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Youth Festival in Mokpo, 8th September 2007.

Wandering down to the Peace Plaza water-front last Saturday morning, a Canadian friend and I surprised upon a youth festival gearing up for a day of action.

Aside from the empty festival stage awaiting the afternoons activities of pansori and latin dance routines, there were an interesting assortment of giggling high-school kids dressed in Anime inspired costumes and teen-age magicians who pounced upon unsuspecting punters with illusion tricks.  Surrounding the festival area were stalls offering a multitude of activities ranging from craft making, finger nail art and english essay competitions (they wouldn't let us enter) to a stall demonstrating how to put a condom on a wooden dildo.

Read that last bit again. Yes folks, particularly those who concern themselves with Korea's sometimes 'less than liberal' approach to education and other things cultural, this youth festival came complete with a sexuality stall.

My friend and I were impressed, not only with the safe sex education but also with the large, colourful board display which showed pictures of goodlooking same sex people kissing and goodlooking transgender people just hanging out being goodlooking.

There was no hint of prudity (is that a verb?) and the women and young people running the stall were open and good humoured to our questions and antics.  They didn't mind when I gave the 'boy' plastic display model a cheerful erection (by detaching his downturned member and turning it the other way around), and women burst into laughter when my friend held up the modest sized wooden phallus being used for condom application and asked  'Korean size?'

All up it was incredibly positive to see this kind of openess towards sexuality happening on our back-door.  Which is why I consider this to be a good thing, happening in Korea.