this will raise the much-needed funds Chingusai requires to continue their pioneering work and establish a vital link between foreign and Korean communities, regardless of sexual orientation.
Why wait until Halloween to get dressed up? Put on your big hair, outrageous makeup and top it off with the prettiest (or ugliest) prom dress you can find! There are no limits. Glitter, puffy sleeves, crimped hair, tuxedos, flares—anything goes, just make it fabulous! Of course, no one will be turned away regardless of what they wear, but the dress-up options waiting to be discovered in the second-hand shops of Nampo-dong and KSU are cheap and plentiful, if that’s the only thing holding you back.
To keep you on the dance floor, DJ Griff will be spinning the best 70s disco and 80s pop, and the Almost Famous crew will take care of you all night with drink specials—including prom-style punch, spiked to perfection.
The event has received phenomenal support and prizes from the local business community, so there will be prizes galore from LUSH Skincare, Sharky’s and Young Na Hair, to name a few. Some talented locals will be entertaining you with a special drag show later in the evening and we’ll be looking for a prom king and queen to crown at midnight.
So come on the arm of the captain of the football team or the head cheerleader! Come with the nerds, the chess club or the foreign exchange student! Come stag… just come! You don’t want to miss this.
For a map to Almost Famous, go here.
Main illustration by psychyginger
Related article: Queer Parade Held in Seoul (Korea Times)