Filipino student kicked out of Korean school for being gayBy Nathan Schwartzman Nov 18, 2010 12:27PM UTC
Original article in Korean is here.
His light purple eyeshadow glowed softly over his long eyelashes. He has neat bobbed hair. He is 24-year-old “P”, a gay (homosexual) man from The Philippines who appears to be a woman. He has been attending a Catholic graduate school in Seoul since September.
However, at the end of month the school expelled him from the men’s dormitory because he is gay. Baseless rumors about him had circulated in the dormitory, such as that he “has women’s underwear” and “uses the women’s bathroom”, and eventually they came to the attention of the school. An employee of the school went to him and demanded that he leave the dormitory.
He protested that “the rumors are not true and no student has been harmed” but to no avail. The school told him that “your actions are immoral, violate the rules of the dormitory, and do not comport with Korean culture”. In the end “P” picked up his bags. “I didn’t do anything wrong, but I guess they thought that it seemed other students had been harmed because of me.”
However, he was unable to sign the letter of academic withdrawal the school placed in front of him. He could not agree to cease his studies because he is gay. He said, “I majored in communications at university in The Philippines, and I strongly desire to do my graduate studies in Korea and be a cultured person.” He went to a Catholic university in The Philippines. His sexual identity caused no problems there. His mother understands her son’s sexual identity and calls him “a beautiful gay man”. In May he went for an admissions interview with the same physical appearance as today, and it went unremarked.
But now his situation is grim. Just three months after entering the school he is to be unfairly expelled. The scholarship that paid for all of his tuition is to be cut off. The school, which establishes the rules for the English dormitory, had promised him a full scholarship for his English ability. The school explained, “the scholarship is dependent on residence in the dormitory, so after leaving it he cannot receive the scholarship.” Without a scholarship he cannot continue his studies.
“P” went to the Philippine Embassy at the end of last month to try and resist academic withdrawal, but was told “just say you will withdraw from the school.” The school said, “students in the dormitory were upset and so he was expelled from it, and it has not been decided whether he will be expelled from the school.”
He said, “I didn’t know that my dream of studying in Korea could crumble because of my sexual identity… I feel so sad when I think of how Korean sexual minorities are treated so badly.” He added, “if you say I can be expelled from a Korean school for being gay, well, I am happy to fight that.”