Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Let's Talk - Homosexuality in Korea

Happy Wednesday! And you know what that means? I'm back again, and this time, I'm covering a subject that I've wanted to for quite a while, and I've been given the opportunity to do so from someone on the forums. This article will be filled more with factual information than my opinions on the topic, so sit back and grab something keep yourself awake, because you're going to learn some things today.

I think the first thing I need to explain when going over this question is the general view of homosexuality in Korea.

Unlike what many people believe, homosexuality is not completely shunned by Korean society. Of course, you will have those who don't accept of it, but you will also have those who don't have any thoughts on it as well as those who are in full support of it.

Most of the negativity about homosexuality in Korea comes from the older generations, who were raised to believe that it was 'unnatural' or 'wrong'. However, starting in early 2000, people, especially the younger generations, have become much more accepting about the subject with more and more representation in dramas and in the media.

One thing that many people that I've read of or listened to accounts of have come across people that they've talked to that believed that 'homosexuality does not exist in Korea'. They believe that; yes, it does exist, just not in Korea. 

Another popular belief that goes along with this is that homosexuality is a 'disease brought over by foreigners'. However, the interesting thing is, if you look back into Korean history, you can find many accounts of famous homosexual historical figures.

Because of things like this circulating Korean society, many people are scared to come out. Even though there are places that are open to homosexuality such as Itaewon (the home of 'Homo Hill') and Hongdae (mainly lebian focused  with 'women-only' bars), there is still the fear of coming out because it may be detrimental to your future and your relationships with family and friends.

In Seoul, there are Gay-Pride parades that are held to help these people, but visitors are warned not to take pictures of people at the parades or to upload these pictures to social media because they could be fired if their boss sees them. Many people, foreigners and Koreans, aren't open about their sexuality in their workplace because of this reason.

There are a few famous celebrities that are good examples of this. Probably the most well known and also the first entertainer to come out as being gay was Hong Suk Chun. The repercussions that came as a result were devastating. He got death threats, he lost many of his friends, his network fired him, and he wasn't allowed on television until 2007.

As a result of losing his job, Hong Suk Chun opened a chain of popular restaurants in Seoul such as; My Noodles, My Chelsea, My X, and My Thai, where Jessica of SNSD was spotted once along with many other idols.
Even 13 years after coming out, he cried on public television and said, "I feel lonely and painful, and regret coming-out"

Even though he made the most out of his experience, he still faces many troubles today. Even now, he cries on public television when recounting his story and his hardships. His parents still don't accept him for who he is, and "hope that he becomes normal and settles down with a woman and has a nice family".

 In 2008, Hong Suk Chun helped to host the variety show 'Coming Out', where people would openly talk about their sexuality and their experiences. However, programs like these often got shut down and run-off-air quickly because of the reactions of Korean netizens on forums.

Going back to the subject of Hong Suk Chun's parents, this is not very uncommon in Korea. As I discussed in the first 'Let's Talk', parents often pressure their children (primarily their daughters) to get married and have a family. This makes many Koreans scared to come out to their parents because they don't want to upset them, and are eventually forced into heterosexual marriages. It is not uncommon that these people have affairs on the side of their marriage with the gender of their preference.

Harisu, only the second Korean citizen to register as transgender

Because of all the examples listed above, if idols are gay, they hide it because of the fear or social ostracization and their careers being ruined. In general, the lives of many of the few idols who have decided to come out are very mixed. While Hong Suk Chun benefited from his experience economically, he still has to carry the emotional burden of not being accepted by his family and being a role model for the LGBT group in Korea. Meanwhile, Harisu, the first transgender entertainer, had a much easier and more welcoming reception.

I can't really say for certain if idols know who is gay among them, though there's probably at least one or two of them who are in the closet, or have told one of their fellow group members. However, if they have, their members know well not to tell anyone and keep it 'hush-hush' to try and protect their fellow member.
I'd like to know:
  1. Where you live, is homosexuality generally accepted, or is it seen as a taboo subject?
  2. And which idols do you think are gay/lesbian?

As always, if you want a subject to be covered, either leave it in the comments section below or leave it at my Talk to you again next week!


  1. - Where you live, is homosexuality generally accepted, or is it seen as a taboo subject?
    I think it's rather accepted and there's even a transvestite being the most prominent singer right now.
    However, there's also a strong conservative party that gets quite a lot of support (no, I am not from the UK).

    - And which idols do you think are gay/lesbian?
    No idea, but I also don't really care.
    But most boyband members do seem kinda gay. lol

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Nije muses oozes the lesbianism.

    1. *snicker* we've talked about their hot lesbian sex here before (I was using my live journal name at the time). I don't know if it's the translations being a bit off but some of the crap they tweet to each other comes off as pretty gay, but that could just be fan service. Wether any of them are actually gay or bisexual I don't know I wouldn't be shocked if there were but I'd say the same thing for most idol groups.

    2. And the time hyuna had her heart broken by her girlfriend in a MV

      Then again she's been heterosexual in other MV's so it basically means nothing.

  3. Where I'm living I'd say it's excepted by most, but you still get the conservative people here and there. As for what idols gay I don't know. There are a couple that fit a stereotype but I don't think that's the best way to guess someone's sexuality. It's obvious that there would be homosexual and bisexual idols just because of how many there are and it would be very statistically improbable that all of them are stright.

  4. 1. Here in Canada, homosexuality is gradually becoming more accepted. Unfortunately, there are still a ton of bigots around here.

    2. Maybe it's simply because of her boyish clothing style, but I'm just not sensing a heterosexual vibe from f(x)'s Amber.

  5. In Australia it's pretty open, unfortunately my circle of friends are quite against it, religious people.

    In my home country Indonesia however, it's really a foreign term still, so much people are homophobic here, and coming out to my parents would definitely mean suicide. Asian countries tend to be more conservative as they embrace their old and cultural way of living I guess, oh and religion (totally didn't see that coming huh)

    For those of you who still for some reason thinks that it's a choice, ....I've no words actually.

    And for those of you who

    1. Ignore last incomplete sentence, stupid phone

  6. Does Harisu have a penis or a vagina?

    1. She's a post-op trans woman. Born with a penis but underwent sex reassignment surgery.

    2. You could have just said "no". lol

  7. USA : generally accepted with much resistance from conservatives

    Jo Kwon FOR SURE is gay

  8. 1. homosexuality is generally well-accepted in Northern Europe and gay marriage is part of regular life

    2. I have some ideas about which idols are gay but it's hard to tell for sure for all the reasons mentioned in the article. For example, I suspect that some companies arrange fake dates and leak the photos to put gay rumours to rest. Same with featuring on programs like WGM.

    Most idols also have to behave according to the public persona the company chose for them, which makes it hard to know anything about their true personalities.

  9. I live in ireland and its generally not seen as a taboo as it was in the past. As a gay man although I've never been directly bullied I've always had comments like the usual fag gayboy etc. Its different for everyone but I guess I was lucky. Generally us irish have more to fight about than sexuality haha.
    I think (im praying) that kim soohyun is gay ha seriously though I can't make assumptions other than the usual Tao, Sungjong, Jo Kwon etc also jonghyun, jackson and maybe top but they're just guesses!

  10. 1. In the United States, it seems to be accepted for the most part. I live in a rural area, in Southern Illinois, and most of the people around here dislike homosexuals. There are even teachers who make homophobic comments at school. I think my country, for the most part, is getting away from that backwards way of thinking, just not so much where I live.
    2.Key and Jokwon are gay for sure. I think Heechul is bisexual. I've thought that he was attracted to Puff, Gunhee and Sulli. Maybe Hangeng and Sohee, but they seem less likely somehow. I don't know about Sungjong, but there's something about the prideful way he says he has a 24 inch waist.

  11. 2. JoKwon, Key, Sungjong, Ren, Amber

  12. 1. In USA, particularly my state, it's pretty much accepted on a more individual scale,but you can still be fired from you job for being homosexual.

    2. Key from SHINee.

  13. It's widely accepted here, only some retarded bigots oppose it, and even the party on the government for the last 6 (I think) years is a conservative right-wing party, and they tried to make gay marriages illegal, the support from society is big, and they couldn't make this law project an actual law. xD I would talk of my "soon to be country" but I don't wanna involve any political issue here (for more info, Catalonia/Catalunya next state in Europe :v :v ), but in this part of Spain (as of now), the views regarding homosexuality are like the same as on the rest of the country. Barcelona and Sitges (and even Salou) are 2 (3) big gay-friendly cities, and if I'm not wrong, Barcelona is the biggest destination for gays that travel to the south of Europe, so...
    And about gay idols, for me: JoKwon, Key, Onew, G-Dragon (Key's bastard brother), Amber, Minzy, Min, Jiyoon (the other rapper on 4minute), all the members on EXO, Ren, well, actually 60/70% of the members from all the boybands IMO, Hyorin (I see her as bisexual, actually), Nana (bisexual too), Jia, Jea (BEG), and others, I guess, it's hard to keep up with those names, but half of GLAM, GI, DELIGHT, GP BASIC and groups like this, look butch to me. xD

    1. So for you, there are about 60 or more idols that are gay. That's impressive for the statistic that no more than the 10% of the population is gay (which i cannot know if it's true or not). So, or there more homosexuals on entertainment in proportion to heterosexuals (that's interesting) or the companies like to recruit gay people for some reason. In anyway, with the kind of paparazzis that are there is very strange no one has been caught.

    2. Ailee would also be on my list as a bi.
      As for Onew, I thought it has been exposed to have been dating with AS-Jungah for two years.Guess he has a liking of old plastic freaks.
      Man, Jungah's face is yelling 'Implants are going to collapse anytime- Get off from me.' and that the over-dosage of Botox making all her face so stiff

  14. My answer should be obvious, seeing as how often I used to word "faggot".

  15. Has anyone mentioned Heechul? In the UK its all cool. Everyone's really frigid anyway so you only really talk to people you know.

  16. LGBT potentials - Jo Kwon, Amber, Key, Taeyeon, that (way too) skinny guy from Infinite, Heechul

    My gaydar is strong...My aunt and sister are both gay...THE GAY-FORCE FROM THOSE ABOVE MENTIONED PEOPLE ARE STRONGGGG hahaha

  17. In Czech Republic homosexuals are widely accepted, basically nobody gives a fuck. Some catholics oppose it in, but you only see them during Prague Pride holding some banners and everybody laughs at them.
    Gay- Key, Heechul, Kevin, Yunho, Jo Kwon
    Lesbian- Yuri, Minzy, Yura

  18. Where you live, is homosexuality generally accepted, or is it seen as a taboo subject?
    In Montreal,homosexuality is more than accepted. However many people who call themselves ''Open-mind'' are still using homophobic terms or references like faggot, ''ahhh.. GAY" ,etc

    And which idols do you think are gay/lesbian?
    I do think most of the male idols look gay (not in a bad way) espacially taoand kevin xd

  19. Hey :D I hope it's not too late to reply ... I live in Brazil and homosexuality here has it's ons and offs... In a first view some might think it's pretty ok to be non-straight in brazil but there is a lot of "behind the scenes" prejudice. Lot's of "it's ok to be gay... away from me" kind of behavior and now and then some gay people are attacked on streets. Sometimes even killed. I think the actual scenario we live in is kind of some gay guettos where people can live their sexuality the way they feel more comfortable with but in the big scene society has more acceptance to those gay that "doesn't show themselves" what i think is ridiculous of course. Elder community mostly stands to this point of view where it's ok to be gay but nobody needs to know (or see) you being gay. We do have lots of gay bars tho and several gay parades (since we are a huge country) and i believe we are walking at large steps into a more comprehensive society.