Rainbow Teen Safe Space

by DDing Dong LGBTQ Youth Crisis Support Center
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Rainbow Teen Safe Space
Rainbow Teen Safe Space
Rainbow Teen Safe Space
Rainbow Teen Safe Space
Rainbow Teen Safe Space
Rainbow Teen Safe Space
Rainbow Teen Safe Space
Rainbow Teen Safe Space
Rainbow Teen Safe Space

We signed a contract for our office. We submitted the deposit, and our move-in date is November 7th. While it felt surreal to finally sign a contract, we simultaneously felt a huge sense of responsibility. While visiting real estate offices and looking at office space, we had been concerned about whether or not we would be able to find an office in a convenient and appropriate location considering the financial limit set for the office rental deposit and monthly rental fees. However, we think we’ve found a great space for our three-year Safe Space “incubating” period.

The new space is located in Seongbuk District between Sungshin Women’s University Station and Hansung University Station. The building is easy to find with Seongbuk Stream flowing quietly to its left. We will have the entire floor to ourselves, so we won’t have to worry about being overly considerate of floor-mates. At first we looked for a space in Bomun-dong near Dongmyo Shrine but couldn’t find anything adequate. Still, we’re happy with our location near Hansung University Station, as it is close to major urban neighborhoods such as Jongno, Hyehwa, Dongdaemun, etc., and close to the southern border of Seongbuk District, which is a district located in northern Seoul.

Our hope was to create a community-run counseling center for LGBT youth, and we came to select Seongbuk District for many reasons. After hearing news about our plans to establish the center in Seongbuk, conservative Christian groups began to hold daily one-person protests and pass out fliers in front of the Seongbuk district office. However, we continued forward. Seongbuk is a district with a pro-LGBT rights community, education activists, human rights team, and human rights commission. We thought Seongbuk would be an area where we could gain energy from various other groups. 

Our space is located on the third floor of a five-story building. Unfortunately, however, there is no elevator. The space measures just over 21 pyeong (69 square meters) and has a water supply, so we should be able to create a kitchen in which to share hot meals with our visitors and also install a washing machine. While we are not capable of establishing a shelter at this point, there is at the very least a small resting area where visitors can take a short nap, a space that we plan to use for counseling sessions, and even room to create a space for programs for up to 15 participants. While there is a lot of arranging and decorating to do, we hope to have an opening celebration and around late November or early December at the latest.

While we know we’ve already received a lot of help and support from all of you, we have yet another request. Currently, all we have is a desk, a laptop, and a few file folders. We are in need of plates and blankets and everything else to furnish our new space. Even rice that’s been in the kitchen for a while or side dishes would be helpful. If anyone has any items at home that aren’t being used, we’d gladly take them off your hands in late November-early December. ^^

Our efforts to create a safe space for LGBT youth… We’ve come so far, in a society has no interest in the crises and discrimination that sexual minorities face. With a little more effort, more hope, and more interest, we can raise the bar on LGBT human rights.

We heard a story at the 20th anniversary celebration for Yeollim-teo Korea National Counseling Center for Sexual Assault. When the center first tried to open a shelter for victims of incest and sexual abuse, building managers, just by hearing the term “sexual assault counseling center” did not want to rent out their units. When we signed our contract, we told the building manager that we were going to open a counseling and education center for youth in crisis. We didn’t, however, mention that these youth were LGBT youth. The manager praised us for doing good work. We contemplated hard about going a step further and sharing more information with the building manager, but we decided to stop there – that way the youth visiting the center won’t have to deal with as many stares. For now, however, we are just happy to have met a nice landlord.

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At the NYC Pride, June 29
At the NYC Pride, June 29

Rainbow Teen Safe Space : The fourth letter to our donors

August 9 2014


Rainbow Teen Safe Space will soon be launched. The project has been focusing on fund-raising activities so far. Now it is time for a new round of dealing with organizational issues. On July 13, we had a meeting to talk about a new organizational structure for this project to be a common cause of the LGBT human rights movement. We decided to set up the secretariat and hire a full-time staff to set out the street counseling program in September. The secretariat will share the office with Solidarity for LGBT Human Rights of Korea. We are also in preparation to form an advisory committee of experts in various areas such as law, medical care, counseling and human rights.


We believe that we can tell you news on street counseling activities in the next letter. This letter demonstrates our fund-raising activities which have been done so far.


On July 7, the 15th Korea Queer Festival was held in Seoul. More than ten thousands of people took part in the pride parade this year. Unlike the previous parade we faced homophobic bigots trying to disrupt the parade. They even lay down in the street to block the parade. The police's lukewarm attitude and the uncooperative local authority aggravated the situation in which participants managed to march after a long wait and sit-in at night around 9.


Rainbow Teen Safe Space ran a booth selling T-shirts and souvenirs and raised 1,200$ at the festival. Google Korea employees who took part in the festival donated 800$ which is earned from their booth event to Rainbow Teen Safe Space. Google Company will match the funds, too.  


Two activists from Solidarity for LGBT Human Rights of Korea and Korean gay human rights group Chingusai who were funded by the Beautiful Foundation visited LGBTQ groups in NYC from June 27 to July 5. They took part in the New York Pride.


One of the purposes of their visitwas to learn about fund-raising and general operation of LGBT youth shelters in New York. They visited Ali Forney Center and Sylvia's Place where provide various services for LGBT youths in crisis and found that they could be good examples to Rainbow Teen Safe Space. Although it is not comparable with Korean situation in respect that both places are operating with supports from the state and federal government, shelter activists showed great interest in our project. They advised; "Shelter activists should be ready to deal with bias, fear and inconvenience when they meet LGBT youths who are already hurt so much." "Transparency in financial management is imperative and it is important to be accountable to your donors.", "For stable, lasting operation of the shelter, the role of fundraiser is important."


On July 3 evening, screening event of Miracle on Jongno Street (Dir.Hyuk-sang Lee, 2010, documentary) for Rainbow Teen Safe Space was held in Project Reach hall in New York and raised 1,060$. When we got back to Korea and went to the bank for exchanging, a bank teller asked us how we got a bundle of old one-dollar bills.


On July 19, screening of <out: Smashing Homophobia Project> for fundraising was held. The movie made in 2007 is about violence and discrimination LGBT youth face in the family and at schools. More than 30 people attended the screening and talk about lives of LGBT youth today still in hardship with the director and a person in the documentary.


On July 22, LGBT human rights activists including me had a meeting with Seoul Education Superintendent. It was just 30-minute-long meeting but we could talk about LGBT youths confronted with various difficulties at schools. We emphasized the need for a survey of LGBT students and a LGBT counseling instruction book for teacher training.


We haven’t reached our fundraising goal yet. For the street counseling activities to start on a solid foundation, please join our fundraising effort for Rainbow Teen Safe Space project. If you, donors' help come together, it would be such a great strength to all of us.


With a thankful mind as always,

August, 2014

Min-seok, Jeong Project Leader from Solidarity for LGBT Human Rights of Korea


Rainbow Teen Safe Space Fundraising


With Jack Bethke (Ali Forney Center)
With Jack Bethke (Ali Forney Center)


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4.27 Bazzar for donation
4.27 Bazzar for donation

Rainbow Teen Safe Space project: A third letter to our donors.


Since the website for the domestic fundraising (http://lgbtpride.or.kr/safespace) was opened on Apr 1, we have been making transparently a disclosure of the breakdown of our fundraising via the website once a month. On Apr 2, we had an opportunity to introduce Rainbow Teen Safe Space Project, along with LGBT human rights activists in Korea.


Rainbow Teen Safe Space as a first-ever project carried out in Korea has began with many expectation and concerns from more than 20 visitors, and they also gave good advice on the project. In particular, they worried about Korean government has never paid attention on planning a programe or project, and there are many institutional barriers in setting up shelters for LGBT youths. However, a shelter for LGBT youths is essential and they desperately need street counselling. They are suffering from abandonment from their family and school, and even churches are not supportive for them. Our proejct would be independently operated without any help from the government for the time being(perhaps it would be such a long time), and therefore, Global Giving fundraising must be going successful. We need funds to directly support LGBT youths, and from a perspective of care and changeover, we should actively address how wrong perception of LGBT youths the counselling groups for youths or the operators of youth shelters have, and how they make the dangerous the risky situation LGBT youths are facing even worse.


On Apr 27, we held a charity bazaar to support Rainbow Teen Safe Space project. It was the first fundraising event held for LGBT youth people in korea. So many people donated for the bazaar so we raised about 1,170 USD. We also made momentos like T-shirts and note pad. Through those the momentos, we are disseminating the significance of Rainbow Teen Safe Space Project.


We had met people who provide counselling for run-away youths, working at Moving Youth Center(EXIT). They gave advice on operational tips of the counselling and how we should maintain the relationships with youth people because we should start Street-Counselling for LGBT youths soon. They were very favorable to our suggestion of going with EXIT and meeting LGBT youth people. We also paid a visit to Youth Health Center. The organisation provides health check-up services to female youths who are engaged in prostitution and helps them stand on their own feet by providing vocational trainings. The Center workers showed their sympathy with the necessity of Rainbow Teen Safe Space Project and agreed to give full support when their helps are in need.


We have reached to one third of the goal amount through Global Giving nd the domestic fundraising. We are in course of preparation to meet LGBT youths from Sep. We appeal sincerely more your attention and participation in the donation.


Lastly, I would like to speak about myself. I have met so many LGBT youth people for the last 10 years while working in DongInRyun(Solidarity for LGBT human rights of Korea). I feel relief to see some of the youths I met came of age, some working, and some back to school. But, I have witnessed the death of three youth people in 1997, 2003, and 2013, who I had known. All their passing was mostly caused by family abuse, bullying from the school and sufferings or conflicts with religion. But it was not easy to figure out positive alternatives that can support them and save. There was no funds, no social attention and no space where they can go even if they desperately needed them. Those situation has not much changed. We can no longer postpone sparing safe space where they can go, rest, study, meet friends who have same sufferings and learn about human rights. Thus, we started up Rainbow Teen Safe Space Project to prepare the safe space for them. It may be taking long time to build the space, but if you, donors' help comes together, it would be such a great strength to all of us.


Please come and join with us.


With a thankful heart as always.


May. 2014

Min-seok, Jeong Project Leader from Solidarity for LGBT Human Rights of Korea

T-shirts "You are safe HERE"
T-shirts "You are safe HERE"


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June-young Lee / Min-seok Jeong
June-young Lee / Min-seok Jeong

The Second Letter to the Global Giving Donors


It has been two months since we started fundraising through Global Giving so that we can provide a safe haven to LGBTQ Korean teens. The organizers are waiting for the day to come so that we can provide counseling sessions to the Korean LGBTQteens who are not protected by homes and schools and give them snacks and necessities. We have not started street counseling yet. The reason is because we have not met our budget in fundraising. However, we believe that we will be able to start street counseling for Korean queer youth as the number of donors go up.


On December 30th of 2013, the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education(SMOE) announced a revision to the Seoul Students' Rights Ordinance after being pressured from the religious right of South Korea. The revision was to exclude language protecting sexual minorities by erasing the terms "sexual orientation" and "sexual identity" from the ordinance. However, after the announcement, SMOE received numerous complaints about the revision. Last January 14th, 1,232 Korean LGBTQ teens signed a petition and made a counter-declaration on the revision, mentioning "Do not erase our existence." The Rainbow Teen Safe Space Project organizers also attended this event and publicly opposed the revision of the Seoul Students' Rights Ordinance. The Seoul Metropolitan Council will soon discuss on whether to exclude LGBTQ teens from the ordinance or to keep them in it.


Last January 15th, Dong In Ryeon members attended the National Cham Gyo Yuk (True Education) Practice Rally, which was organized by Korean Teachers and Education Workers' Union. They installed a booth to advertise the Rainbow Teen Safe Space project to school teachers who came to the event, and also was on the panel of a debate on homophobic violence against LGBTQ teens and the roles of teachers and schools.


As there is a social movement to eradicate Korean LGBTQ teens, more attention is needed to the issue. The Korean government, which should be responsible to provide a safe space to Korean LGBTQ youth, is not showing any interest to do so. There are no street counseling programs for Korean queer youth. When we reach our fundraising goal, we will be able to start street counseling. Please join us in this cause! We do not know a lot of people who can donate. I hope the recipients of this letter can introduce Rainbow Teen Safe Space to others.


With many thanks,


February, 2014

Minseok, Jeong

Project Leader from Solidarity for LGBT Human Rights of Korea




* The following is my personal statement delivered at the declaration of 1,232 Korean LGBTQ teens in front of Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education on January 14th. I am sharing this to all who are interested in the Rainbow Teen Safe Space project. 


"According to the Fact-finding Study of Human Rights of Children in Seoul(2012), only 29% of students responded that they were willing to be friends with sexual minorities and only 15.1% of parents were willing to be amicable. This shows the reality of Korean LGBTQ teens not being regarded as a friend.


There has been Korean queer youth being verbally assaulted, threatened for physical contact, or having their personal belongings ruined. What is worse, there have been Korean LGBTQ youth testifying that they were spit at, punched in the face, kicked at, and even assaulted by a weapon.


There is more research being done that conclude that these sexual minority youth are in danger of committing suicide, being abused, being assaulted within human relationship and experiencing trauma. However, the Korean society is ignoring the reality of what these teenagers are facing as well as trying to eradicate them and silencing them, and this is very troubling.


How many LGBTQ youth have to get hurt? How many LGBTQ youth have to lose their lives? And how many LGBTQ youth have to leave their schools and homes?


10 years ago, a gay teenager had committed suicide, and another teenager passed away last December. I question the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education; what is your response to these teenagers when they asked if a person like them are deserved to be loved?


Erasing the terms 'sexual orientation' and 'sexual identity' from the grounds of discrimination not only means that LGBTQ youth are eradicated from schools but also means that the hovering discrimination and hate towards sexual minorities in the education field are overlooked. Therefore, it is terrifying to even think about what will happen in the future.


Just because we cannot see it does not mean it is not there. It is not seen because we never tried to look at it. I wonder if the Korean society ever tried to look at the lives of Korean LGBTQ youth. Has our society ever sincerely listened to the voices of young teenagers who stress about the fact that their sexual orientation is different than their peers or that they are born with a different gender than their physical body? We do not need the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education to create a selective and partial Seoul Students' Rights Ordinance. What we need at this moment is to enhance the human rights of overlooked sexual minority students and diminish the danger that they may encounter.


The SMOE must focus on this declaration. Actually, the SMOE must focus on the anger of the Korean LGBTQ youth. The attempt of the revision of the ordinance must stop at once, so that the ordinance can do its job. Do not forget that this is the fundamental and the first step of upholding human rights."


Minseok Jeong

Solidarity for LGBT Human Rights of Korea


Press Conference
Press Conference


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1125 Rainbow Teen Safe Space project . 


The Rainbow Teen Safe Space project started on the 25th of November. Thank you very much for your precious donations. By December 31st, we have raised $6,163 from 72 donors. I am thrilled to say that we can have a successful start on the first stage - street counseling - of creating a safe haven for Korean LGBTQ youth.


. 1210 , HIV/AIDS . 

There is some news that is heartbreaking and aggravating. On December 10th, the Human Rights Day, Seongbuk District Office of Seoul Metropolitan Government planned to hold a proclamation ceremony of the Declaration of Human Rights of the Citizens of Seongbuk-gu, which is the first to include citizens' human rights of sexual minorities and HIV/AIDS patients. However, more than 100 homophobic citizens barged into the ceremony hall while screaming and creating havoc. The proclamation ceremony could not be held and Dong In Ryeon members, including me, could not but leave the hall due to the violent threats that were thrown to my face.


1224 Rainbow Teen Safe Space project .

On Christmas Eve, a brother of Open Doors Community Church, which is one of the organizations working in the Rainbow Teen Safe Space project, attempted suicide and left us to a better place. Like one of the nightmares of Christmas, sexual minorities and affirming churches in South Korea mourned for his death. I had a counseling session with him for the first time when he was in his second year of high school. He was in conflict with his sexual identity back then, and I suggested he participate in a human rights program for LGBTQ youth set up by Dong In Ryeon. He seemed to be needing a peer. I still can not forget the question he asked me, "Can a person like me be loved by God?" He was shunned from his conservative church but also was cared and loved by the LGBTQ Christians he knew. At such a young age of 20, he left the church that didn't love him and left us for good.


 2014, Rainbow Teen Safe Space project .

And on December 30th, Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education (SMOE) announced a revision of the Seoul Students' Rights Ordinance to delete the words 'sexual orientation' and 'gender identity' from the grounds of discrimination. This was the result of conservative Christians pressuring SMOE with homophobia. And the conservative superintendent of education now wants to make an incomplete students' rights ordinance that doesn't even secure students' rights. This is very aggravating. The Seoul Students' Rights Ordinance, which was legislated in 2011, stipulates the minimal requirement of schools to never violate the autonomy of the students, to secure students' rights, and to strive to uphold the rights of minorities. (The Seoul Students' Rights Ordinance was the second to be legislated following that of Gyeonggi Province. No other local government has legislated an ordinance of this sort.) The LGBTQ Human Rights Movement stated that omitting 'sexual orientation' and 'gender identity' from the grounds of discrimination indicates 'removing sexual minorities from schools' and is actively protesting against this. As of 2014, our fight to save the Seoul Students' Rights Ordinance must go on with the preparation of Rainbow Teen Safe Space.


. . . . . . . , . .

The anti-homosexual movement in South Korea is getting stronger day by day. Those who are against homosexuals are shamelessly campaigning in the streets and accusing homosexuals in public. They are trying to persuade the public with absurd logic that homosexuality is harmful to teenagers and that homosexuality will demolish families. This is a regression to the LGBT movement that took so long to move forward. The Seoul Students' Rights Ordinance is the first step. If we step back, we will lose so much. Please notice that Korean LGBTQ teens are the most vulnerable bracket to social homophobia. When exposed to it, teenagers are apt to cower in schools and homes more than before. Moreover, Korean LGBTQ teens can face more danger after they leave their schools and homes. When the Students' Rights Ordinance which is the only shield for teenagers regresses, more incidents are to occur.


2014 . 

Solidarity for LGBT Human Rights of Korea (Dong In Ryeon) is laying out the 2014 agenda and planning more active street campaigns. Dong In Ryeon will try harder to reveal the stories of LGBTQ teens and raise their voices.


LGBT . Rainbow Teen Safe Space project .

I ask of you to spread the status of LGBT human rights in South Korea. And please advocate Rainbow Teen Safe Space so that more people can donate to the project. When we reach our goal, we can start street counseling for LGBTQ teens. We will be able to be active for Korean LGBTQ teens that neither the national or local government, nor any teenage center has ever took notice of.



Many thanks,



January 2nd, 2014



Rainbow Teen Safe Space Project Leader of Solidarity of LGBT Human Rights of Korea,

Min-seok, Jeong

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Organization Information

DDing Dong LGBTQ Youth Crisis Support Center

Location: Seoul - South Korea
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @DDingDong119
Project Leader:
Hochan Seon
Gangbuk-gu, Seoul South Korea
$208,378 raised of $250,000 goal
4,730 donations
$41,622 to go
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