Here’s a breakdown of how Korea Queer Culture Festival (Gay Pride) was this year, minute by minute, hour by hour.
11.30am: With a happy heart and excited buzz, I catapulted myself into my never-before-worn Kylie Minogue tour t-shirt. Being a few sizes to small, this was no mean feat. Stomach sucked in, Red Bull downed, I hotfooted it out the door into the blazing summer day and headed to Suwon Station to meet a few of my fellow revellers.
12.00pm (Beer O’clock): At the station we began the heady task of drinking while we waited for the fashionably late few who had over exerted themselves the night before at one of the many bars in Suwon. Tickets purchased, platform located – off we went to Seoul.
2.00pm: We arrived and stocked up on the good old Soju. We located the site of the party near Jonggak Station. A lovely little riverside camp had emerged, just for the occasion. Rainbow flags hung high, people laughed and took in the sun. I quickly scouted the guys giving out free hugs and went in for the kill. When in Rome…
3.30pm: The strains of Beyonce filled party central as an impersonator in drag took to the stage. Was Seoul ready for this jelly? Damn right we were! I nearly slipped a disc doing the ‘Single Ladies’ routine and broke a Havaiana in the process. More Soju? Yes please! Dance troupes followed and the crowd lapped it up. Especially the dude squat thrusting in a thong. Legend.
4.45pm: On stage festivities over, the party moved to the streets where the few floats were fired up and ready to roll. Semi naked boys filled one; sexy lesbians writhed on another. The tunes pumped and the proud posse marched behind. I was a little jealous to look up and see one of my good friends sandwiched between two Korean beefcakes on a float and made it my mission to get on too.
5.15pm: The floats where busy winding their way back to the start of the parade. Everyone was having the time of their lives and we were all feeling the love. I made a snap decision to make a grab for the aforementioned float and broke my other Havaiana mid leap – FAIL. Someone took pity and gave me a leg-up. I tried to look cool as I clung to the back of a truck surrounded by drag queens and jockstraps, clutching two snapped sandals and a bottle of Soju.
5.20pm: Getting into my stride the float pulled to a stop and we were told to get down. To say I was upset would be an understatement: I was devastated. I had won the battle but not the war, and now looked like an utter hobo to boot. Pride is a bitch sometimes.
6.00pm: Back at Pride headquarters we continued the revelling. During a brief moment of contemplation I lay back and rested my tired gay old eyes. Feeling something wet and cold on my ear I woke to find a dog in a rainbow flag sniffing my head. Amazing! Even the gay animals were out in force. I felt bad for Sparkie, my gay hamster. I should have brought him along.
7.00pm (ish…): Feeling very blurry, we decided to take the party to the Hill. After what seemed a lifetime of speaking nonsense to the poor taxi driver he dropped us in Itaewon and we headed straight for the nearest junk food establishment. Reminiscing about the day, we laughed and shared stories. Seoul had done us proud. A truly wonderful and inspiring day, give or take a couple of broken bones and shoes. I’ll definitely be back in 2013 – if they’ll have me. And next time I want my own float.
Written by Christopher Lawless
Images by Chincha and Brittney Wilson