Definition of Love - Rainbow Action Petition

by Rainbow Action, 21/04/2014

The National Institute of the Korean Language (abbreviated as NIKL) had accepted a proposal from university students that "heterosexual-centered language leads to discrimination against sexual minorities," and amended the definition of 'love' in the Korean Standard Dictionary at the end of 2012. Previously, love was defined as 'passionate and romantic feeling towards the opposite sex' and they decided to replace 'towards the opposite sex' to 'towards someone.'

Several (opposing) groups including the Countermeasure Committee for Homosexuality Problems, The Commission of Churches in Korea and other conservative Christian organizations held public demonstrations to insist that NIKL specify the 'union of opposite genders' in the definition of words such as love, relationship and lovers on the ground that this measure 'will instigate homosexuality.' NIKL surrendered to their pressure and the definition of 'love', 'affection' and 'romance' to that of heterosexuality.

This measure violates NIKL's mission statements of "increasing language-life convenience through supplementing linguistic standards" and "improving the environment of using the Korean language for smooth communication" as it negates human rights values and the existence of sexual minorities in South Korea.

love: romantic and affectionate feeling between the opposite sex
romance: A man and a woman miss and love each other
affection: Longing for each other between the opposite sex; or that incidents

A petition is being circulated by Rainbow Action demanding that NIKL withdraw the recent amendments as they are severely discriminatory and heterosexual-centered. The deadline for signing the petition is 14 May as it will be send to NIKL on 16 May. 

Rainbow Action is a coalition of sexual minority organisations in Korea, is asking help from all supporters of human rights to "help us protect the value of 'love' and 'human rights' against any and all anti-sexual minority force.

At the center of the LGBT-phobic in Korea are conservative Christian forces and since the late 2000s, they have launched aggressive campaigns to block the human rights of sexual minorities in public spaces and knock down what the human rights campaigns for sexual minorities have already achieved.

In late 2007, during the legislation of an anti-discrimination law, a fundamental law of Korea which bans discrimination based on age, gender, disability, academic and military backgrounds, sexual orientation etc., organizations such as ‘Coalition For Moral Sexuality’ and ‘Committee For Homosexual Issues’ launched counter campaigns. And in 2011 they opposed the Students’ Human Rights Ordinance of Seoul City Council, arguing that it promotes homosexuality. Furthermore, they have opposed media dealings with homosexuality and transgender such as , as well as attempting to stop Lady Gaga’s live concerts and the screening of the film .

In 2013, they requested NIKL to limit the definition of ‘sarang (love)’ to that of heterosexuals. Also, they argued that textbooks mentioning human rights of sexual minorities promote homosexuality and have pressured to have homophobic perspectives mentioned in school textbooks.

These are the major forces who block the repeal of the article 92-6 of Korean Military Penalty Code and legislation of anti discrimination laws.

Click here to sign the petition. 

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