First lesbian student president elected at SNU

November 20, 2015
Kim Bo-mi's campaign poster provided by Seoul National University's election committee. (Newsis)

Kim Bo-mi’s campaign poster provided by Seoul National University’s election committee. (Newsis)

SEOUL (Yonhap) — A lesbian was elected Thursday as the student president of the nation’s top-ranked Seoul National University (SNU) for the first time in the school’s history.

Kim Bo-mi, 23, who ran unopposed, was elected with 86.8 percent of voters’ approval, according to the university’s election watchdog.

Earlier this month, Kim came out publicly as lesbian, saying she is proud of her sexual orientation.

The voting rate was tallied at 53.5 percent when polls closed at 6 p.m. The election was the first in 18 years where the polling time was not extended. It is also the first in five years that concluded without a revote, as voters flocked to polling stations with raised interest in school affairs after Kim’s coming out.

“I want SNU to be a place where its members can be positive and confident of who they are, so I am telling you now that I am a lesbian,” the newly elected president said prior to the election on Nov. 5 during a conference explaining the reasons for her candidacy.

She is the first student president known in South Korea to have publicly come out in a country that remains relatively closed off to sexual minorities.

In a Pew Research Center survey published in 2013, 39 percent of South Koreans said society should accept lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) people, compared with 59 percent who were naysayers.

Kim’s term of office will begin on Dec. 1.