As many of you know already, I’ll be running in the 2017 New York City Marathon, which will take place this Sunday, November 5th 2017. I am super excited not only because this is my first ever full marathon but also because I will be running 26.2 miles through the streets of the very city that I now call my home.
I set up this fundraising page to support the cause that I very much cherish and believe in. It is to support a group that provides shelters for LGBTQ teenagers in South Korea, called Dding Dong.
I remember how difficult it was to grow up as an LGBTQ member in Korea. I couldn’t tell my family and friends about a boy who I had crush on but had to keep it secret. I feared being seen or labelled as “homo” or girlish. Above all, I could not see myself in 5 years, 10 years and 20 years because in Korea, where any sexual orientations other than heterosexuality are not socially accepted, there were supposedly no gay people.
And I came to the U.S. Wesleyan, my alma mater, with student body that is so socially conscious and open-minded, taught me it is okay to be whoever I want to be. After graduation, I moved to New York City, which turned out to be the best decision that I have made in my life. Countless public figures in New York were out as LGBTQ members. Friends I made in this city were welcoming and accepting when I came out to them. More importantly, I made personal connections with so many wonderful people who were not only passionate about their life but also confident and true to themselves. They became my role models and through them I learned to embrace myself and be myself. Three years of New York have truly been an empowering process, and I now know by heart that being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transsexual is just as fine and normal as being straight.
Being oneself seems easy but it can be extremely difficult for some people when the society doesn’t accept their identity. Just like myself 10 years ago, LGBTQ youth in South Korea are going through tough times not only with their family and friends but also with themselves. I was very fortunate to have experienced this very city, but these teenagers in Korea still would not know that they are worthy of love just by being themselves.
Your donations will help the organization provide counseling services and purchase food supplies and other necessities for homeless LGBTQ teenagers in Korea. Any amount helps, and your contribution will help make an impact on these teenagers! Thank you for your support!!!!
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