Rainbow Connection Project
Rainbow Connection Project (RCP) is a series of research projects using epidemiological study methods with the goal to understand and promote the health of LGBT people in South Korea.
There are numerous academic studies that have delved into the health and lives of LGBT people. However, there are significant limitations in directly applying the findings of such existing and ongoing studies from developed nations, where same-sex marriage is legally recognized and/or discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity are prohibited by legislation, to South Korea to understand the health and lives of South Korean LGBT people. For South Korea to arrive at a society where an individual, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, can be treated with due respect and remain free from undue discrimination, and to ultimately enjoy a healthy and fulfilling life, academic studies deeply rooted within the South Korean society is imperative. RCP wishes to play this much needed role of conducting insightful research projects on the health and lives of LGBT people in South Korea.
The principal investigator of RCP is Prof. Seung-Sup Kim at the Department of Public Health Sciences, Korea University, South Korea. Prof. Kim is currently also affiliated as a visiting scientist at the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health.
As the first RCP project (2016.06 – 2016.12), we are conducting a nationwide survey to understand the social environment and health of South Korean adult gays, lesbians, and bisexuals, in collaboration with the Korean Gay Men’s Human Rights Group Chingusai (https://chingusai.net/xe/). Prof. Ilan H. Meyer at the Williams Institute for Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at UCLA’s School of Law is also collaborating with RCP to translate three different survey measures from English to Korean: (1) ’Internalized Homophobia’, (2) ’Expectation of Rejection’, and (3) ’Connectedness to the LGBT Community’.
The second project (2017.02- 2017.08) will examine medical accessibility and health of South Korean transgender adults in collaboration with Korean Transgender Human Right Organization (http://transgender.or.kr/). We plan to conduct our third project in 2018 on social experience and health of South Korean LGBTQ adolescents.