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COMMENTS

Let’s start off by saying that this is a difficult topic for us to discuss for various reasons. Primarily, everything we’re recounting is second hand, as we are neither Korean nor homosexual. And so, we’ve asked our Korean friends of various ages their thoughts about homosexuality in Korea, and have recounted those thoughts in the video. We’ve spoken with our gay friends living in Korea – both foreign and Korean – about their experiences as well, which we have also recounted. This video and post are by no means definitive answers about homosexuality in Korea, because our sources are quite obviously limited. We’re hoping that a bigger discussion can talk place in the comments from people who have had experiences with this topic, whether you are heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, transgendered, or ubersexual. Thanks for the term, Super Junior. Ubersexual indeed.

Also, anything you’d like to contribute, be it your own experiences or thoughts on the matter, or other sources that people could use, will be greatly appreciated.

So, for starters, we can say that Korea is not as open to homosexuality as, say, Canada or the USA. There is no Korean Lady Gaga in the music sphere speaking out, and there are not many LGBT rights activists. There are very few openly gay Korean celebrities. The most famous, in our opinion, is Hong Seok-cheon 홍석천, who was fired from all his jobs on TV after he revealed his homosexuality eleven years ago. Since then, he’s successfully opened various bars and restaurants, all LGBT friendly. Sadly, the success he has achieved in promoting awareness of the LGBT community in Korea is not always the case, as several Korean celebrities have committed suicide after revealing their sexual orientation to the public. They were fired from their jobs, and harassed and bullied by netizens to the point in which they felt that suicide was their only option.

This brings us to the topic of Korean dramas. There are a lot of Korean/Japanese dramas that play with the concept of cross dressing, mainly in the form of girls pretending to be guys, which in turn causes the main male role to fall in love with the “guy” and question his own sexual orientation. Out of all the dramas I’ve seen this in, I feel like only “Coffee Prince” (2007) did a good job of portraying the difficulty a straight male would feel if he was suddenly attracted to another man. MAJOR SPOILER ALERT IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN COFFEE PRINCE YET!!! In Coffee Prince, we see the main male lead, Choi Han-Gyul, struggle with his emerging feelings: he refuses to go to work, he locks himself in his room and thinks about his feelings, and he even visits a doctor who recommends medicine as a “cure” for his homosexuality. I especially felt like his visit to the doctor was a sadly symbolic scene as to how some Koreans view homosexuality as a curable disease. In the end, Han-Gyul rejects all these “cures” and decides to accept his feelings towards another man. He eventually discovers that the man he loves is in fact a woman, and – thankfully – he doesn’t just laugh it off, as if it was humorous all along, like I’ve seen in some Japanese dramas (I’m talking about Hana-Kimi, which I generally enjoyed, except for how they dealt with Nakatsu’s emerging homosexual feelings towards Mizuki; it was used as a gag relief joke).

The “laugh it off” or “gag joke” of someone being gay makes me cringe. It came up a lot in Personal Taste (2010) when Lee Min Ho plays a straight man pretending to be gay and also Sungkyunkwan Scandal (2010) with – yet again – another girl pretending to be a boy. It’s “funny” that the lead men think they’re gay only because the audience knows that the boy is actually a girl, hence, the boy-on-boy action is not an actually gay couple. Compare these dramas to Life is Beautiful (2010). It deals with various people’s relationships, one of which depicts the difficulties a gay couple in Korea would face. How did SBS deal with a drama depicting a real in-love gay couple? They ended up pissing off the drama’s writer BIG TIME by cutting out the scene in which the couple professed vows of love to each other. Really SBS? It’s okay to joke about being gay when we all know that they aren’t really gay, but it’s not okay to show a happy and committed gay couple? This is the kind of thing that makes us feel really upset.

Even though we know that North American and other parts of the world are still not exactly ideal for LGBT people, we still feel that it’s more accepting than South Korea. As we mentioned in the video, not all the people living in Korea are closed-minded towards homosexuality, but we’re not exactly pleased with what we’re seeing in Korean dramas.

Ah! Sorry if that post was too long. Hopefully we did a bit of justice to the topic. Let us know what you think!

ToFebruary
Gmarket
  1. A very popular and large Korean Spa in the DC Metro area got a lot of flack last year for refusing service to a transgendered woman, then digging a deeper hole with some insensitive follow-up comments. I love this spa, but haven’t been back since: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/01/spa-world-virginia-discriminates-gay-transgender-customers_n_2792440.html

  2. Two weddings and a funeral is a film that shows the issues gay Koreans face. It was directed by gay korean filmmaker Kim Jho Kwang-soo. I recommend you all watch it, although parts are serious and sad there is comedy as well. As an outsider, south korea’s view on homosexuality is shocking and upsetting but hopefully as time goes on they become more accepting of the LGBT community. Maybe the emerging prevalence of homosexuality in k-dramas and movies is proof of this? I hope so.

  3. What about Antique Bakery!! That was a great Korean movie that has a homosexual them.

  4. I was in Seoul just few days ago and really enjoyed it. Nice city super cute handsome boys everywhere, i really liked it. Now i,m back in Taiwan where i stay for 1 year, surrounded by taiwanese boys who really love westerners and foreigners, and where gays can” be counted cause there r too many. Taiwanese think all foreigners are handsome and perfect, howevere i dunno about Koreans and i’d really like to know if for europeans it’s an easy thing to get a Korean bf.
    I have a good korean friend, when i told her i’m gay she was really surprised because when i knew her few yeard ago i was only attracted to girls. Now i really want to move and stay in Korea for a year first, tahts why i’m asking people living in KOre, wether they r koreans or westerners if it is easy or not to meet date and get in a relationship with a Korean boy, those who look lile the K POP stars haha !
    I hope some people can help me answering my question

  5. Reply 1997 (a 2012 Korean show) actually wow-ed me by their approach towards a gay character. I thought that was great despite the show being aired on a Korean cable network. Hopefully it’d be stepping stone for other dramas as well!

  6. The thing that urks me though is that in the US, LGBT advocates can run their mouths off on how Christians hate them or that Republicans/Conservatives are homophobic. I’m a Christian, I’m a Conservative, and I’m not homophobic nor do I hate gays. I just don’t agree with gay marriage; that’s my belief. Then you may say, “Well, gay love isn’t affecting your life.” Yes, I know. However, when Liberals try to pass that off as an excuse for their agenda, why do they cringe at the thought of polygamist marriages or incestual marriages? It’s not affecting others’ lives, so why not allow open marriage to any sort of marriage?! Hypocrisy! And then there’s the fact that our country voted against gay marriage many times before it was legalized through the courts! What’s the point of us even voting if it is just going to be overruled? Maybe it’s different in South Korea, but this ongoing “war” in the US is warping my mind – and I’m sure, many others – towards a hatred for leftists and gays alike.

    There’s a difference between not agreeing with gay marriage and homophobia.

  7. The thing that urks me though is that in the US, LGBT advocates can run their mouths off on how Christians hate them or that Republicans/Conservatives are homophobic. I’m a Christian, I’m a Conservative, and I’m not homophobic nor do I hate gays. I just don’t agree with gay marriage; that’s my belief. Then you may say, “Well, gay love isn’t affecting your life.” Yes, I know. However, when Liberals try to pass that off as an excuse for their agenda, why do they cringe at the thought of polygamist marriages or incestual marriages? It’s not affecting others’ lives, so why not allow open marriage to any sorts of marriage?! Hypocrisy! And then there’s the fact that our country voted against gay marriage many times before it was legalized through the courts! What’s the point of us even voting if it is just going to be overruled? Maybe it’s different in South Korea, but this ongoing “war” in the US is warping my mind – and I’m sure, many others – towards a hatred for leftists and gays alike. I mean, I will never truly hate my friends who are liberals or gay, but precautions are always there when I meet someone new with these defining characteristics, and I apologize for that.

  8. i think being gay in korea is the same difficult situations as in in indonesia because many gays in indonesia is still in the closet

  9. Hello Simon and Martina, and other Nasties who will read that!

    First, I know I’m speaking to english teachers, so please, excuse my mistakes! ;)

    I’m a straight, 20 years old girl. I’m french, still live in France and I never went to Korea (nor any asian country before). Thus my knowledge about homosexuality (in Korea or not) is not very relevant, but I will still try to explain my point of view.

    I see a big contradiction in Korea. This is, with Japan, one of the places where homosexuality is the most used for entertaining purposes I think. Fanservice, skinship, dramas and so on… I would say fanfiction too but I think fanfictions exist everywhere and for every fandom be it about real or fictional people. Idols use homosexual relationships as a way to entertain the fans. The management encourages it, and kiss games on tv are enough to see that it is viewed as an “amusing” thing.
    In Japan, we can see it mostly in J-rock. The idea is to shock, to do something different, forbidden maybe. It’s done in an almost violent way sometimes, but the point is to shock, so it’s “okay”. That, and Japan is different from Korea too, I believe.
    In Korea, and K-pop, it’s more a cute thing than a shocking thing (Heechul is the exception, but Heechul is always an exception, I will talk about him later). So I’m wondering: if it is “cute”, or “amusing”, why is it considered disgusting when it becomes real??
    I watched the video and read the article, I read lots of things on the internet too, and I know that a lot of young Koreans are totally okay with homosexuality, but how can we explain what happened to Kim Ji Hoo (and to a transgender woman too, I believe?). How can we explain all the hate from the netizens (I can”t really imagine 70 years old people sending all these messages on internet but maybe it’s just my grandparents who have problems with computers)???
    I can understand that some people are disturbed by homosexuality, mostly because they lack some knowledge about it, or because they never met any homosexual person. But I can’t understand how people (and not just one or two) can drive someone to commit suicide only because they don’t accept his sexuality. Nobody ask them to become homosexual. Homosexuality is not contagious (I remember an interview of Hong Seok Cheon who tried to explain that about a drama (reply 1997, I talk about it later)). It doesn’t concern them!!!

    [Start of the digression/ In France, a few months ago, a law was voted to allow same-sex marriage. And some people went in the streets, demonstrating, because they didn't want homosexuals to have the same rights as them. I mean, seriously, who demonstrates because he is against equality??? Who screams in the streets that they don't want other people to have the same rights has them??? I thought, in my little bubble, that we were educated, that we were the "human rights country". What a disappointment. I really thought that homophobia was very rare here, or only for people who were not very educated and didn't know about homosexuality. But I discovered whole families, demonstrating with their kids in pushchairs and saying sometimes awful thing without any second thoughts. Of course, they were not all homophobes. Some of them were just against the fact that children could have two dads or two mums (which already exists of course, just not officially). In the end the law was voted, so it's okay but yeah... mad world. (The point of the digression was "it doesn't concern them, so why do they hurt other people?") /End of digression]

    Did you watch the drama Reply 1997? It’s interesting. Much more real than other dramas (for once, it’s not a fairy tale!). One of the main roles is played by Seo In Guk (who played the man who had an unrequited love for his best friend in K-Will’s “Please don’t”). There is Hoya from Infinite too. It’s worth watching I think.

    I wonder why people refuse to acknowledge homosexuality when it comes to celebrities. I read some comments (only a few, so I probably missed a lot of things) about Jo Kwon. I see who he is but I don’t really know him, nor his group, and obviously, I’m not him. But, even with the “no stereotypes” thing, I think he is obvious (or he does everything to make people believe that he is gay??). I don’t know.
    I could talk about Key too, who is ever gay or just very openminded about homosexual rights (which is great by the way!)
    There are homosexual people in every society. There are homosexual people in the entertainment industry (and often, more than in the rest of the population), and it’s the same in Korea. But strangely, apart from Hong Seok Cheon, and a famous director too I think, nobody’s gay.
    Sometimes, I even wonder if fanservice was not a way to hide it at the beginning (and then it worked so they continued). Something like… reverse psychology? I don’t know, perhaps, I think too much :)

    I think it would be good for everyone if idols (or other artists but idols are “models” so it would be even more efficient) came out. Of course it would prevent all the “oppa is mine”, “noona is perfect”. But, really? They should just stop forcing idols to stay single, that would help a lot. That’s not as if the fans had the least chance to marry them anyway!!
    And on another note… Did you see Heechul’s instagram recently? I don’t really care about Super Junior (and I would like to avoid being killed by angry elfs, please ^^) but this is just per-fect! He basically introduced his boyfriend to the world via instagram. Little by little, photo after photo (and videos). He said it clearly a few days ago… I saw that and I thought it would be a scandal. When a boy is seen holding hands with a girl, it’s the apocalypse (Jonghyun, Hyukjae..) And Heechul? Nothing. As if it didn’t exist. It’s not even a rumour, he did it himself, on purpose, and he probably thought about it a lot (the fact that the boyfriend is not an idol may help too). And there are almost no reactions. Does the world refuse to see it? (Or they knew it since the beginning and nobody is surprised?).
    Well it’s Heechul, who spends his life saying and doing things he shouldn’t, kissing the members one after the other during concerts, explaining how SM is wrong on this point or another, meeting publicly with Jaejoong while there is a lawsuit between SM and JYJ and talking about Hangeng’s albums on radio. So he will probably end up saying it bluntly on tv or radio one day. And then? What will happen?

    I hope things will change in Korea, I really do. In the rest of the world too, of course. I know there are some countries where you can be sentenced to the death penalty because you’re homosexual. I talk about Korea because this is the subject here but I know that it is not always better in other countries, even in the so called “developed” countries. I notice every day how people use “this is so gay” as an insult. One of my friend in high school was beaten by her step-dad when he learned she loved a girl. We have information, school nurses, posters, special phone numbers. And it is still difficult for teenagers to accept their sexuality, so I can’t imagine how difficult it might be for korean teenagers.

    I didn’t intend to write so much. And i’m sorry if it’s too much, or if my point of view is not relevant. I hope my english is good enough for you to understand what I think. I lack vocabulary to give the right meaning to my sentences.

    I want to say that your videos (and not only this one) are really meaningful. I just watched the last one about Dongho and why you wouldn’t want to be K-pop idols, and it matched perfectly what I thought. I think you’re doing a great job. And I LOVE the answer Simon gave to one of the comment about him “looking gay”. The answer was perfect. Not defensive, nor angry, and with the right amount of humor in it to be fun. Your answer Simon, and the way you talk about Martina, is very inspiring. I would like to meet a man with the same philosophy, and have a relationship similar to yours one day.

    And finally, thanks to those who commented before me. I really appreciate your insight on these subjects :)

    Lou

  10. Hello, Simon and Martina!

    So I’ve only come across your video on Homosexuality in Korea recently, as well as Simon’s response to a comment on his sexuality. I would just like to say that I have so much respect for the both of you and I really think your relationship is something a lot of people should emulate. You guys have taught me so much about love and relationships, and I’ve learned how to value myself properly especially when it comes to having a boyfriend.

    I would just like to share an opinion about homosexuality in Korea. I used to study (I’m currently in my third year in college) in an international school in my country, and I had A LOT of Korean classmates and friends, some brought up here and others migrants from Korea. I found the topic of homosexuality in Korea very intriguing ever since i got into K-Pop and watched several Korean dramas, one of them being Coffee Prince. Growing up with a gay twin brother made me more aware of LGBT rights, and I was curious on how Korea dealt with the topic of homosexuality. I read a lot of internet forums about it, and I was bit put off on how people just argued and really, a lot of them are so sickening to read because everyone was just so close-minded and biased about their own passionate beliefs. I resorted to asking my Korean friends who i kept in touch with about their opinions on the aforementioned topic.

    I got a lot of varied responses, but the one thing most had in common with their answers was that people in Korea each view homosexuality differently, depending on many different factors–how they were brought up, where they were brought up, their religion, and surprisingly, how immersed they are in the idol and entertainment industry.

    Of course some of them said that they were very uncomfortable with the idea, while I have friends who answered that they had very few to zero interactions with homosexuals but aren’t entirely repulsed by it. I think one thing we can derive from this is that one of the major reasons why homosexuality in Korea is some sort of taboo is because a lot of people have very few experiences with it and/or interactions with homosexuals. And since it’s so uncommon because they have no firsthand experience, a lot of people are lead to believe that it’s bad thing. After all, people have this tendency to shun things they don’t fully comprehend, and how can they begin to accept homosexuality if it’s often perceived as foreign and strange and they aren’t made to understand fully?

    On the other hand, a few of my friends said that people in Korea can be a little bit hypocritical about it because it’s sort of understood but unspoken that there indeed are a number of homosexuals living among them, some being their friends or colleagues at work, but it isn’t really an issue and they treat them just as they would a heterosexual friend. The thing though is that it only becomes an issue once that person decides to come out. It’s very disconcerting because I mean come on, nothing is wrong with being gay as long as you don’t come out?

    Lastly, a friend of mine shared an experience with her brother who is a trainee (dunno if he still is) at a company, and he shared his struggles with her, one of them being his sexual orientation. He had a very hard time coming to terms with being gay, and he knew he couldn’t come out to anyone, not even their own parents. But he really felt the emotional burden and all because apparently there are some closeted homosexual celebrities in that company who can’t come out because of work-related issues, and there are a number of trainees and who had the same problems, some of them only auditioning for the reason that they could hide their sexuality. I empathized with her, because I too felt the struggles my brother had to go through, especially during our adolescent years. I’m proud to say that he has come out of the closet and currently fulfilling his dream of being an architect.

    Anyways, thank you so much! More power to the both of you!

  11. I know I am commenting a bit late on this post, but I think the issue of homosexuality transcends all borders. I am a Korean-American. I was born in Seoul, adopted, and raised in the states. I am a lesbian.

    Homophobia resonates throughout Asia, but the United States was there, and not that long ago. When Ellen DeGeneres came out of the closet, she endured quite a lot of hardships, the same ones that Hong Seouk-cheon faced.

    The only difference between the states and Korea, for example, is how homosexuals here have decided to react to their critics. Nothing will ever change in Korea unless the homosexuals there find their voice and take action. The United States, Canada, Western Europe, at the beginning, none of these places accepted homosexuality. Homosexuals didn’t always have job protection, safety protection etc. People fought for those rights.

    So yes, the United States, Canada, and Western Europe are more open to homosexuality, but that is because gays didn’t give them any other choice. In the United States, we brought to the forefront of American politics the issue of homosexuality.

    I read news about pride-fests in Korea and how people hide behind masks to protect their identities. Understandable. Still, I don’t think much will change unless there are a few martyrs out there. People can sense when people are afraid and/or ashamed. If homosexuals themselves believe that being gay is shameful, others will also believe it.

    Still, I understand kids fears. It is scary to come out in a society that you know won’t be accepting. I still fear coming out, not to my parents in America, but to my birth mother in Korea. I have contemplated finding where she is, but I am afraid that my choices in America would be a deal-breaker, and in the end heartbreaking for both sides.

    Again, homophobia transcends borders. Korea is just in the infancy of trying to tackle the issues. I look forward to seeing a new generation of Koreans taking this to Park Geun-hye and demanding that things change.

  12. Sparkling Korea Bristles with Homophobia and Bigotry (Gurye English Town) Considering travel and tourism to Gurye, Jeollanam-do, Korea? Stay in the closet!

    As the first and only American transgender person that I know of working in South Korea as an English teacher, I feel compelled to speak about my own experiences as a person that has been victimized by similar abusive acts of bigotry to what Yie Eun-woong and the Anti-English Spectrum is engaged in. I have been working as a teacher in South Korea for about four and half years. I have come to Korea with much teaching experience and a graduate degree and education from, yes, one of the top three universities in America for my major. I am the longest serving and most senior level native English speaking teacher in the county of my employ. I have consistently received impeccable teacher evaluation each year I have been at my job.

    For the first three years of my job, I have truly had a fabulous working relationship with my co-workers and with the administrators of my program, and really loved my students and work. This all changed abruptly, immediately following the program being taken over by a new administrative staff, and them hiring a completely new group of co-teachers in my program. My former co-workers were all replaced with fundamentalist Christians who lived in the community near the school I worked in. One of which was the wife of a local conservative evangelical Christian minister of a very large church in the very small town I worked in. I went from hero to zero, overnight!

    At about this time, I began to notice shocking and frightening intrusions into my privacy, all occurring around the time, one of my co-teachers began telling me that I was angry at her, and that she was frightened of me!!!! Further, this co-teacher began to ask me usual personal questions about my private life and background that was not in the context of our relationship and that she had no official need to know. I remember her becoming angry with me because I could not give her the zip code to my former American address that I long forgot!!! Her then becoming angry, once again, because I renewed my visa at the Korean immigrations office that I have been going to for the last four years, instead of going to the immigrations office she wanted me to go to.

    The first thing that I noticed that was wrong was that things in my apartment were out of place, the frightened behavior of my little toy puddle puppy dog when I returned home from work, and that my personal papers and documents were searched and tampered with. Then, I noticed that many of my private documents regarding my personal history and background that qualified me for my teaching job in Korea were taken. I then noticed the memory disk of my digital camera that had some private and intimate photos of me was missing. I began to get many harassing phone calls, the rear tire on my motor bike was flattened nine times within a few months, the lock on the storage compartment of the motorbike was broken, my garbage was searched and picked throw, my e-mails accounts were hacked and tampered with, my e-mail address was used as an user name to post things on the Internet that would, at the very least, cause suspicion about me, my handbag was entered and its content was repeatedly tampered with and items were taken, my international phone card was stolen from my handbag while at work, my personal property at work was tampered with in such a way to deliberately remind me of these intrusions and to further frighten and harass me. On one occasion, as I entered my work place, and I discovered a clump of my light brown hair, hanging from the entrance light switch. I am the only westerner with light brown hair at my job. I began to notice the presence of the local police doing unusual and unlikely times and places. I was told by my local doctor that one of my co-teachers, and my supervisor came to his office with the local police demanding to see my medical files. I was stopped and questioned at the local train station about why I was there and where I was going. These things all began, from what I was told by a human rights investigator, after another native English speaking teacher in the small town I worked in outed me to my new Korean co-teachers.

    When I attempted to report these issues to my co-teachers, they became very angry and accused me of making them up and called me a lyre. On one occasion, one of my co-teachers, angrily demanded that I go to the police with her, not to report the harassment, but because I had made a false accusation. When I attempted, in a frightened and intimidated manner, to report what was happening to my supervisor, I was treated not as a victim, but as a whistle blower attempting to cause trouble. My superior’s response to my request for help was; “that someone needed to be fired”. There was absolutely no attempt by my co-teachers or superior to aid me in any way. There was just an unexplained angry, defensive and reactionary response. I remember on one occasion, going to work, and discovering that I was locked out. I have always had the keys to my work place. On this occasion, my co-worker had a cable type of bicycle lock tide around the handles of the entrance doors.

    These and many other things, all occurred in an environment of xenophobia, suspicion, passive aggression, and increasing anti social behavior towards me on the part of my co-teachers. When I sought help from outside Korean advocacy and human rights groups, I received little to no support, and this only inflamed the situation even further. I was told by the human rights organization that I contacted that they could not do anything because what was happening to me was a criminal, not a human rights issue!!!!

    My co-teacher’s behavior was no longer limited to passive aggression, but now it was, in your face, overt anger and hostility. Subsequently, this same co-teacher, threatened, for whatever reasons, (possibly believing that she had dug up some dirt on me) to report me to the Korean Immigration’s Office and the United States Embassy!!! Although, my work record has been exceptional and I have received very favorable teacher evaluations since I started this job, my job has been placed in great jeopardy and there is almost an absolute certainty that my employment contract for next year will not be renewed!!!

    After Leaving This Employer

    Since leaving my job with this employer, I have been cyber stalked. My e-mail and personal computer files regarding my complaint with a number of human rights organizations about my former employer have been deleted from my E-mail accounts. My computer and E-mail accounts have been aggressively and repeatedly hacked.

  13. Coffee Prince was so wonderful to me, in part, because of their treatment of Han-Gyul’s feelings and acceptance of love, no matter what form it came in. It was beautiful.

  14. What about lesbians? r there lesbian bars??? i feel for the lesbos…T T

  15. When I was first getting into kpop, I saw a video clip of Taemin of Shinee being hugged by a male fan and shouting, “I like girls, I like girls!” As a westerner, I was offended by this at first, seeing his denial as homophobia. After seeing the video and reading this article and the comments I see that it’s just that Koreans aren’t as comfortable with homosexuality as many westerners are.

    Most of the specific information in this was about gay men, do you know if there are clubs or bars for gay women in Korea?

    • I saw a gif of that being using as a joke, but I didn’t see what was so funny about it; I mean, he was fully felt up and kissed by Jonghyun as an act of fanservice before, you think he’d know what was a friendly hug was XD

  16. wow you two are amazing, funny and respectful people..(I’m from Argentina so my english may or may not suck, sorry if I make an unforgivable mistake while writing)
    wow, I didn’t know it was that bad (hurray for the open-minded people!! ^_^)
    I’m a K-pop fan and I’m always thinking that some could be gay and actually I’m one of those who pairs them. After watching this video I feel selfish and stupid cause people say that they don’t accept gay in korea,the youngers or the oldest doesn’t matter.
    Cant understand how can something personal like sexuality make artists and people in general lose their jobs, or being bullied or mistreated or whatever bad thing.
    I can go all the way fangirling and talking like that cause I’m not there to hear people talk bad about them for being gay, the same to the people who are not famous, should be sad to be hiding from people who can’t understand that happiness and love cannot be controled. Even family.
    it would be amazing if we could find the way to make them understand that.
    And plus, I’ve learned to stop assuming things (sorry Simon)
    It’s been twenty minutes since I’m trying to express myself well, I don’t want any misunderstanding, thank you for your hard work, you brought me some information today.
    we learn new things everyday they say..
    ^_^

  17. Thanks for posting this! Whether or not to go back in the closet has been my biggest concern relating to my future move to Korea.

  18. Thanks for posting this, really! That may only be the begining of an answer that I’ve found here, but it gives me an accurate idea of what it is like to be gay in Korea. Big up to you guys! And thanks to Joshua for the additional information!

  19. Simon and Martina,

    I wanted to comment on your video. I am a gay Mormon (Christian) man in the US who is married to a man. I have had the opportunity of going to both North and South Korea. I wanted to say that I think your experiences shared are quite accurate. There are a few other things I noticed.

    1) In North Korea, they will openly admit that they know homosexuality exists, but will blame it on the West as a “social disease that is ruining glorious socialism”.

    2) You are absolutely right about the younger crowd (25-30 years old)…native Koreans in the US have virtually no problem with LGBT people. I live in Provo, UT, home to Brigham Young University, which is considered one of the most unfriendly schools for gay people in the US. All my native Korean friends who are devout Mormons have absolutely no problem with me being Mormon, gay, and married to a man.

    3) I think what is most interesting is how some people (like you mentioned) don’t even believe homosexuality exists…yet, by my standards, I think there are very feminine actions of male Koreans which can be interpreted as gay. For example, in the KPOP world, I think that most boy bands are very feminine, especially in the way they dress. I know many Korean young men who wear women’s makeup and some wear women’s clothes, and would never associate that with being gay, where in the US you would consider that to be gay. Also, I have seen from my own experience and your videos that many young men have Hello Kitty products, which has always been associated with women in the US, especially young girls. But, they don’t make that association…to them it is just normal. In the US, alot of gay men want a masculine or “straight acting” man, and are turned off by the real feminine attributes of some gay men. In Korea, they seem to fit the US stereotypical role of being feminine, flamboyant, and not afraid to show it.

    Anyways, hope this helps! I love you guys and cant wait to come back to South Korea and hopefully chat over a nice hot bowl of bimbibap.

  20. Sounds just like America really. There are some places and some people that are 100% accepting whereas other places aren’t so tolerant. And the younger generations are often on the more accepting side of things. Yay change! lol!

  21.  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120406234458.htm interesting.

  22. “Homo Hill” xD That’s the funniest thing I ever heard. xD

  23. homosexuality is a “nearly” normal issue everywhere around the world nowadays. if you think about the roman and greek history homosexuality was a common thing, but as time gone by people shunned this topic and homosexuals like they were a pest…

    actually i never talk about this topic or make any comments about it, because what a person does or does not in their privat life does not concern me in any way. i also have to say that i love “YAOI” manga and somewhat anime, but if i have a son (1 year old now) and i don´t want to think about the possibility in future he might be turning gay. not because i despise the love between men (i think love is love, no matter the gender), but my family and my husband are turks (tokisaram) and they are reaaally conservative about this issue….

    there is a saying in turky: every lamb is hung up with his own foot ( doesn´t make sence since its translated word by word) but it means: lambs live in a group, but when their time comes the butcher gets you alone^^ so even if you live your life in any way that people are not accepting it, it does affect yourself and even if you look at it the religious way: everybody is paying for their own sins they commit, so no one in this world has any right to say anything about the way you live your life…..

  24. Yes, it sucks to be gay in Korea, but not as much as it sucks to be straight in the West. Britain and the USA are incredibly violent, and physically clinical places and in part this is due to the nature of Western masculinity. While not all Western men are hyper-masculine, you only have to ask a handful of Westerners about skinship or bathhouses to discover how insecure we are with our gender and sexuality. For many Westerners, intimacy, nudity and simply the presence of other males are highly threatening – indeed some schools in both the USA and UK have attempted to ban any forms of physical intimacy (eg – hugging and holding hands). And ask the same group about skinship between adults and children, as you might see in a bathhouse, and you expose a festering unease.

    Yea, I can be gay and proud back in Britain but that doesn’t count for much when a lot of the men are repugnant, violent and aggressive and where you have to be constantly on guard should you choose to spend the evening in town. I should add, I spent five years working in the field of ‘hate crime.’ Despite all the freedoms in the West, and we have a lot less than we think, I’m far safer and happier as a male in Korea – but then I’m 56 and boring and quite content to shelf my sexual identity.

  25. I’m Korean and raised (and still living) in New Zealand and I think it sucks that Korea is not very “2012″ with this issue. It makes me sad to think that my extended family aren’t open or tolerant towards homosexuality – even my parents who’ve lived here for 19 years aren’t comfortable with it – though I still have hope that eventually it will no longer be a taboo subject over there :)

  26. Thank you guys so much for addressing this problem! It was really interesting to read all this information, and actually came up in a discussion that I had in a class not too long ago. It opened a lot of my classmate’s eyes (and minds) to the topic of homosexuality period, and they now are more interested in making a difference, even if it is just here in North America. 
    But when they read about the celebrities who committed suicide, that became a very real topic to them. I don’t know why that pushed them to realize that it does happen, but it did. And they also felt very upset over laughing off homosexuality in some dramas, but cutting such scenes as they did in Life is Beautiful. I was actually surprised to see some of my classmates get upset over it. I think them seeing that this is a topic in other countries too, where it’s not as open as it is here, made them reflect on what they thought and how they had been treating the homosexuals in our school, including one of my friends that had been intensely bullied. 
    So thank you. Just this one post that I brought up off-hand during a health class was enough to get some people to think about the topic period. Some of them are even LGBT rights supporters now after they started reading up on the subject more; which was something that I thought would never happen considering this is possibly the smallest, most homophobic town in the U.S.

    Plus, most of them wanted to know where I had gotten this information, so they’re kind of addicted to kpop and your show now too… Love your show, and keep being awesome! :D

  27. I am confounded by the dichotomy of Kdramas. They constantly cast androgynous and effeminate (at least by Western standards) male leads. Yet homophobia remains an issue in Korean society by large. I lived in Seoul for 2 years and didn’t find Korean males to be well…very manly. 

    I’m not the least bit attracted to any of the popular idols either. They just aren’t very masculine. Of course, there are few exceptions (Rain comes to mind). Again, this must be the result of my own expectation bias. As my perception is tainted by the Western definition (Latin Western to boot) of what “manly” or masculine is supposed to embody. Korean men don’t usually fit that mold. 

  28. Hi canadian couple. I’m Koaren girl who is enjoying many of your clips. my english is not good so pls understand me. ^-^ nowadays there are many dramas that use homosexual stories. when I watch them It’s kinda funny but sometimes I feel like awkward. and actually older people don’t like that kinda story. they worry about this. firstly it’s because of Social atmosphere. Korea is most strong Confucianism sociey in the world. Confucianis is embedded in every Korean from thousands years ago. that is something like courtesy, life way. but also history, tradition. still many of Koreans are conservatives. (hard to exaplin hope you know background, stories of Confucianism)
    http://ygmh.skku.edu/
    http://www.seonbitg.net/ 

     in every country there are some gays. there will be also gays in Korea, they don’t reveal that. I know many Korean guys who live in abroad like UK, France ects. they say one of the hate things of Korea is that people too consider other’s privacy. Western people don’t consider or cling to other’s life because there is individualism. Korean people say egoism as a same way. in Eastern, people really care community, other’s life. it’s culture difference.
    Korean people don’t care about Western people have gays couple. all Korean know that Western is open minded culture(talking as good way) so Western poeple tend to be frank and do as they want. but inside Korean society, people hate someone change their sex or being homosexual. there are many constraint conditions in the life like people respect older people. that is also reflected in language as well. there is no honorific in english. they just say”‘YOU” to thier mom, grandmother ects. Korean act like considering others, don’t easily be frank. for example. no matter how I’m hungry, I don’t say easily I’m hungry when others ask me “do you want something to eat?(I will buy for you)”.
     It’s not the problem of there are many gays or not. cuz it’s problem of Korean social atmosphere. if there is someone who is man but wanna be woman, people will make joke of it.

  29. I haven’t read all the comments, but another Korean movie is No Regret.  It focused on gays, the main characters and all. It’s probably one of the most gay Asian movie I have seen. And I have seen quite a few lesbian and gay movies heh…. I don’t know how to write that without it sounding weird. But even in Japanese gay movies which there are a lot more of, it seems to never quite get to the issue, but I quite liked No Regret. but I wouldn’t recommend it to younger people, its pretty graphic actually. I have found that movies seem to be more open minded that the dramas. And on Antique Bakery. I really love Kim Jae Wook. I found videos on youtube where he did live music performances from Hedwig and the Angry Inch in drag. My personal opinion is he is more open minded. I really like all your commentary about things Simon and Marina. Thanks for them. Also, I have seen lots of pictures on tumblr in nightclubs where people seem to be gay anyways. So its nice to see at least somewhere where people can be open.

    • You should watch two weddings and a funeral. Its a very touching film that is both funny but serious and sad. I think you would enjoy it :) Also it is directed by Kim Jho Kwang-soo, a gay korean filmmaker.

  30. well i don’t rlly understand what u want to say  ! So korean love to act they are gay , but they are not  , or they are gay and that is very bad in korea ! umm i listen kpop , and there so much korean boys kissing each other etc. so what that mean are they gay or not ! however i love gays xD

  31. i’m in somewhere in Asia and our country has not accepted this LGBT issue yet. there was, a few months back then, a society that wanted to be open about this and fight for LGBT’s rights. i clearly support them as i think LGBT have rights too, but still the government does not allow this because they say that the main religion in my country opposes to this LGBT idea, that God does not allow this. 

    i’m not really religious myself, that is why i think that this thing about “what God says” is unacceptable. i might be bashed for saying this, but really, i’m just stating my opinion. 

    i am a B, i’m sure you know what i mean. and i really do not like all these stories about how LGBT people getting all the bad treatment just because they’re “not normal” in a way. it’s really unfair, i mean, it’s not like they wanted to be that way, in some cases, it just came. i seriously pity all those people. i really hope for the world to open up their eyes about this as this issue is getting even wider now. 

    i really don’t understand what are those narrow-minded people thinking. 

    • As counter-thought, couldn’t YOU also be narrow-minded, seeing that you look down on people who can’t agree with this issue because of their faith? By saying that “what God says” is unacceptable, you’re not respecting their faith either, any more than they are agreeing with your beliefs.”I was born this way” is no excuse for not taking responsibility for your actions, any more than a playboy has for multi-timing. Just some food for thought….

  32. hahaha oh my gosh, I am sorry, this is a serious subject, but the beginning where you guys say some old people think its a disease brought by foreigners XD 

    ITAEWON FREEDOM IS ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY??? the things you learn. 

    My belief about homosexuality is that of abortion, I don’t believe people should do it, but we are all free to choose. I enjoyed coffee prince because it was serious, he did seriously consider all the things a person raised in an unaccepting(why the heck isn’t that a word) environment would before finally accepting that he had special feelings for (what he thought was) a guy. And then I love how he wasnt just like “YAY!” when she told him she was a girl, I felt the same way he did, SHE BETRAYED HIM!! well, she didnt tell the truth and he seriously went gay for her… so its like… Yeah.

    According to that drama japan is much more accepting, but i also read a book About Bushido (basically the samurai code, the book talked about how japan still lives very much by the samurai code of bushido: hara kiri, face saving and the like) it said something along the lines of “a good samurai is never found out” it was basically saying having homosexual relations with your samurai buddy (they traveled in twos sometimes) was ok, as long as your wife didnt find out, or anyone else. I found that interesting. 

    • Can you tell me the story about you choosing to be heterosexual?  I’d be fascinated to hear about it.  Since you know, you say everyone has the choice.

      • well, growing up I tended to like boys, and so I chose to pursue boys romantically rather than pursuing girls. I’d rather you think me an old fashioned bigot than explain my beliefs to such a closed minded person as yourself. I believe you are closed minded because you don’t want to allow me to believe something different to what you believe (or “know” whatevs).

        • There is little difference between “believing what you want to believe” and being ignorant. I am a lesbian because I am sexually repulsed by men and sexually/romantically attracted to women. I didn’t choose to feel that way. No one would choose to be gay/lesbian. Why would I choose to deal with ignorant people like you everyday when I could just choose to be straight? Doesn’t make sense does it? Grow up and pull your head out of your ass.

        • I don’t believe I am Ignorant, I know People Can actually be Attracted to their own Sex (the idea of repulsion is new to me though), that wasn’t the choice I was referring to. We all have thoughts and feelings, and we are all free to act (or not) upon those thoughts and feelings, that is the choice I meant.

          Thanks for your input, I really don’t want to be ignorant(you probably still think I am, but Life is a learning process). I am trying to grow up, but I am not so flexible as to be able to do the other thing you accused me of.

        • Moopies, I had to reply to your comments, because they stink with illogicality. Of course, you’re free to believe anything you want, but we’re free to point out that it just doesn’t hold up to reality. As Xaihtic wrote above, why the hell would gays and lesbians CHOOSE to be that way, knowing their lives are only gonna be harder because of the prejudice and discrimination they have to face? Some homosexuals kill themselves cause they can’t live with it…sure sounds like they chose it, eh? 

          Let me just clear this up: I am a straight male, have been with the same girl for 6 years. Did I ever choose to be straight? OR COURSE NOT! Neither did you. Of course, you can choose to act upon those feelings, but even if you choose to act straight even if you’re gay, YOU’RE STILL GAY! No one wants to live a lie. I would never be able to live as a gay if that’s what society wanted. 
          So Moopies, maybe you’re not ignorant, but you sound like you are. 

        • I guess you are right

  33. before i continue with my opinion…i just want to say that (i have to appoint this first because, i did comment on baby soul mv, she flirt and i get hell bash from all the people =.=”)…

    i do not hate the LGBT people out the..!!!!!!

    as matter in fact, i do have friends like that..and we get along just fine..

    in asia we still hold on to our culture and we have strong believe in our religion.. thus, that is the reason why person who is LGBT is consider as disgrace to the family..

    i am not bashing anyone here but, please understand that asia is full and strong with culture, custom and religion..

    there are some who is open minded, but we still can’t talk about this matter open because most of people still believe it is a disgrace. for them, god only create men and women, if the person is LGBT, it is a test for the person to find back his or her soul and come back to the right path.

    • There’s some interesting points there,
      I’ve been brought up a in a religious background and I am religious myself, however religion does not equal certain views against LGBT people. Religion should be supportive, if not an amplifier of equality towards all people of the human race.

      And I also don’t believe you do hate people or you even think this way, I’m just adding my own views to your comment ^^’

  34. Antique Bakery with Kim Jae Wook. 

    • That was awesome! I think that is the only Korean film I have watched (apart from a 15min short) that had an openly gay character and didn’t shy away from that fact, but even gave him a relationship line. When I watched it, I was still very new to Korean culture and films, so I don’t think I realised just how cool it really was. 

  35. Thanks for this fascinating post—I’ve been watching a lot of Kdrama lately and found myself pondering how homosexuality is viewed in Korea. In fact, I just blogged about Painter of the Wind, a girl-dressed-as-boy drama that has some serious lesbian undertones. 
    It seems like a fascinating time to be interested in Korean culture…a lot is in flux there, and in some ways I think we drama watchers are seeing the birth of the country’s future, when it comes to social issues like this.

  36. I wanted to share some stories of my a few of my friends from Korea. Two very different stories and two very different people. I am glad I met them both and I was able to get a small glimpse into two different generations of gay men in South Korea.

    One of my friends (20) is very into western ideas and culture. That’s the main reason why he has a European boyfriend. He recently told me that he had come out to his family. His mother’s first reaction was, “Can you change?” He of course said, “No, I am gay. That is who I am. Nothing and no one can change me.” His mother’s reaction was of no surprise due to the lack of easily available information on homosexuality to the public.  It exists, but it’s not always easy to find. The idea of coming out to anyone is Korea is very negative. Most men believe that right now there is no need to because coming out could be detrimental to them in today’s society. (Korean Gay Magazine “Get” Spring Issue 2008 pg. 68-69) Things are changing, but slowly. My friend told me his mother should get used to the idea over time and that’s really the way a lot of parents deal. It just takes time, even here in the US.

    My other friend (32), he was not as lucky to grow up in such a progressive decade. He was surrounded by people who believed gay didn’t exist in Korea and was treated poorly and with hate if they ever found out. His family is highly religious, so they are heavily against homosexuality and will probably never know their son is gay. Well, his mother died in 2008, so she should know now, but the rest of them, no. And I know for a fact he is dead set on never telling them or anyone really. He is scared and has issues dealing with people and hating himself because of such an environment he grew up in. He has even contemplated suicide on numerous occasions before I met him. Many men his age and older and even some younger men deal with this issue a lot. They were brought up to believe that being gay was an abomination and disgusting. Which is obvious why their self-esteem is so low about who they are and being themselves. My friend has trouble dealing with people and gets taken advantage of often because of his search and need to fit in. Of course, I’ve been helping him as much as I can, but years of hate has been ingrained into his brain and it is hard for him to accept he is who he is and he was born that way. He came to America to try to get away from the hate, but he has ran into it wherever he goes. The US still has ways to go as well, even if it IS way ahead of S. Korea in this issue.

    Obviously, my two friends have had two very different experiences and both have been on the complete opposite extremes of the spectrum. This really goes to show how much progress Korea has made in just ten to twenty years, yet still be so far behind in the rights and acceptance of their homosexual citizens. Hopefully in the future, everything will get better and people will not feel so alone and hated. Maybe they will realize it does get better and they don’t have to give up. They will always have someone here (me) who cares. I just need to make a way to make that known. The day will come soon.

  37. I still think “Life Is Beautiful” was a big step forward in LGBT awareness in Korea. BTW you know the writer of the drama, Kim Soo-Hyun, is like the de-facto #1 legend/queen figure in Korean drama industry. Her dramas are watched by a very wide range of age groups – young and old. And Life Is Beautiful got very high ratings too. So what I am thinking is, these Korean people who are in their 50s and 60s, who’ve never thought homosexuality as some gross mental disease, watching this gay couple on TV going through heartbreaking and very much understandable difficulties and agony because of their sexuality and people’s perception/rejection of it. I think the message they received would be “they are different, they can’t help it, and they lead v difficult life because of this” This drama made a huge leap from any other dramas depicting homosexuality, IMO.

  38. This article is very informative and provide an in depth outlook on the gay Korean community. Much appreciated. I also provide something very similar. Visit http://www.IvanKorean.com. I’ll try to update my blog. Acceptance in Korea is getting better and better. 

  39. Media-wise, I think there’s a lot more acceptance these days. If I’m not mistaken there’s going to be a drama out about two man-woman couples who married each other’s lovers so they would seem “normal”, and of course there’s loads of beautifully written Korean homosexually-themes movies. We’ll have to wait and see how the broadcast station edits it though. 

    (And I’d just like to point out that in Sungkyunkwan Scandal, the homosexual themes are NOT in the main characters. Its in the two male co-stars played by Song JoongKi and Yoo AhIn, which was quite interesting because Joongki’s character admitted that he liked boys, but also said he tried to cure himself..with porn…I’m not sure how that works… The theme of the drama didn’t even focus on the homoeroticism. It was more on gender equality and class struggle. and government conspiracies lol)

  40. owww….I feel smarter everytime I read your blog…
    you guys feeding us with a new knowledge…
    plus in a fun way…
    I like you both a lot
    (in a friendship way…hehehe…don’t misunderstood….kkk)

  41. I feel that eventually Korea is going to openly accept gays, its going to take time, as older generations mindset is replaced by new, younger gen who are more open minded than before (internet, more contact with other cultures etc…). Its like dog meat, eventually it will go away/ forcing change only makes people more defensive and stubborn.

  42. Ah, blackout, clever indeed!

  43. Wow, thank you for addressing this! It’s nice to know that the younger generations are totally fine with homosexuality~ My CWP class has been studying how the world views homosexuality, and I always assumed that most of the Asian populous does not highly approve of the matter, so thank you for using your own experiences to disprove that! When I visit Korea, I will definitely have to visit Itaewon Station~ Plus, those are smart girls, avoiding the creepers by going to homosexual places!

  44. kudos to you….no wonder i love your blog… this was actually a question that’s been bugging me for while and you’ve shed some light on this issue, so thanks for answering this with tact and decorum and being informative.. what saddens me is there is always one or two party poopers shoving their own beliefs on others, aka below, but it’s a free world and an open blog, therefore probably almost unavoidable…. ps : thanks to everyone adding your openminded views and comments as it is with more awareness that prejudices and also ignorance can be countered

  45. I was surprised to see this topic addressed here, since it’s a somewhat difficult and controversial topic to discuss, especially when speaking from an outside perspective.
    But you handled it well imo.

    Being gay (but not korean, definitely wanna go to Korea at some point though) the first thing that struck me when I got into k-pop was all the fanservice and couple stuff going on.

    At first I thought it was “gay heaven”, but looking closer the fact that it’s always followed up with some sort of “no homo – look at what gross / weird stuff we’re doing for our fans lolz” made it more annoying than anything else.

  46. Dear Simon & Martina,

     

    In the U.S., more people than not; have engaged in
    pre-marital-sex. The Bible says, pre-marital-sex or fornication is against
    God’s ways, because the deep intimacy of sex without marriage weakens
    commitment and is emotionally harmful to you, the other person, to God, and the
    community.

    In this generation; divorce is so common that remaining a
    virgin seems to do little to insure a happy marriage. Yes, it is a lot of
    little things that add-up to a happy marriage; not just one thing. Teachers
    should not be promoting pre-marital-sex to their students; nor adultery; nor homosexuality;
    nor lust; nor greed; nor transvestitism, which the Bible says are harmful to
    everyone. You may not believe in God or the Bible. However, there are a lot of
    Korean parents who do, or who hold to the same morals. As a teacher; you should
    not be willfully undermining the parents.

     

    Many homosexuals were molested as children, and thus, attacked
    by Satan and put in bondage by Satan against their will. Satan continues to
    hold them in bondage into adulthood. It is only by the supernatural power of
    God that the homosexual person can come out of that lifestyle. God only gives
    that help when we acknowledge his authority as our creator and wholeheartedly
    seek him; a personal relationship with him; not religion; not trying to be good
    enough. We are all sinners. Homosexuals deserve common courtesy. We all need
    God.

    Sincerely, Peter P.

    • On the other hand, and this is coming from someone who lives in Kentucky right in the bible belt, the divorce rate is also accredited to people who marry because of sexual tension and therefore find out they are incompatible and divorce. Not saying that is the only reason. But many people who are from reserved communities are against pre-marital sex, and sometimes self-release as well (though it’s perfectly natural, has been known to relieve stress and occurs in nature all the time), will go to college, be it private or public, in order to find a wife or husband. They’ll get married young without knowing the person very well or without being prepared for such a big commitment because they feel the attraction and built-up sexual tension, and realize a few months later that they can’t stand the person. That there’s a personality trait or something that they can’t live with. 
      I wouldn’t say that no pre-marital sex is bad. It is a personal choice. But by taking in the context you speak about here, one can have a good relationship with someone, be with them for a long time to get to know them, perhaps move in and so on, and I would see no problem to have sex as well in such a case. They would be in a trusting environment with someone they believe they love and it might strengthen the commitment when one can tell if they are compatible in the bed as well as in the home. It is a situation like this that would call for more intimate ties. As much as you would quote the bible, actual marriage is really just a binding agreement with the state in the modern day. It can be broken off easily and has lost the meaning it had decades ago. I would think that a couple that has been together for many months or even years would be closer than a couple of virgins who decide to marry after say 3 months because they believed they would be hurt for having sex before marriage. Think about it in car terms if you will: You can decide to look at a car in detail, learn about it’s specs and how it runs, and then if it’s nice enough and fits your needs you can test drive it before deciding if you want to buy it. Or you can go into the lot without ever having owned a car before, pick one out because it seems nice at first with cool features, buy it, and find it doesn’t run well, the seats are as comfy as you thought, and there are several other complaints. Or you can check it out, find you love everything about it but haven’t driven it, buy it, find it runs good or crappy, and figure you can live with it either way.  It’s really a balance; you’ll get hurt if you whore around, you’ll get hurt if you blindly get married. Divorce rates are high because people don’t take the time to build a strong relationship, not because of having sex or being told about other options, or anything like that.Also, I am friends with several homosexuals, none of which had been molested as children. Though I know many out there may have been. When you say lifestyle, do you mean lifestyle of being afraid because they have been molested (and therefore it is a common ground to seek God for help) or of being gay? Because the later is not evil or Satanic. Most of the homosexuals I know are devote Christians and not because of some incident in their past. To believe in God in such a way would make him more of a crutch in a time of need of someone who can supernaturally help than a true faith. “God helps those who help themselves.” It’s like an atheist praying before he is about to die; useless since there is no real faith behind it, just desperation. True faith is developed slowly and thoroughly. I hope that you also understand that the Bible was written in a different era and in a different culture where several of the “rules” or sayings were more relevant then than they are now. Lastly, I see no reason why a teacher shouldn’t talk about such things in a classroom. They shouldn’t promote anything, obviously, but they should support that it is a person’s choice (or how they are in the case of homosexuality) and make it known that it exists. It is not undermining the parents. They are educating kids in how their society and community is. It would be the same as not talking about the history of segregation based on race in the classroom. Even a child is his own person and has to make decisions for himself, no matter how young. He’s the one who has to deal directly with the repercussions, not his family.

      And damn this is waaaaaaay longer than I thought it would be. But there’s my rant for the week. Enjoy it, tear at it, skip it, do whatever you want, but that’s my opinion.

      • True marriage in a church between two Christian people,
        performed by a Christian pastor, is a commitment between the man, the woman,
        and God. The State is only concerned about fairly dividing the money and assets
        in the event of divorce, and ensuring proper-care for children in divorce.

         

        If you do not have “commitment”; you leave the
        relationship when you no longer are having fun. You will not go through the
        hard-times. You learn commitment by waiting for sexual intimacy until marriage.
        By waiting; you also prove your top priority is the other person’s character;
        rather than: looks, charm, wealth, power, mutual-selfishness, or
        mutual-immorality. And, you include God in your relationship with your spouse,
        by doing things God’s way.

         

        God does not help anyone, Christian or not, who is willfully
        defying God’s commandments. Therefore, God is not helping your practicing
        homosexual friends. Satan is willing and powerful to help the wicked. The only
        prayer God will hear from the homosexual is a prayer confessing his sin and
        seeking God. There will be some former homosexuals in heaven, who sought God,
        and repented from homosexuality before they died. You cannot go to heaven, and
        have persisted in sins, like homosexuality, without repentance, without having sought
        God; without having tried to improve; (in that order). Therefore, there is no
        such thing as a willfully practicing homosexual Christian, who is out promoting
        homosexuality. Not to say, Christians never sin. A homosexual might become a
        Christian, and slip in a moment of stress and weakness; but he would then
        repent and seek God. You can say you are a Christian, but saying so does not
        make you one. Going to church does not make you a true Christian. Arnold Schwarzenegger
        was a far-left, liberal, Ted-Kennedy, Democrat, but called himself a
        “Republican”, and many people believed him. I am not the one who will
        decide whether you get into heaven or not. God knows your innermost thoughts
        and motives; and everything you have done. God will judge you.

         

        God did not destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah for their
        homosexuality as a cultural thing in the Bible, the book of Genesis, Chapter-19.
        God’s judgments upon nations and persons throughout the Old-Testament;
        resulting in the enslavement or death of millions of people were not
        cultural-preferences. If you throw-out “homosexuality” as a cultural
        thing; then you can throw-out all the Bible’s commandments and sins as
        cultural-things; and all the Bible is meaningless. The Bible is the living word
        of God. God does not change like a man.

        • God also says you shouldn’t be eating pork.

          I am a Jew and do not take the Bible literally, I see my faith as my personal decision and a link to my community.  I’ve had two lesbians as Rabbi’s, and they are some of the most righteous and thoughtful people I have met.  I believe that some things in the Bible, like loving your neighbor and not bearing false witness, still stand.  I believe some, like the sabbath, are cultural choices I make as a Jew.  And I believe, others, like not eating pork and the prohibition against homosexuality, are reflections of the time they were written at.

          Furthermore, if you are a Christian, my understanding is that Jesus himself was more into following the spirit of the law rather then the letter.

          Also, you have to accept that there are two institutions of marriage, one sacred and one secular.  There are actually plenty of churches that allow gays to marry, what they are fighting for is the their secular benefits.

        • The Bible in the New Testament changes the law against eating pork, and specifically allows it – Acts 11:5-9. There is no change in the New-Testament in the law against homosexuality. One reason God may have banned pork in the Old-Testament is because people in that day did not understand the dangers of under-cooked pork, such as Trichinosis (intestinal-worms). The New Testament specifically names fornication (pre-marital-sex), adultery, and homosexuality as sins, which if persisted in will prevent a person from entering Heaven – 1-Corinthians 6:9. Jews who believe in the Old-Testament, but not the New-Testament should not eat pork; should not engage in homosexuality or fornication; and should be sacrificing lambs regularly as atonement for their sins.

          Nice people, who are adulterers, fornicators, or gay getting together and starting a church, and some of them taking the title of Pastor or Rabbi does not mean God approves. Anyone persisting in any sin; lying, greed; malicious-gossip, slander; is defying God’s commandments in the Bible.

          Jesus did not stone the woman caught in adultery; and deterred those who had wanted to stone her from doing so. Yet, Jesus also said to her “sin no more”. – John 8:11.

          The gay-agenda is not satisfied with secular, civil-unions performed by the government, and partner-benefits. The gay-agenda wants the title “marriage” to say homosexuality is approved by the church, by the Bible, and by God. The same as you are saying here. Christians say “no” that is not what the Bible / God says. I believe the Bible is the inspired word of God.

          You say you do not believe the Bible to be God’s word or to be literal. Therefore, you do not believe in the God of the Bible or the morals of the Bible. To you; the Bible is only a historical book of Jews who lived long ago. For you; there is no moral authority higher than what you feel like. Therefore, you are not writing to discuss the God of the Bible or the morals of the Bible, but to only to oppose the Bible. Your letter is pure politics.

        • Lol sorry but you’re not very intelligent if you take the whole bible that literal. The bible is more like a message that says you have to love one another. Do you actually think god creates gay people and then forbid them to be gay? That doesn’t make sense.

          p.s. some people think Jesus was bisexual ;-) (Y)

    • ………………………………….

      LOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

      Wow. Attacked by Satan and put in bondage? That was priceless. People bend religion out of context to fit their prejudice. You, sir, are a prime example of such behaviour. You deface God’s name and use it to cover up your hatred and unkindness. You are the reason why Christianity has fallen out of favor with the world.

      • now just Satan and bondage pops a ol’new image in my little twisted mind…;-)

      • The Bible, 1 Corinthians 6:9,

        “Do not be deceived; neither fornicators
        (pre-marital-sex), nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate (gigolos), nor
        homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous (greedy), nor drunkards, nor
        revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God (go to heaven).”

        The Bible, Leviticus 18:22,

        “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a
        female; it is an abomination.”

         

        The Bible, Romans 1:25-27, says, homosexuality is “unnatural”
        and “an indecent act”.

         

        “Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their
        hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For
        they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the
        creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason
        God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural
        function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men
        abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward
        one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own
        persons the due penalty of their error.

         

        People who do not recognize God’s authority; may, likewise, not
        recognize the authority and responsibility parents have over school-children to
        teach them good morals; or the authority parents have as a group over teachers.

         

        It is not hateful to point people toward the path
        of Heaven, and away from the path to eternity in Hell. It is deceitful and
        uncaring, if not evil, to tell people they can defy God and get into heaven.

        • I hope for consistency’s sake you also refrain from eating pig (Leviticus 11:8), shellfish ( Leviticus 11:10) masturbating (Genesis 38:9-10) and wearing cotton/polyester blends (Leviticus 19:19)! It also displeases G-d when you sport a bowlcut (Leviticus 19:27 ). Hmm, that’s like most middle school Korean kids if memory serves me correctly. Hey look, it’s you! http://FunnyOrDie.com/m/1u1n

      • You only want to tell children one side of the argument. I
        quoted the Bible; and some of you people got hostile. This shows that
        government-teachers working in government-schools should not be imposing this
        debate upon school-children, but, instead, should stick to: reading, writing,
        arithmetic, and foreign-language.

         

        Christian-teachers are not starting the debate; but, rather,
        as here, respond to your promotion of an agenda of immorality to
        school-children.

         

        The American government legalized and promoted slavery in
        the American-Colonies and the United States for 200-years. You cannot get your
        morals from government. You feel self-righteous, because the last three
        Democrat Presidents have been government-union, atheists posing as Christians
        to get votes; and they promoted an agenda of immorality.

         

        God would not be impressed if 4-billion people united
        against him. God has already judged Satan, a fallen angel, and his demons,
        fallen-angels. God has condemned Satan to Hell. You still have an opportunity
        to reconcile with God; no matter your past sins. Satan wants to take you and me
        with him to Hell, because he hates us. Satan knows your name; where you live;
        and all about you. Satan is the great deceiver and liar. Satan and his demons occasionally
        come into the presence of God and tremble at the awesome power of their
        creator. Yet, Satan tells you, “Do whatever you want.” I must admit;
        I am not writing this because I am so concerned about you. I am concerned about
        the innocent, school-children you are corrupting with your immorality. Are you
        teaching them they can be transvestites; that women can take male-hormones, and
        cut-off their breasts; and men can take female-hormones and cut-off their
        shmekels? How old are these school-children you are corrupting with your
        promotion of promiscuous-sex? Do you feel any responsibility for the resulting
        unwanted pregnancies among these school-children? Will you then promote
        aborting, or rather killing the baby in the womb that has a brain-wave, a
        heartbeat, and a God-given, soul?

         

        If you really cared about these young, school-children;
        instead of doing what you feel like doing; you would be teaching them morals,
        ethics, respect for their parents, and respect for God their creator.   

  47. Great video, glad you brought this up.  I’m curious if the views on homosexuality in Korea tend to divide along religious lines as well.  I ask because Buddhism tends to be tolerant of homosexuality (on paper at least), while Christianity generally isn’t (except in more liberal communities).

    Given that Korea is roughly both Christian and Buddhist, I wonder if that plays into it in any way.  Or perhaps they both generally approach it similarly.

    I get the impression, based on my own very limited experiences, that the “problem” Korean culture (and Asian culture as a whole) have with being gay is that it affects one’s ability to have a family which is a big deai in East Asia’s Confucian background.  Children normally have a duty to their parents to help raise another generation and carry on the family name/traditions/etc, so being gay would normally prevent this (adoption notwithstanding).

    But that is a just my limited impression.

  48. UBERSEXUAL!
    I totally agree with you guys on all of this.
    My parents/grandparents (all Korean) do view homosexuality as a “problem” or like “disease,” in turn making me and my brother feel like it was wrong and kind of a scary topic.
    Of course, I grew up and I was able to form my own opinion on homosexuality (I have nothing against it now), but I can’t say the same for the older generation.

  49. the way i see it god made men for women and women for men…. that what i know

  50. Thank you so much for this video, I’m really glad you discussed it, and I think you did it very well! 

  51. Thank you for talking about this topic.
    Have a great week!

  52. I moved to Japan 6 months ago and from what I’ve seen they’re very close-minded on this. I’ve heard stories about the middle-aged homosexual man who will go to a gay-bar on Saturday nights, but be with his wife and kids the rest of the week – the wife has to accept this or she will be dishonored, and he has to pretend to be happy with his situation or again, he will be dishonored as well.

    If you’re homosexual in Japan there’s a lot of places to go to in Osaka and Tokyo, but otherwise not much. I’ve only been to Osaka once (for Super Show 4 – yay!), so I don’t know much about that area, but in Tokyo the Shinjuku 2-chome, from the Kabukicho exit has a lot of gay-bars, where you can meet dragqueens and butch lesbians and whatever. The area is really fun, but also the only area in Tokyo considered dangerous at night – which is still equal not dangerous at all, because it’s Japan and everyone is always nice. I’ve never come across a fight here and you can walk home at any time of the night without being scared.I’m getting away from my point, which is: partying as the homosexual you are fri-sun night is completely accepted. But being homosexual anywhere else than these bars, at any other time is completely unaccepted! Skinship in Japan is so different from what skinship in Korea is. In Japan you will never find to men holding hands, not even two girls – because then they HAVE to be homosexual. It’s even hard to find a hetrosexual couple holding hands, because that is showing waaaaay too much affection in public.Most Japanese people don’t even want to be in a relationship – especially the girls, who feels pressured into sex and who has no dream of husband and kids, because if they get these things their career is over and they’ll spend the rest of their life taking care of the husband and kids.So even though there’s a lot of “yaoi”, anime and real action gay-porn coming from Japan – they’re not openminded about homosexuality. at. all.I’m sorry my comment is so long, I guess I just had a lot to say about the topic ^^;Thanks for a great review of homosexuality in Korea! I can’t way to go to Homo Hill XD

  53. My boyfriend is Korean and is straight…considering I’m a girl.  He never knew any gay people until I introduced him to some of my friends and he is really interested in knowing what their lifestyle is like and he is totally accepting of them.  This isn’t to say he was wary at first.  However, I can only wish other Korean people could be as open-minded as he is.  Even when it comes to western countries and conservative people.  Honestly…if it’s not effecting you, why does it need to be some problem?

  54. Most portrayals of “homosexuality” in mainstream Korean media is either as a joke (ie: ha ha two guys are kissing and it’s funny because it’s gross), or as a “yaoi-girl” fantasy (ie: omg wound’t it be hot if A and B were totally in love with each other?!!!”).  

    Which is why I’m particularly glad you mentioned Life is Beautiful in your post, which I think is quite possibly the only portrayal of homosexuality in mainstream media that managed to not go down either of the aforementioned paths.

    I thought you guys handled the topic (which can be very sensitive) expertly.  Kudos.

  55. Hello Simon and Martina ~ 

    I thought I’d post you this. Its a link to a short film made by Korea Gay Men Human Rights Group. It’s a really nice clip - accepting, and it warns young people about being safe when trying to find a partner. It’s a good watch, very sweet.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-f6DNeDnWJk 

    Also, have you watched “Antique Café” ? one of the main characters is gay (played awesomely by Kim Jae Wook (Coffee Prince)). Its a full film and a good watch, but it also has a few scenes that include gay bars and romantic scenes. At one point The gay couple are in bed together (cuddling) – it’s refreshing to see that they were able to keep this scene in.

    Anywho, give them a watch if you have time :)

    • I think you mean Antique Bakery :) It’s a very good film, by the way. The gay motive is very distinctive and interesting. I was also a little bit surprised that they actually allowed it, but then hey, I know close to nothing about the attitude towards homosexuality in Korea, to be honest…

      • Ah! You are right! Thank you! ^^

        And yeah I was surprised too after hearing how many people feel about it. It’s nice that they are trying to educate young gay men though, as not having any information about the risks in meeting random men could lead to dangerous situations. I hope they keep this up :)

  56. I used to go to the Rhode Island School of Design, which has a heavy population of Koreans because RISD has an outpost in Korea and often recruits students from there. It also has quite a lot of openly lesbian and gay people. I was friends with a few Koreans, and heard a conversation that went something like this: “I don’t like gay people. If I knew one, I would still talk to them, but I wouldn’t want to be friends with them.” There was an uncomfortable silence and another Korean girl said, “You can’t say things like that at this school.” At that moment I really wanted to say, “Well, what if I told you I was lesbian?” but didn’t say anything. Unfortunately this was the only time I heard the topic addressed, but it stuck with me.

    • so what are you trying to get at? why didn’t you say anything?

      P.S I’m just curious. :)

      • The other girls were clearly uncomfortable with the topic; I’m pretty sure some of them disagreed (or perhaps agreed but didn’t want to offend anyone eavesdropping), but confrontation, in a lot of Asian cultures, even Asian-Americans, is something to be avoided. So I think we all chose not to further the conversation and it kind of awkwardly ended. Anyway, that’s the only experience I’ve had with this topic, and wish I had more to offer–but yeah, hopefully it was an objective contribution to everyone’s experiences.

  57. Hey with in the Kpop male group. There has been open toppect about some of the guys being Bi , or gay, or having boyfriends in the past. wich come out of MBLAQ’s Joon lee ( Dx dont pick on Joon!!! he’s smart, when he wants to be.) and one more things is that in all mblaq mv that have something to do with a gun why do Joon lee always have the gun!!! and  in there mv Its war … they took the gun thing form a mvoie im telling you should look at it and revew it xDD

  58. i would think that it would be accepted more considering its like okay for guys to like sit on eachothers lap and girls walk dowm the street hand in hand

    • I know, right? I have always thought of it as a ‘double-moral’ you know? It’s okay for idols to pretend to be a couple (f.e.: YunJae <3 yay! hahaha) but what if they were gay in real life? I think they would be like totally shunned out :( at least judging by what happened to that male korean celebrity who went out of the closet and lost his job and stuff … I personally find it really heart-breaking that in case the idol I like was actually gay he could never be himself in the open and would have to live a double life, only able to 'act' gay as a joke and for fanservice :(

  59. Oh;;;….. I didn’t know that there are gay in our country…… I have not seen the gay.
    Umm….. We should follow the nature’s raw, right? ….
    Man and Man???…… ???….. oh…..
    My thought is too conservative?… well….
    Extremely a few people living in korea agree to the Homosexuality as I known, so…
    Yeah…I think that’s impossible to change our perspetive. (o_o)>

    • It is never impossible to change your own perspective. 

    • There are a lot of gay Korean men in Korea.  You don’t see gay Koreans because they do not openly act gay, nor do they identify as gay, they are typically married with children.  However, they do have sex with men, either at sauna’s or love motels or in more seedy places such as gay movie theaters in Seoul.  I have learned this rule of thumb:  If a Korean acts and dresses like a homosexual male would in America he is probably straight.  If a Korean dresses and acts overly masculine there is a chance he is gay (if he is between the ages of 19-30).  Gay Korean men (outside of Seoul) are extremely masculine. It is almost like living in opposite world.  But it is what it is. To give you an example my Korean co-teacher picked me up for dinner last night and when I got in his car it was blaring Backstreet Boys, and on his iphone the wallpaper is David Beckham in tiny underwear and he was wearing a korean version of skinny jeans.  Dude is a straight Korean while in America he would be perceived as gay.  You just have to change your perception of what is gay and not gay in Korea.

  60. Hi, guys! This is an ideal chance to me to thank you. I’m a family mother, writing from Mexico City, and I’m always outstanding to my 16-years-old daughter’s interests, so nowadays I became a K.Pop fan, mad for Super Junior in order to keep my friendship with her. I discovered your “Eat Your Kimchi” channel in one of your videos where you made fun of Kpop dancers, so I shared it with her. Since that day we started following you everyday with increasing love and admiration.

    Thanks to you, my dear baby has not only a bigger panorama of korean world, but the coolest example of how a couple can get on well around with equality, fun and respect. 

    Now that i read your position about homosexuality, i can tell you: Bravo! (I recently read Simon’s reply about people who often question his sexual orientation) I don’t have more words to express my gratitude. You both have, besides a cool image, a big responsability with all those opinions you launch to the space. So one more time, thank you and congratulations, you are the closest example for a perfect couple. Really, you don’t have an idea of the great gift you’re giving to our teen world. Love you, guys. Go ahead with this!!

  61. My previous post was mainly geared toward gay men.  I forgot to add my experience with my sisters in arms the lesbian scene.  While I have little experience here is what I can tell you.

    Believe it or not there is also a huge lesbian Korean scene.  The difference between the lesbian bars and the gay bars is that the lesbian bars only allow women.  Two of my friends said the most popular bars are in Sinchon (which is an amazing part of Seoul – you should visit even if you aren’t gay) which is the home of Yonsei University students and Gangnam (which is the swankiest of all places in Seoul).  Apparently from what I hear the Gangnam lesbian bar is very popular and packed on the weekends.  I wouldn’t know because men are not allowed in.  But I did want to provide updates for my lesbian friends, you are not alone.  You too also have a scene.  I would ask if any of the gay sisters know any additional information they could post more.  It does feel lonely when you first arrive and are semi-forced back in the closet and don’t know how to connect with the gay scene.  That is primarily why I posted my previous post.  If anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask :)

  62. http://zikotechnofun.blogspot.com/2012/01/k-pop-radio-stream-list.htmlvisit this link to watch,. korean drama and k-pop music dowload,..  you can request you favorits music, to download. 

  63. I am a gay westerner doing my 2nd year in Korea and wanted to add somethings I have learned.  To start off, there are a lot of gay Korean men, and when I say a lot at any given time there are pages and pages of men on the gay personal websites.  So to think there are only a few here and there, that is not the case.  More accurately would be to say there are relatively few gay koreans who are out.  So to discuss some of your blog.

    1) Jongno-Ga 3 Is very “sticky rice” which is a term to describe gay koreans who seek other gay asians, as opposed to a “rice queen” which would be any nonasian man who is only looking for gay asians.  It is a great place, however, I would advise going into most of the gay bars with a Korean friend.  The area also has a lot of gay saunas or bathhouses.  If you are a westerner these aren’t the type of bathhouses in America that are often looked down upon and thought of as dirty.  They are exactly like mixed couple jimjilbangs, except it is all men, and yes gay sex happens there.  As a westerner you may be surprised that most gay Asians do not practice safe sex in this area; however, condoms are provided in most saunas.

    2) Itaewon is by far the most “out” and open place in Seoul.  There are a variety of men from foreigners to Koreans.  There are about 4 main bars and a number of gay saunas.  Like most places in America there is what is called “feeding time” or “the golden hour” which is when the bars are closing and the saunas/love motels fill up.  So if you are just looking for a fun time then this is the area to go to.

    3) Busan, Gwangju, Daejon all have a gay scene, contrary to popular belief.  If you are moving to Korea and want to reach out to the gay community or just to get a feel what gay community is in your area go to http://www.utopia-asia.com/tipskor.htm .  Then select your area.  I will say from first hand experience gays in Busan act different from gays in Seoul.  More than likely as a result of being more conservative in Seoul.  However, Busan has the 2nd largest gay population and offers almost the exact same experience as Seould on a smaller level. 

    4) As for accepting being gay: here is my perception of the gay population in the areas of Korea I have visited.  A majority of the gay population are gay koreans who are closeted (a number who are married) they will not come out, not for your, no matter how pretty you are.  The second largest gay population I would say is equally split between gay military (a number who are married) will not come out, not for your, no matter how pretty you are (see what I did there) and gay english teachers.  The gay English teachers are probably the most diverse group because some have come from home where they were openly gay and this may be the first time they have to hide their gayness, or are masculine and straight acting and are like the military men.

    5)  There are a number of sites you can use to connect with gays in Korea. 
    http://www.adam4adam.com
    http://www.manhunt.net
    http://www.utopia-asia.com/tipskor.htm
    http://www.fridae.asia

    These sites range from individuals looking for a good time to individuals wanting to hang out and make new friends.

    6)  If you are a gay man coming to Korea don’t worry.  There are plenty of gays here, both foreign and Korean.  Be open to changing some of your thoughts on gay things the biggest example being the gay saunas.  Know that if you end up having an Asian boyfriend he probably will not be out and will probably remain closeted.  Understand that the sticky rice mentality is not uncommon there will be Asians who only prefer other Asians just as there will be foreigners who only prefer other foreigners.  As a gay, especially one who is either already teaching here, or one who is thinking about coming here to teach, you are probably pretty outgoing and adventurous.  If that is the case I would recommend http://adventurekorea.com/ .  While this site is not gay related at all, I have meet some really cool guys with some of their adventures.

  64. you realize this is a 4 min video, and the power of the topic is so great. It’s interesting to see the view point of Korea as a nation, now we know this isn’t something generalized but an approximation, and I think Simon and Martina did a gret job adressing this topic. People should be more open minded, and respect each other and their own individual preferances. It’s nice to hear that the younger generations are more accepting of homosexuality. :)

  65. I was just talking with someone about this same subject today. I think that there are some celebrities who are obviously gay and I actually feel sorry for them because of some the people (fans) that vehemently deny it. It reminds me of the saying that your best friend can be your worst enemy. I have a feeling that those people will not only turn their back on them but also become hateful.

    • exactly what does obviously gay mean? I’d like to hear it because the korean male attitude is generally a lot more effeminate than americans.

      • If you’ve never met or seen someone who you knew right away was gay (and they were) then no amount of me explaining my point of view will make a difference. I don’t think it’s a negative thing but that’s my own opinion.

    • I completely agree and have been feeling the same way (sorry for those celebrities) for quite a while. It must be really tough, not being able to talk to anyone about it.

      This is just speculation, but I have a feeling that some of them may be able/have already come out to certain international idols (idols who grew up abroad etc.), and if that’s the case, I hope it helps them. Sometimes I wish I could send them some kind of message to tell them that there are places in the world that they can go and be accepted for who they are.

    • I thought the same today, now, I feel bad cause I’m all fangirling every time the idols “act like gay” and wishing for them to actuallyopen declare it but what if that brings them big problems, and unhappiness, I feel selfish and stupid

  66. I am SO GLAD you guys finally addressed this subject.  I have asked about it in the past, and I’m sure that perhaps the timing was right with the whole new format and all that.  But more importantly is the fact that you guys are “visible” so its good to have an opinion on such a controversial matter in hopes of continuing to “open the minds” of those that are closed to the concept of homosexuality.  My daughter FREQUENTLY counter protests against The Westboro Baptist Church or “GodHatesFags.com” church.  She’s even had the police thank her and her friends for showing up and making THEIR job easier by playing the “inbetween” between the police and the Westboro people.  As you can imagine, the police are often in support of the counter protesters and often help the counter-protestors in their endeavors.  (Westboro also “believes” that anyone that works for the government or is paid by the Government, such as the Police; are FAGS as well!)  These people aren’t a church…they’re a HATE GROUP!!!!  The “church” is an unfortunate categorization in this country that gives them special considerations and allows them to not have to account really for all their money as they are a “church” and all churches are “non-for-profit” and exist under a protected group of IRS rules that are beneficial to ANYONE operating under the guise of a “church.”  (Is it no wonder there are so many scheisters in this country, robbing people of their money in exchange for eternal salvation????  Don’t think there’s a connection?  Think again!!!)    (Please realize the only reason why I am bringing up these people is because ultimately, they represent just how far HATE TOWARD HOMOSEXUAL PEOPLE can become.  How twisted and confused people can be about something so simple.)  If this is the first time you have heard of the Westboro people, please know that frequenting their web-site will only make them happy!!!  Go there…perhaps copy & paste their content for your off-line reading pleasure but try not to give them too much attention. They LOVE ATTENTION and we hate to give it to them.  They work under the guise that they have a freedom of speech here in America and that they can say whatever they want.  Even at MILITARY FUNERALS (which they refer to anyone that has served in the Military as a “FAG”)  and they often show up at Military Funerals with signs about how the Military is an army of fags and that God hates fags…bla, bla, bla….often times though the Biker Gang: The Hells Angels will show up and run “counter protest” and just basically scare the hell out of the Westboro people so they won’t approach any of the mourners, (which they are known to do yelling at them that the person that just died is a FAG and that GOD HATES FAGS!!! And that they are ALL going to hell for loving a fag.  Unreal, huh?)…Obviously you can tell…these are horrible people and I want to get the word out about who they are and that people should be standing up against such hate against Homosexuality because THIS is where it leads.  This is the Super Bowl of such hate toward Homosexuality!!  All from the viewpoint that being homosexual is somehow going against God.  MAN made God…so I guess MAN can come up with all the rules they want to about who’s life style is right and whose isn’t.  BUT…that is still in the eyes of the Lord (if you know your man written bible) casting stones and passing judgement!!!!  Knowing as many gay people as I do, I can only say that   A) NO ONE CHOOSES TO BE GAY!  It would be like choosing to be a black woman in the 1940′s…WHY would one wish such hardship on themselves.  AND… B)  Anyone that is Gay…I hope they can find happiness or already have.  Because to be made to feel like you cannot be happy or loved if you are not a heterosexual, is a horrible and hateful mentality that is closed minded and extremely ignorant of reality and biological facts!!!!  This generation needs to continue to have open discussions about this issue until we can intellectually embrace this situation, realizing it isn’t a choice.  It happens and can happen to anyone.  It is simply the way people are “hard-wired” from the beginning and no one is to blame for these outcomes either.  The only WRONG people in the whole matter are those that judge and continue to be hateful and ignorant.  I know this was a rant…but it had to be said and I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to do so.  STOP THE HATE!!!!!!       Thank you for weighing in on this matter finally!    I know it isn’t a fun subject but nontheless, its an important one in today’s society world wide.

  67. The thing is, it takes a LOT to be viewed as actually gay in Korea. Like how all the male celebs are kissing each other but they aren’t considered gay, it’s considered cute.  

  68. I remember seeing an article on allkpop a while ago about a drama centering around 3 lesbian couples and what their struggles would honestly be like. I believe it got cut because of animosity from older audiences.  : (

  69. This was really interesting and something I was curious about. Thanks.

  70. I don’t know if someone already say it but, there’s actually a korean man who did a really interesting documentary-movie about homosexuality in Korea… If You want to really know about this try to found “Miracle of Jongno-3 street”. (There’s probably many others documentary/movie about this, but I saw this one, and I really loved it… I’ve saw this at a cinema festival actually)

  71. Hello, I’m Korean student living in 분당. (My English writing skill isn’t so good;; but I’ll try ^^)
    I discovered this homepage by chance today and I watched many of your videos. I just want to say that this is awsome! I love your logical discussions and neutral views. Umm, I feel (as a normal and fine Korean student) homosexuality is OK when you just speak about it or discuss about it. But if you bring it to your life? I mean if you become a gay, you have to worry about yourself. You will think like this. “What am I thinking? Why do I feel love when I see men? I’m MAN!! This can’t happen!! NOOO!!!! But what can I do? This is all about my heart. So loving men is my true feeling. But how can I tell my friends that I’m gay? They will probably make fun of me and girls will never be my friends anymore!! How about my parents? Will they accept this fact? they are going to be really sad when I tell them I’m gay.
    But I can’t let them down. What should I do? I’d rather suicide!!(don’t do thisㅠㅠ)”

    This is why there are not many gays in Korea. Even though a man who loves man exists in Korea, they can’t reveal their true feelings to others because of other people’s views. So they marry to other sex in the end because of others views around him. I think This is very strange but, I Think I’m not going to make fun of my friend who is gay. But I’m afraid of regarded as a gay.(IF I’m gay. But I’m definitely not)(<— see how strong I denied?)

    But Koreans do not care about foreign homosexualities. Koreans think that Western people are very open minded so we do not see western gay or lesbian as a weird relationship.

    It was really fun to have time to write this and I want you to know that my writing doesn't contain any malices.

    • 지환 김 Your statement that “…there are not many gays in Korea.”  is absurd and obviously you are very young and ignorant.  You have every right to make others aware that you in NO WAY are gay despite the fact that you have a guy friend that IS gay.  That being said…isn’t it a little interesting even to just realize that YOU know someone that is gay and yet you don’t think there are many gays in Korea?  Certainly, they don’t out number the Heterosexuals (just like anywhere else) but there is (and I PROMISE you this fact…) there is at least 5% OR GREATER of Koreans living IN Korea that are Homosexual.  That’s “…many…” no matter what.  Sadly, most of them cannot be open about it.  Even in the States still, there are many that cannot be openly gay, though there is more opportunity to be “out” here than perhaps other places.   Please do some reading both pro and con about Homosexuality in the world so that you can make a more informed opinion about this circumstance AND perhaps understand your gay friend just a bit more for having obtained that information.  Glad you have found eatyourkimchi.com  Simon and Martina are awesome people.  I’ve been following them for just over two years now…they are very good people.  I wish you love and happiness.  Peace!

      • I think you misunderstood what 지환 김 was trying to say… He did state “This is why there are not many gays in Korea” but what he meant (my interpretation)  was “This is why there are not many DECLARED gays in Korea”, if you read what he wrote just after that sentence you’ll see that’s what he meant to say: “Even though a man who loves man exists in Korea, they can’t reveal
        their true feelings to others because of other people’s views”… Anyways, english is not his first language (just like 지환 김 stated himself) so maybe that is why it wasn’t so clear…btw, english is not my 1st language either, so sorry if this was hard to understand…

      • Vbninja, 

        I also think you have very much misunderstood what 지환 김was saying.  He wasn’t saying there are not many gay’s in Korea, he was saying that there are not many open gay’s in Korea… He then explained why this is.  What the internal struggle of being gay in Korea is like, and why most end up keeping it a secret.  He also said his english writing was not very good and ended with “my writing does not contain any malices”.   Perhaps it is you who needs to do some reading… Please know that adding, “I wish you love and happiness.  Peace!” after an extremely condescending statement does not make it any less condescending, rather, more so.  I’m hoping that is my misunderstanding – but please see how easy misunderstanding is, even between two people who both speak English.Jessica

      • I’m very pleased to be pointed out. But like Mr. Chavez and Ms Jessica have said, what I meant in my writing was “There are not many declared gays because of social views or something like that as far as I know.” But forgive me that I didn’t come up with the proper word to say at that time when I was writing. I’m sorry that my writing brought misunderstanding and I think you did too sharp observation on my writing not taking into account of my writing skill. But still I’m only 21years old and I have a lot more world to see. 
         Because I am going to keep commenting about “Simon and Martina’s videos” I Think I have to say this. At first, when I write, I’m very very happy. That means it is not possible for me to write bad emotional phrases. But because I’m not Westerner, I can’t figure out that which phrase I wrote can be a bad meaning to everybody who lives in Western country or bring misunderstandings. So it is grateful for me to get pointed out for my ‘can be vague’ expressions or sentences. Second, the theme of my writing is not even close to assuring. All I write is my personal opinion as an ordinary 21year old Korean student who is good at social interact and have many friends. So I’m not speaking about pros or cons. I’m just speaking of my personal experiences and thoughts about the comparison.  As a result I regret to talk about my opinion about this heavy theme. I’m too young and out of information to mention about heavy themes.So I decided that if Simon and Martina release any video about teenagers in Korea and discuss about it, and then I’ll speak out loud because I know very well about it. I’m very sorry about my careless talk.

        • I don’t think you were careless at all, so please don’t regret giving your opinion. Your view is similar to my Korean friends, most of which are older than you (mostly a few years, but some are even 30 years old or older), so it’s not just your young inexperience, it’s your cultural view. Thank you for showing us your perspective as a Korean, and please feel free to continue to do so, since this site is dedicated to learning about Korean culture. Someone will probably always say something that might go against what you said, but that doesn’t make what you contribute any less valuable!! ^^ Thank you!

        • Thank you so much for your kind reply. You encouraged me a lot!! I learned from you~^^ 

        • Sorry for the late reply but I hope it helps.

          I have every hope that one day you will not feel isolated or confused about your feelings in a decades time.

          The fight for equality is on-going.  Together we have to stay strong and fight for our rights.

          And the only way to do this is by coming out.  At first parents and family may feel upset but they will come to terms with it eventually. At some point in our lives we have to accept that not all people can cope with the issue but you will have to regard your own happiness above others at some point.  Otherwise depression can occur leading to possible suicide.  Living a lie by marrying a woman is unfair to her and any children that may come into the world.  They deserve somebody that will truly love them.

          I’m lucky enough to have been raised in the UK and I live in one of the big gay cities so have never received any prejudice but every year we still march in Pride Events.  Even a country as big as the US are way behind in terms of equality.

          I know you’re probably aware of this but attending the events at this website: http://www.kqcf.org/ will make you feel like you are not alone.

          Stay fighting! :)

        • I just want to say again that you do not need to apologize. You were only giving your opinion and your cultural perspective, and you weren’t being malicious or offensive at all. 

          As Laura Benavides said, this website is for learning about Korean culture, and as a Korean, your views and opinions are really valuable! 
          It’s also very reassuring to see that, even though you might be unsure about homosexuality, you are very open-minded and quite understanding, despite how conservative Korea’s culture is.
          Thanks again and if you have anything to say, keep posting ^^

    • Thanks for commenting! I can tell that you’re not trying to be mean or rude in this comment, but rather explain the perspective of how difficult it is for someone in Korea to reveal that they’re gay.

      Your perspective is actually very valuable for us to hear because you have been raised in Korea, while we are just commenting on Korea from our personal perspective, and our friends’ personal perspective. Hope to see more of your comments! ^^

      ps-> Don’t worry about your English writing skill, there are many people commenting on this blog from all over the world with all different levels of English. Also, did you know that English is not Simon’s first language? His first language is actually Polish, and he learned English later on.

      • Wow! I didn’t even imagine that Simon’s first language is Polish. He is so good at English!! I hope I can be fluent like Simon. I’m very encouraged by your reply^^. Thank you and I’m your big fan~~~~!! 

  72. Homosexuality is such an odd conversation topic in Korea. My friends and I used to joke that Korea is the gayest homophobic country we had ever been to. There was definitely something kind of funny about my male Korean friends in their shiny suits and “flower boy” makeup being really freaked out by their foreign friends discussing gay guys in the States. (This, however, has everything to do with cultural differences; the “looking gay” stereotype is not the same in Korea as in North America.) Obviously, you can’t make blanket statements about a whole culture, and I had great native Korean friends that were totally comfortable with gay people, but it definitely wasn’t something you could just bring up in public. Oddly enough though, Korea is a place where (particularly women) can be kind of “covertly gay”; nobody will think twice if two women hold hands on the sidewalk. What drove me crazy as a teacher was that my middle school boys constantly using “gay” as a derogatory and insulting term; any homosexual foreigners coming to live in Korea should be mentally/emotionally prepared for that. My two best friends in Korea were NOT out to their schools or many of our Korean friends. 

    I went to Viva! Queer (the pride celebration) last spring in Seoul, and it was pretty great. There are a lot of rules though; you are warned against taking close-up pictures of anybody because people really do fear their employers or families finding out. 

    Overall, the younger generation is getting better about accepting homosexuality. But the process is markedly slower than in North America. 

  73. I am studying Korean History as my major in college…. 
    One of the reasons that I think that homosexuality is still not as accepted in Korea is that Koreans still are very seeped in the traditions of Confucius… 
    One of the main ideas is filial piety… this means honoring your elders and most of the time it also means having children to carry on the family… this is hard to do if you are in a homosexual relationship… 
    I think this may be one of the reasons that homosexuality is only now being acknowledged and accepted in Korea

    • Actually, many Koreans are Christian now. In the Christian religion, being homosexual is against the Bible.

    • I’ve read somewhere that, unlike China and Japan (as well as European countries), there aren’t really historic homosexuals in Korea’s history.  Is that true?

      • compared to homosexuality in pre-modern China and Japan, homosexuality in ancient Korea isn’t as well documented but it did exist. King Gongmin of the Goryeo Dynasty, for instance, was supposedly known for having had relationships with younger men; homosexual relationships were also common within all-male groups of travelling performers.

  74. Hey, Yoo Ah In and Soong Joon Ki won best couple in an award show last year for Sungkyunkwan Scandal! So, that’s proof that they’re not THAT closed-minded. But then again, they were joking around with it only. :|

    • That’s a very good point (about the “best couple” award thing) but just like you also stated…they did it under the guise of “we’re just playing around…acting!!!”  Sadly, that does nothing to help create understanding about homosexuality and that it really does exist in Korea.  Especially throughout history…Some of those all men communes…It was probably MORE common than anyone would ever want to admit that there were some shenanigans going on when others’ were not looking.  They still did the “right thing” in the long run though and took a wife for the sake of carrying on their lineage.

  75. awesome. thx for the input! when i can speak korean better i’d like to visit korea and go the homo areas. cause i’m bi and i’d love to interact with such an interesting homo community! again, thx for the video xD

  76. Quite a few celebs in Korea are secretly gays,I think it can be more that 1/3, looks like they go out with girls too, so don’t know if they are bi or what…. some female celebs who had gay experiences  they seem to settle for bi sexsuality. however, Most of them would deny their bi or homo sexual identity just like Tom C constantly denies that he is G. Thanks for the posting.

  77. Oh yeah, I gotta agree, I think if it were more open, Jo Kwon from 2AM would be first on my list as a possible gay

    • You won’t probably be expecting an Jo Kwon fan to reply you. BUT YES I AM. So. I want to tell you that, whether he’s gay or not,  we fans love him for his talents. And not his sexual orientation. 

      • Are you a personal friend of Jo Kwon or just extremely closed minded and would SHUDDER at the mention, let alone; should it be a fact if Jo Kwon were to be “out” about his sexual preferences?  Every gay friend that I have ever shown Jo Kwon’s antics to (be it behind the scenes footage or PR work) they all without exception; say…”If he’s not gay…I’m the Pope!”  LOL      For the record, I am a heterosexual woman but very tired of the intolerance toward  people that are “different.”  Peace!

  78. Hey guys, I really like to watch you guys video. But there is one request that i want to make.
    Could you please review Itaewon Freedom music video. I mean i know that people like to see a review about idols, but epic music video like Itaewon Freedom needs to be spread around k-pop lovers
    And i know that you guys absolutely love this video, too :)
    I know it is kind of late(or year old), but this video deserve it!!
    Itaewon Freedom~ Look at those bright lights~ Itaewon Freedom~ World with full of youthfulness~ Itaewon Freedom~

  79. Hey guys did I read correctly on Facebook that this is your last TLDR?!?!?

  80. I think that a lot of people, although they ‘accept’ homosexual people, are afraid that if they have homosexual friends of the same gender they will have a crush on them. Some of my friends are accepting of homosexuality but they wouldn’t want to be friends with someone who is a lesbian but they are willing to be friends with gay guys. I asked them why that was the case and they responded: “What if they become attracted to me?” Personally I think it’s really sad that they fear something like that even though they said they accept homosexuality. So I told them: “So? It’s not much different to having one of your straight guy friends becoming attracted to you.”
    After this episode I talked to a lot of people in my life it and several of them share a similar opinion: they are willing to openly accept homosexual people and defend their rights but they feel uncomfortable/awkward with being close with them. I never realise that there are people who saw things this way and I just find it sad and hypocritical.

  81. when I was in Korea over the summer, I saw a whole lot of “skinship” between men of all ages, business men, high school/ college boys… everyone. I think it’s way more socially acceptable for guys to show affection physically in Korea, exactly BECAUSE what you guys said homosexuality being flat out denied and such. It’s kind of refreshing seeing guys be so affectionate with their friends haha. But it would still be better if homosexuality became more accepted.

    • I agree with this message…don’t know if its right but I feel the same way as far as what’s going on in the open and how that relates to the still hidden stigma of homosexuality.  Peace.

  82. well, even with the still-prevalent discrimination that exists in korea, it still sounds like things have improved vastly since i lived there 15 years ago.  at that point, anybody korean i talked to about the subject simply said that homosexuality didnt’ exist in korea.  i had one foreign friend who was gay.  he knew about the location of a few gay bars in our city, but they were EXTREMELY underground, and noone was out openly that i knew of.  hard to remember korea has not been as open and progressive society as they are now for very long- my (korean) husband is not yet 40 and remembers military rule.  things like this take time, south korea has moved very quickly compared to a lot of other nations.

  83. I do not know how many times I have had this argument with my Korean friends. I have insisted that Jokwon/Kevin/Key/Heechul/Brian/*insert name here* are gay. I watch Korean reality shows, game shows, ect. (I have no life…^^) and consistently my woman “gaydar” goes off. I went to one my Korean friends and showed her a clip of one of them acting out in a way that set my “gaydar” off. I didn’t say anything while she watched it. She laughed at what the person was doing and when the clip was done I asked her if she liked the person. She said that yes, the person was very attractive and funny and she was a big fan of his. Like a good friend I tried to break it to her softly by saying, “What?! Are you crazy?! You think he is attractive?! He is gay. Yeah, he is funny, but I don’t think he plays for your team.” My friend adamantly denied this fact. She expressed that in Korea this is just being funny; he is not gay. She stated that not many people in Korea are gay so they couldn’t be gay. I just refuse to believe that Korea is immune from “the gay” or whatever you would call it. I think these guys (or girls what have you) know that because they are idols they can get away with it. They are really clever, turning something that would be seen as repulsive into something that girls would swoon over. I don’t know what that boy is hiding but I guarantee you he knows who is gay in the idol community has loads of dirt on every single one of them. I wonder if they all came out at the same time, what would happen? Would fangirls explode? I would pay good money to see that. 

    • Pallavi Sambasivan

      While I do agree that saying someone isn’t gay because there aren’t many gay people in Korea is wrong, you have to understand the fact that the way Korean guys act is different from North American guys. The culture is different and so something that we might perceive as gay is actually something a normal heterosexual guy would do. 

      • I think this is true, and a lot of things that seem kind of gay to westerners are considered to be completely normal for straight guys in Korea (Henry said himself, he thought all of SJ was gay when he first met them)… but I’m like 99% sure that Kevin, who’s a native California…is not anywhere near straight. No straight American would talk like he does haha, he would make an awesome gay best friend though!

    • Sholla,  “I have no life” either…LOL  I agree with what you are saying.  I watch A LOT of this stuff and can honestly say that I would cast my vote toward your position.  Let’s face it…the guy groups and girl groups have to spend MONTHS together without seeing anyone else.  Seems like it would be awfully convenient to check out some personal preferences with the same sex.  No?  LOL   Peace!

  84. In my smaller, more advanced classes at my hagwon, I always try my best to teach my students about diversity and acceptance of all types of people, whether it’s other Korean kids who are “fat” or “ugly” or people of different ethnic backgrounds or sexuality. I think that because we live in such a small community and most of the tv and games they play are Korean, they don’t get exposure to other points of view that are not mainstream Korean. So I view it as part of my job as a foreign teacher to introduce these kids to different points of view and different ways of thinking, because if I don’t, who will?

    On a different note, I wonder if the attitudes towards homosexuality are different in the bigger cities compared to smaller towns and cities. For instance, in our small town, our Korean friends aren’t very accepting of homosexuality at all.

    • I think it’s like that in most small (rural) towns in any country. Although Australia is an accepting country, I know people who have experienced discrimination (of all sorts) usually in the smaller rural cities. It is usually the younger generation though which is a bit different as we usually think that the younger generation would be more accepting. I guess it’s that they haven’t had as much experience with diversity as, let’s say, their parents (who are from what I have heard more accepting).

  85. I’m a Korean myself, but I don’t really find homosexuality all that weird. It’s probably because I’m the ‘younger generation’, but I know some of my friends who detests the basic idea of homosexuality – they literally go nuts if I accidentally bring up an idea, even when I’m not a lesbian - so I guess it’s not always the case :/I have some gay friends, and one of them is my best friend; he’s really attractive. He plays a lot of sports, he loves those FPS games and what nots. but he says he can’t bring himself to love a girl. The sad thing is that he can’t tell his parents. He’s afraid they’ll just go mad and disown him, or even worse, be traumatized.
    To be honest, I think Korea isn’t going be so accepting towards gay and lesbian people any time soon. Part of it is from our cultural aspects, and part of it is because all the people in Power in Korea is really, REALLY conservative. It is quite a serious matter, and I hope Koreans will one day be more open towards homosexuality.

  86. I have a Korean friend who moved to the US two years ago and she asked me about homosexuality. She thinks its weird and she’s not use to seeing that in Korea, but more ppl are coming out now. When she talks about it she looks really confused lol

  87. A lot of countries are becoming more open to gays, even though I myself am not gay I still support them and I believe they should be treated like any other person. I love Personal Taste it’s such a good show, my friends always though Lee Min Ho was gay when he had the curly hair and the fur jacket, but I always thought he looked cute! I love your shirt Simon! Go Cats Go!

  88. You know, I remember feeling surprised by Yoon Eun Hye’s love interest when he was so upset that she had lied to him… I think because I was finally relieved she told him, I never thought about all the torment he was going through and how hard it was for him to let go to just love her as a man. 

    It is messed up that most shows turn it into a joke… but i’m sure it’s the easiest way to deal with a complicated situation or storyline that is so controversial. I was just happy to see that Koreans were dealing with the issue at all… at least they’re exploring the idea of being gay, it’s gotta start somewhere? 

  89. I’ve always wanted to move to Korea one day and be like you guys by moving in with my girlfriend/wife and reviewing kpop videos together, and traveling all around – but then I always start worrying about how, I highly doubt that it would work out the same way since I am lesbian and I would wonder if that would…. end up only getting the two of us discriminated against ;A;
    I’m glad you made a video, I actually just made a comment about it on yesterday’s video o: wow. anyways, once i get out of school and all the videos aren’t blocked, I am watching it right away -.-
    i just hope by the time i want to move to korea with someone i love that it’s… more widely accepted in Asia. :(

    • Well look at the U.S., it wasn’t that long ago that there was a LOT more discrimination… if you go by what’s in the media, it almost seems like they’re exploring the same things our media started exploring in the 90′s? I think Ellen Degeneres kissed a woman on her sitcom back in ’98 or so and that was a HUGE deal. It killed her show honestly… but look at her now ;D

    • I hope so too. But don’t give up hope, S. Korea is definitely moving in that direction, even if it’s slowly. KBS aired a special about the hardships of being lesbian called the Daughters of Bilitis, when before they had cut out the lesbian kissing scene from Grey’s Anatomy. And just a month ago Life is Peachy was released, which I believe is about a lesbian love triangle. (Though I haven’t seen it yet, so I’m not sure.)  With time, people will learn that love is love and is always good. ^-^

  90. In response to homosexuality being depicted in Japanese fiction, I’d like to say that one of my white gay guy friends really dislikes Japanese “boys love” manga because even he, as a Canadian, finds it unrealistic. Also, two of my straight Japanese friends studying in Canada say that while homosexuality is totally acceptable in fiction, particularly in manga, it does not reflect how Japanese society feels about the issue at all in the public sphere. According to my friends, very few people would admit to being gay, lesbian or bi to their colleagues at work because it’s not accepted by the older generation. In real life in Japan, there is no “happy ending” where it’s just generally accepted like it is in say… Canada, where same-sex marriage is legal across the country (even though not everyone likes/accepts it). 

    • Boys love manga is written for a female audience. Gei manga exists and is written for a male audience.

      • Doesn’t make Boys Love manga any less offensive to the Gay Community.  

        • I was not talking about whether boys love manga is offensive or not. I was strictly stating that there is a difference with boys love and gei manga because they’re written by different genders for different audiences, that being boys love is primarily written by females for a female audience and gei manga with males for a male audience.

          In a response to your comment below, Junjou Romantica and Sekaiichi Hatsukoi are only but two examples of boys love where the uke is more feminine. You cannot base the entire spectrum of boys love/yaoi manga just on these two anime adaptions of the manga. There are a lot of other mangakas who reverses the entire feminine uke, to some like Miyamoto Kano who’s stories are more realistic and less stereotypical.

        • I’m gay and I LOVE yaoi manga/anime. Why be offended about something that is purely fantasy and made up anyway? That’s ludicrous.

    • It probably doesn’t help that some really crazy things are accepted as “okay” in mangas though… so maybe they view homosexuality in mangas just as unrealistic as the really crazy stuff in those stories?

      I get the impression that Japan is still way less conservative than S. Korea though…?

    • The reason I think the gay community should have a problem with Boys Love manga is because it’s not written in a way that is either accurate or paints homosexuals in a particularly good light.  The stereotypical Boys Love manga always involves a tougher, masculine counter part, and then the other man is always an extremely effeminate man.  While these stereotypes do have some existence in real life, they still perpetuate them as stereotypes and don’t paint that homosexuals outside these preconceived boxes exist.  There is also the idea that the feminine man, the “uke” is usually forced into sexual situations, almost into rape territory.  At the very least its sexual harassment.  Junjou Romantica is a prime example of this, and the other anime that I can’t remember the name of by the same artist.  All of it propagates the concept that homosexual and heterosexual relationships are vastly different, which really is not the case.

    • LOL i understand that yaoi doesn’t not accurately describe homosexuality as a whole it’s not even meant to.

      And maybe it’s presumptuous to think that a widely,popular,distributed genre in japan could give a glimpse on to the views of the subject/issue,
      but when being compared to a place where it is not viewed as openly and being regulated against you somehow think otherwise.
      Obviously majority opinion differs in every country, state, town, etc.
      however the lgbt community shouldn’t be shunned and bashed by any of their societies,
      that was my main point.
      Next time I won’t reference yaoi that was my mistake,
      I had forgotten how it can defer the topic from it’s main subject,
      my bad.

  91. I really love asian culture even though I’m mexican american,and it saddens me how both asian culture, hispanic culture and many other different cultures are so close minded towards gays ;( 

    of course taken from an individual point it can vary in many ways but still there is enough accepting compared to the bashing.

    Also I’ve always thought that at least japanese culture was way more open towards gays since they have so much yaoi mangakas and mangas! But that’s not the reality and thinking back on it I don’t think I’ve ever read a yaoi manwha that wasn’t a tragedy, which now makes a lot of sense after watching this weeks tl;dr :/

    Gayness is not a disease
    hopefully as the younger generation gets older they can be more open-minded and accepting 
    rather then being prejudice and racist towards other people that differ from themselves >~<

  92. There is a South Korean Skit I think you should watch. I adored it ^^ Also don’t let beginning dance/music number fol you, it’s actual quite serious. 
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_fwyViC6LA&feature=related  Enjoy~ 

  93. Thanks Simon and Martina for addressing this question! I’m Australian and I’m gay, I’m not exactly out to everyone but my friends know and they treat me no differently to when they didn’t. I was planning to go to South Korea after I finish high school this year but I was afraid that because I’m not the most manliest person that I might be looked down upon. However I’m not exactly flamboyant either. I was really stuck in a funk about if I’d feel comfortable in Korea but thanks to you guise I’ve gained a little confidence. :) I found it extremely helpful that you guys listed areas where the LGBT community can feel a little more themselves.

    • I was there this summer and one of the guys who was at the Yonsei with me was a 6 foot tall redheaded gay guy, and I think he had a great time ^__^ 

    • This is totally honest and without insult to Korean men: a lot of Korean guys don’t fit into the archetypical straight, dothraki man warrior image. Whether they are straight or gay, many people put a lot of effort into looking good and taking care of their image, and in turn a lot of new foreigners in Korea think, “Wow, a lot of Korean guys are gay.” If you’re worried about sticking out because you aren’t “the manliest person” you 100% don’t have to worry about that at all!!! Korea is a different culture. Come to Korea! :D

  94. This was really interesting, it’s pretty similar to Japan. It’s sad the most gay couples portraied in the media aren’t depicted as, well, a normal couple where both happen to be the same gender. My husband, a Japanese, sometimes says he is uncomfortable around gay guys, because he doesn’t get them (though he says all gays he has met in person are great people). What’s there to get? Just because of your sexuality you are not a totally different person, it doesn’t affect your ability to do a good job, and I can’t imagine the pressure resting on the shoulders of someone who can’t come out of the closet because of his or her enviroment.

    I also used to go to gay clubs (Tokyo Shinjuku 2-chôme) because I felt safer there (and because I was underage and not allowed to party anwhere else..).

  95. A few years ago, my family hosted a Korean exchange student the same age as me, and I remember how shocked she was when she first saw a gay couple in public; We were just walking to our bus when two girls walking near us exchanged a quick kiss goodbye. I didn’t really think much of it, but when we got to our bus my friend asked me if she had seen it. She was totally floored, telling me that she had never seen any “gayness” first hand. To be sure, she meant nothing bad by it, and she was very accepting of everyone, but it was a huge culture shock for her, especially when I revealed that one of her teachers was openly gay.

    I guess it’s the same everywhere; there a a bunch of bigots that are scared of what’s different. That’s why we need to encourage acceptance, one person at a time. Hopefully we’ll get there eventually. :)

    • I think it’s unfair for people who find homosexuality abnormal and then everyone bashes them for being bigots. Honestly, you tell others to be tolerant of their own beliefs/values and if yours clash with theirs, you immediately tell them they’re wrong, they’re intolerant, and old-fashioned. Seriously? THAT’S how you want to convince me that your belief system is valuable?

      When I raise my children one day, I’ll teach them about Christianity (following Jesus with a pure, submissive and cheerful heart) and that homosexuality exists, Jesus does not condone it but the people who express themselves to be gay are STILL human beings and my children MUST respect them as such but the Bible teaches that homosexuality is a sin, just like lying and stealing. They can be friends but they lead a completely different lifestyle and people shouldn’t admire them for “coming out” because it’s like a person having an affair and “coming out” to his/her spouse and still continuing the affair and being proud of it.

      Anyways, this topic has always bugged me since everyone non-Christian seems to hate on most Christians that speak up against homosexuality. I understand the reaction in the case of the extremists (aka. fake church tsktsk) but it’s so unfair for us actual believers of God to have to take the heat for other “so-called Christians” that show no love to unbelievers. I actually do know several straight-turned-gay friends and I was shocked and intrigued and they’ve changed (and not necessarily in a good way) but it might’ve just been their rebellious nature even before they “came out” :P

      I just wanted to remind everyone to be a lady and gentleman when discussing such topics. It’s great to have these, actually, but we have to remember to be professional and respectful to others and seriously NOT judge based on stereotypes. TRYTRY NOT TO!!! > <

      • That seems a bit contradictory, saying you will teach your kids that “being gay” is basically equally as bad as lying & stealing, but then insisting that they should respect ~other ppl who “express themselves to be gay”.. from a child’s pov, such a stance could also suggest that implies either liars & thieves should be “respected” too (well, all humans should, in a general view, but hopefully you get my point, ie how they associate things).. &/or the even more confusing, “Then ~I could never be gay because then I would be *as bad* a sinner as liars & thieves, in my parents’ eyes..” which could lead to depression, low self-esteem, & other conflicting thoughts, etc. including “My parents would never be proud of me for coming out & being myself, because they view being gay as something as equally as shameful as lying, cheating, stealing, etc. I cannot even openly admire others for being true to themselves either, as it would suggest to them that I also happen to condone such actual & literally bad behaviours as lying, cheating, stealing, etc. even tho I very strongly do NOT. From now on, I will have to hide my true self & feelings from them, or risk them being forever disappointed in me..” You see how that goes? And you cannot say, “well my kid(s) wouldn’t end up being gay anyways,” because it is not something that can be predicted or controlled. I understand wanting to share your traditions & values, but there are better ways to do it than simply saying “Sweetie, this special book of mine, it tells me I cannot condone those feelings, so you must learn to think the way I want you to, or hope for you to, about these things.” (from someone who’s been there, done that, & has found the only thing that’s truly “right” above all else in this world, is *love itself*.. & the only “sins” are those which cause or spread pain, negativity, & other hurtful thoughts or events, etc.)

  96. I loved Coffee Prince for the same reasons. It had so much of the emotional aspects of love and didn’t turn it into any sort of joke … until Big Bang did its parody, but that was a parody and frickin halarious!

  97. I feel bad that my first comment on this site was to tell somebody off haha

    Had to come back and say how much I love you both.  Been a silent viewer for a while.

    Thanks for this video.  Me and my boyfriend were looking to visit Korea at some point this year so it’s great to hear this advice in the videos.

    Are you going to review Wonder Girls US single?

    • Thanks for finally leaving a comment….or I guess two… ^^ We’re still not sure if we’ll review WG or not–does it break our new law of  “k-pop only” songs? I don’t know. Still up for debate on the WG comment page! But I guess we still have to wait and see if it will even be voted in for MM. Maybe we’ll run into you in Korea at some point. :P

  98. I remember when I was in Korea last month I was coming back from Dongdaemun and while I was on the train there were two guys sitting next to each other. One on their phone and the other with this head on his friend’s shoulder sleeping. Another time I was on the train I saw an older male and one who looked to be in his late twenties were sitting next to each other, rather closely and then when they were getting off the younger man would hook his arm under the older man’s arm much like a woman in North America would do to her boyfriend. My two girl friends would also hold hands as we would all walk together hanging out and told me that this, the hand holding, is very common in Korea. I told them I would see guys do it as well but they told me it isn’t really common in Korea. Sometimes I would become curious as to how far same sex friendships would go in terms of skinship in everyday situations as with idols, especially male idols, would receive a lot of positive reactions with female fans whenever they do anything together. I think the whole issue has a very big grey area and is so taboo not very many people would want to acknowledge it. Although, I remember when I believe it was KBS who tried to release a drama about three lesbian couples of different ages and it was shut down because parents thought the subject would be a bad influence on their children even though the drama had a late night time slot. 

  99. There’s a short film titled “Dol” that’s going to be featured at Sundance (according to this article: http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2012/01/10/video-michael-stipe-produces-gay-korean-film/) that sounds like it’ll be quite interesting! The writer+director used this short to come out to his own parents. Link just to trailer: http://vimeo.com/23904100 I also recommend watching Daughters of Bilitis Club and it’s only a one-shot so no 16+ episode commitment. I’m crossing fingers that more LGBTQ content will show up in dramas now that cable has decided to dip their toes into creating dramas as they might not fold so easily to compliants.

    • There’s a short series posted on dramafever.com and one of the stories is about two girls that are total opposites. They become really good friends and then it becomes clear that they like eachother more than friends… I swear it was called something like Eighteen? or Sixteen? 

  100. Girls do it here in Miami too. Sometimes when we just want to dance and don’t really feel like getting harassed or molested by sleazy guys we’ll just go to either a gay club or a gay bar. It’s really fun :)

  101. Before I learned you two are married couple, I totally thought Simon was gay… Sorry Simon.

    • The funny thing is that I had watched a eatyourkimichi video with one of my best friends. He later went and watched a few others without me and happened to come across their love story tldr. He later told me he was like WHAAAA when he first saw that because he had assumed Simon was gay.

    • Yeah, I’ve read that a lot.  I’ve never addressed this before, but – seeing as there are very many likes for this comment – I’ll talk about it now!

      Firstly, there’s no need to apologize.  I don’t think anyone’s sexuality is insulting.  Would I be insulted if someone thought I was Croatian and not Polish?  No.  Nor do I think that someone’s actions or personality are any indication of their propensity to like people of the same sex.  The whole “gay men act this way” notion – to me – is as inaccurate as “white men act this way.”

      Secondly, I know I don’t fit into the archetypal role of heterosexual masculinity, which is where I think a lot of people’s assumption that I’m gay comes from.  I don’t act stereotypically manly: I’m interested in fashion; beer tastes gross; kpop is fun; I love dancing.  And I’m confident enough to not be worried about being this way, nor about people’s opinions about me because of my being this way.  

      Also, I think people are surprised that we’re married because we don’t fit into the depictions of marriage that we grew up seeing.  We’re happy and silly, we’re best friends, we respect each other exponentially, and we care more about keeping each other happy than anything else.  And, after five years of marriage, we’re still wildly in love with each other.  My role as a husband isn’t to bring home the bacon, have the wife cook it, and then serve me a beer while I watch the game on TV.  We’re partners in this world, and our only goal is to make each other smile. 

      Lastly, I hope you don’t think of this as an attack to you or your comment.  Like I said, I do understand where the assumption came from, and I’m not upset at you for thinking that way at all, nor do I think any less of you.  I’m trying to take this not as a time to defend myself, but more of an opportunity to talk about a topic I have always found interesting.

      Simon :D
      aka Dothraki Man Warrior 

      • Greetings Dothraki Man Warrior,

        you know what’s really cool? The way you guys (guise) address this. Simon you def. don’t fit in the stereotypical role of a “man” but that is fine. People should be the way they want to be, and others should respect that.who in this world is normal? and what is “normal”? o.o I think everyone has different perceptions of this word.

        Personally I find you really cool the way you are, and your relationship with Martina is really admirable, a healthy relationship. 

        ” We’re partners in this world, and our only goal is to make each other smile.” <— couldn't have said it better. THAT is what a relationship is about, more than marriage, is that commitment with the person you love. 

        P.S Like Simon, I also don't mean any offense to anyone. The internet can be a scary thing. :3

        Liz :)

      • Really? I’ve never assumed you were gay, Simon. :/ Maybe (and I don’t mean this as an insult) but I am older than the typical K-Pop fan by a few years, so I tend to not assume those kind of things, anymore. 

        p.s. Eeeee Game of Thrones eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

        Anyway, it’s an interesting thing, that so many people make this comment. I also wouldn’t take it as an insult, so I am glad that you don’t :) Not that I would assume so, from your videos, ah ha.

  102. Could you W.A.N.K. in Itaewon or Homo Hill? :D

    Do Koreans share our stereotypes on what a gay person is like? I mean, people like U-KISS’ Kevin who’s been raised in California acts so stereotypically gay when he speaks in English that most English speakers would agree he probably is gay. (He has feminine gestures and facial expressions, draws out his vowels, gravitated towards performance arts at a young age, etc…)

    Do people like Kevin (idol or otherwise) set off the Korean gaydar or is it perfectly acceptable to have such mannerisms in Korea?

    • there are so many kpop idols that in America would be considered gay on first glance. Jo Kwon, Kevin, G-dragon … because of their mannerism and fashion.

      i’ve had this conversation with korean girls over and over – i KNOW Jo Kown is gay. he just IS. but all the girls here don’t think so. his flamboyant actions and dancing are just considered “cute and funny” in korea. it never crosses anyone’s mind that a kpop idol could be gay.  in fact, i would go as far as to say that korean people wouldn’t let an idol be gay.

      • That’s my question exactly! The fact that Koreans don’t think Jo Kwon gay is very strange! Could anyone else ask their Korean friends on this?

        I’m actually not sure if Jo Kwon is gay or not since he was raised in Korea to be a hilarious person, and being flamboyant is hilarious. If Korea has no ingrained stereotypes, then straight men would have no problem with acting as what we believe to be gay because they’re just don’t have that association. Most straight men in every country don’t want to be seen as gay, so all the ultra feminine men in North America are actually proud gays.

        I’m using Kevin as an example because he grew up around the North American stereotypes, and he’s fully aware of his lovely gay mannerisms, yet he still chooses to do them. That’s why I’m sure he is gay, but I’m not sure about the effeminate born-in-Korea idols.

        • It’s not right to say “I’m sure” someone else is gay, unless you actually have proof. Kevin isn’t gay. Yes, he was raised in American culture, but that doesn’t mean he has to follow them. I have plenty of effeminate male friends and family who are both American and straight. Kevin happens to be extremely Christian, which leads to it be highly improbable of him being gay.

          My Korean friends just think Jo Kwon is funny, not gay. I think it’s mostly a stage presence he has~ ^^

        • Christian and gay are not mutually exclusive, especially in Protestant Christianity, which Kevin is.  

        • Also his religion, a choice, would not affect his sexuality, something he’s born with.

        • I know they aren’t always mutually exclusive, so I put “highly improbable”. However, I can also say that, as a Christian, even if he was born with it (and I’m not saying he wasn’t), we’re all born with “sin” and “temptation” and the point of being a Christian is use Christ and the Bible to not act on those feelings. In Christianity, homosexuality is considered a sin, thus making it improbable of him being gay, and, if he was, as dedicated as he is to Christianity, even less likely that he’d act on it.

          Also, religion affects every aspect of your life. It might not completely change (it’s unlikely that it will) everything, but being dedicated means living your life following the specific rules and philosophies guiding the religion you’ve chosen. Either way, I don’t think Kevin is gay just because he acts, I think that’s unfair stereotyping and just as an insult to gay people who aren’t like Kevin as it is to gay people who are. Being gay isn’t exclusive to effeminate males.

          (Please do not take any of my message as Christian bigotry. I’m merely stating the doctrine of the Christian church. I love and accept everyone and am even pro-gay marriage. However, the Bible (every Christian Bible, no matter the denomination), does specifically speak out against homosexuality and the majority of Christian churches maintain that doctrine today. My church taught it was a sin, but did not treat the homosexual members of our congregation any different from anyone else in our church family, and accepted them just the same. ^^)

        • Whether or not a Christian homosexual believes that its a sin and tries to “remedy” it, they will always be gay.  Always.  They will always be in the closet, they will conform to society’s norms and religious mores, sure.  But they will always be gay.  Your religion cannot change your DNA.

        • If that’s true, the only way anyone would know they were gay was if they said something about it. Your DNA has nothing to do with your actions, so assuming Kevin is gay by is actions is still wrong.

        • I’m not trying to say that Kevin is gay, I’m simply correcting points that you’ve made about homosexuality in general.  Whether Kevin is gay or not is ultimately his business, not ours unless he makes it ours by either a. affirming his heterosexuality or b. coming out.  Whichever is fine and no one should hold either against him.  All I’m trying to say is that religion does not exclude someone from being homosexual.  Religion is a choice that one makes, sexuality is innate and natural.  People can hide it by being in the closet and refusing to acknowledge it, but that doesn’t and won’t change it.

        • I never said being Christian excluded him from being gay, I said it was highly improbable, which it is. I was only making the point that you cannot just look at someone and declare them as being gay based on actions or fashion. ^^

        • [comment posted twice, D:]

        • Hi this is pretty late, but aren’t you invalidating your statement that it’s wrong to assume someone’s sexuality by saying outright that Kevin isn’t gay? I mean, I agree that it was wrong to assume otherwise, but to assume that he is heterosexual is kind of insulting as well. It sickens me how people tend to be biased and insist on their own opinions without any logic whatsoever. Mind you that it is very close minded to say that someone simply cannot be homosexual just because he or she is strictly Christian and/or brought up in a very conservative society. So you can’t just say that “Kevin isn’t gay,” when you are telling someone not to assume that he’s homosexual. In the same way that you can never tell that he’s gay, you can’t really say he’s straight either because as we all know, being homosexual isn’t widely accepted in Korea so of course he can’t go around proclaiming that he’s gay if he really is. It is expected of him to like women in the kind of industry he is working in and most people wouldn’t really consider homosexuality as an option.
          And no offense and I encourage you to correct me if I’m wrong, but it sounds as if you aren’t really open to homosexuality by the way you firmly stated that “Kevin isn’t gay.”

        • I just want to let people know that just because someone may be Christian that doesn’t make that person any less likely to be homosexual. I’m proudly gay and also proudly Christian. Jesus loves me and I love him. I’m not trying to sound hostile I’m just saying just because someone is Christian doesn’t mean you should assume that they’re probably not gay.:)

        • Ahahahahahahahah i love the term you used XDD “Lovely gay mannerisms” hahaha :) ahem anyways, i think alot of people will still love Kevin if he is gay, if not in Korea then N. America! ^^

        • I agree with Laura, you can’t say you are “sure” someone is gay without substancial proof.

          I find it interesting that you bring up Kevin, because it is true, he grew up with the stereotypes and still chooses to act “his lovely gay mannerisms” I don’t think he’s gay, he’s just cute but if he was I fully support him. Anyone really. 

        • a LOT of kpop fans have zero gaydar. it’s a fact of life :/ *shrug*

        • Sarang_is_Love

          I don’t really know if people like Jo Kwon and Kevin are gay, since they are celebrities, and we don’t know if that’s really the way they would act or if it’s an act come up with by the company. I really think that gay stereotypes are not reliable at all. I know perfectly “manly” men who are gay, and “gay” guys who are straight.

      • I don’t think the stereotypes are the same, but I also don’t think Jo Kwon is necessarily gay. I think it’s more likely that his stage presence is over-the-top sometimes, but funny (which is important since he is an entertainer). Different culture leads to different stereotypes and actions. Jo Kwon might act differently if he was raised in Western society, but he wasn’t, so his actions don’t necessarily have the same stigma.

      • Every time I see a G-Dragon video, I think, “…so gay” (well, right after, the wtf?) and that’s coming from a lesbian. But I also acknowledge that K-Pop culture to me seems pretty ‘queer’. Not so much ‘gay’ in the American way, but ‘queer’ in the counter-culture way. 

        Very cute, incredibly pretty boys, who change their hairstyles more than Cher or Lady Gaga. This seems more true with men/boys then women. Both the men and the women seem to heighten their femininity. K-Pop seems to idolize the feminine (my perspective). The willingness to play with gender roles in non-negative ways, which is also present in many of the Hong-Kong films I watch (though, I know it can be very negative in Japan and other Asian countries).

  103. I’ve gone to gay clubs to get away from sleazy guys as well. I feel like that’s pretty much a universal thing. Also, usually better music. :D

  104. Very interesting topic, and I enjoyed reading some of the comments that have been made regarding their experiences.

    I don’t really think about this topic that often, but I was interested when a K-drama was supposed to come out following three generations of lesbians. Like you stated on here, I think it would’ve showed the different levels of acceptance/disapproval each couple went/goes through. But I wasn’t all that surprised when I read that people complained about it possibly influencing the youth, despite that it was on at a late night time, and I haven’t heard about the drama since. I wish I remembered the title. I’d love to see if there are any episodes available to watch.

    • I think you’re remembering of Daughters of Bilitis Club, except it was a one-shot in part of an anthology series put on by KBS. If it was a series that would’ve been awesome! It actually came under a lot of fire because of the content, but thankfully KBS didn’t pull it if I recall correctly.

  105. When i went to Yonsei university our teacher told us that Yonsei was before a “rebel” school because they where the first university in korea to form secret homosexual clubs for students lead by homosexual students. but now most known schools in seoul have homosexual student clubs, like seoul university,yonsei, korea university. 

  106. Bery nice topic. I am fortunate to know many gay people and now feel that we can live our sexuality without any labels. I don’t really care what a person does in his bedroom or who he’s/she’s going out with. I will be in Korea next month and try to visit those gay friendly places. I am not gay, but I enjoy going to places where people are friendly and where guys don’t act like sexually hungry rabbits. :)

  107.  I met a Korean at the start of last year, who had been living in America for two years. We got pretty close because we both worked as an office aide for one period a day. And, one day I found out he hated my best friend. I questioned why for days before he finally asked me “He’s gay right?” I didn’t answer, because I was so angry, he then stated, “I hate gays.” I told him only uneducated people were so close minded. He explained that was why he didn’t want to state it. For a while we argued often. And after almost a year of working on him, sometimes, he hangs out with my best friend and I. 

    This helped me to understand how he first reacted better. But, it doesn’t make me any less angry. :p

    • Again, “uneducated”…doesn’t that indicate that you’re looking down on him, that you’re somehow better than him because of his opinion. You could definitely have responded in a more respectful way. Just my opinion…

  108. I actually watched a video last mohr where the person discussed not showing your face on social apps and not doing so until you knew the person (talked to them). The same person is doing another video for Lesbians that will gho more into the legal ramifications of being out in Korea.

  109. Ohhh! That’s right!  “A frozen flower” is a REALLY
    beautiful film. Sometimes looks like a “porn movie” xD kekeke (
    anyway all the scenes are very elegant), but the feelings and actions of these
    three was so realistic and deep for me. I love Antique Bakery too. (Haha yeah,  I’m Boy’s Love fan) 3: about… The Kind and the
    clown, I didn’t see that movie yet, (usually I run away from sad movies
    lol ) but
    I’m going to try to see that one.

    Really interesting review guys! I was thinking that the Koreans was VERY open-minded about homosexuality, for all the BROMANCE  that you can see of them in the media.( and
    also for the homo manhwa O: , one example: Totally captivated created by Yoo
    Hajin)

  110. Thank you for talking about it. It means alot to me!

  111. I already read a little bit about this topic online. But what I’m more curious of is if koreans see kpop idols the same way some westerners do, as gay. Using make-up and dancing in a boy band is very gay where I come from. Teenage boys are especially good at making that remark. To me, it doesn’t matter, I love kpop because I think their dances are cool and their style is awesome. But I really wanna know what the case is in South Korea. Do boys who doesn’t like the music, label it as gay? Or do they just not care? And do fangirls get really offended if someone says it’s gay, or just wouldn’t they understand why someone would say that?

  112. korea hang in there and keep  fighting this disgusting disease forever!!! hwaiting !!!

  113. ok thanks for the info !!! know u should never encourage homosexuality ok!! korea is a gay free country and thats what we like !! (btw i’m not gay) and people don’t want to come to a country for gay people !! noooo i don’t think so!! well thant’s all i gotta say about it! over & out !

    • You are clearly deluded if you believe that there are no gay people in Korea.
       
      Not only are you deluded you probably suffer from what many atheists would call The God Delusion.  Hence why you speak so negatively of homosexuality.  Your mind has been corrupted by religion.  You really must educate yourself.  It’s embarrasing.
       
      One thing is clear though, and that is the world needs less people like you.
       
      Open your mind and stop being so ignorant.
       
      I do feel sorry for you.  Imagine being filled with so much hate and negativity.

      • wow, i can’t “like” your comment, for all its good intentions.  by blaming ignorance on religion you manage to sound just as ignorant.  i am “delusional” (a believer in God).  i have many gay friends, i support their efforts in equality.  nadeem clearly needs more exposure and education in this area, but he made no mention of believing in any higher power.  your assumptions are just as offensive as his comments.

        • Actually you will find that South Korea is a very Christian country.  If you look at other Christian countries around the world i.e USA there is a massive gay marriage debate.  This is clearly an issue between a religious text and the constitution.  In those kind of countries people really find it difficult to separate State constitution and their religious texts.

          Nobody seems to have a problem with a civil union but the idea of God and two gays getting married is completely incompatible.

          I can 100% say for sure that that guy is religious.  Without a shadow of a doubt.

          As a gay man the only people that have ever had a problem with my lifestyle are religious people.  Maybe it is a generalisation but it’s a very accurate generalisation.

          I actually agree with the fact that two guys should not be able to get married in a church.  I believe America would be far better off by taking the British route and allowing the exact legal rules of marriage with a civil partnership.

          You should try reading God Is Not Great (Hitchens) or the God Delusion (Dawkins) who quite frankly state their case far more eloquently than myself.

          Law is my particular field, I just have a particular interest in subjects that harm or threaten my lifestyle choice as a gay man – particularly religion.

        • if you care to respectfully exchange with me, that’s fine, but let’s not junk up TLDR.  if you click on my name you facebook message me.

        • I thought you wanted to continue this on Facebook. I actually sent you a polite message.

          I could debate all day about religion, law and homosexuality but like you said best not to continue it here.

          Thanks for the comments.

        • i didn’t get a message–try sending it again?

        • and, actually, i live in the United States, i’m aware of the debate, and i think federally recognized gay marriage should come to pass.  because government is in place to pave roads, not to say who can marry.  i appreciate that you understand that churches should still have a right to decline to marry a gay couple.  unfortunately for you, any and all hate and closemindedness, reverse bigotry and condescension directed toward me has been from atheists, so i feel like i can give your reading suggestions no merit.  atheists are the only people who have a problem with my lifestyle.  generalization?  idk.  but it seems to be accurate.

  114. I am from the Netherlands Europe, ( aka “Holland”), a married man of 58 years old.
    My dreams were/are always “other gender” orientated, but several friends of my wife and me,
    and colleagues have dreams “same gender” orientated.

    They all say, that our once so liberal society, for which it had a reputation in the world, is moving to a regressive style. Gay-bashing etc, it is happening more than it used to.
    It goes the same for other religions.
    But not so on TV or in the media though.
    Our TV has a reputation of being rather explicit in fact, compared with US and Canada.
    But that explicitness is often more important then the quality of acting.

    I am hooked on K-Drama for 2 years now, thanks to a Canadian/Chinese forum buddy, who put me on that track when she lived in Korea in 2009.
    By coincidence, I am watching Coffee Prince for the 4th time now…
    Insane, I know, but the series is too beautifull.

    I have seen some other  K-Drama’s, where some of the side-characters are obviously gay,
    ( Hairdressers for example )
    Without it being mentioned ever. I guess this is about the space that the writers can use without  getting censored.

    By the way, did you see Painter of the Wind ?
    Without giving spoilers, I think this goes even a bit further,

    ( ps. This is the K-Drama that convinced me, that Moon Geun Young is one of the best actresses in the world )

    • I’ve also watched Coffee Prince over 4 times… and I haven’t seen Painter of the Wind. I’ll be sure to check it out! Moon Geun Young…hrrm..she was in Mary Stayed Up All Night right?

      • “Mary” I did not see yet.. But Cinderella’s Sister with MGY also three times till now. But Yoon Eun Hye rocks as well :)

        • Oh! Cinderella’s Sister was great! Also Painter of the Wind~ Really good dramas! And Moon Geun Young is amazing! She’s really good actress. I loved her in A Tale of Two Sisters~ 

        • Oh! Cinderella’s Sister was great! Also Painter of the Wind~ Really good dramas! And Moon Geun Young is amazing! She’s really good actress. I loved her in A Tale of Two Sisters~ 

      • Yes, that’s the girl. I wouldn’t judge her based on Mary, though…. the script of that drama was a mess. This is not a spoiler or anything like that but, just to give you an idea, Painter of the Wind earnt her and her female co-star the “Best Couple” award – which was nothing like the one given to Song Joong Ki and Yoo Ah In, based on the popularity amongst the fans – *and* a Daesang. 

  115. Great way to deal with this touchy subject!

  116. wow! I’m very disappointed, because We have to be tolerant and open minded, and accept all the people like they are. 

  117. i think you guys rock!!!! you definitely rocked this subject!!~ though am not gay or anything (ofc) but u think this will really help some ppl who want to come to korea and they’re gay!!~

  118. this is just a time matter i think….most of the asian countries is not so opened minded compare to America or European countries, as a Aisan girl myself, we are taught to be in love with and should married and be honest to a male-mate. Those feudatories thoughts started to be challenged by the reality nowadays, which I think you have to give those people more time and space to think through in order to and hopefully to accept this phenomenon.

  119. I also get curious with this issue for very long time! 

    Because when I saw korean guys interact with each other, like hug each other, pack their cheeks or cuddle each other. They look really comfortable with their skinship with each other. I frequntly think ” Are they gay? or it just me think too much?”  but most of my friends also think too.

    But my friend who study in Korea alway tell us “Korean guys alway behave like that”

    So my gay friends usually say “Even if they are gay, if they didn’t tell, the other ‘d never know!” 

    I don’t know it because those were something my gay friends use to did or because our culture difference (I’m from Thailand). But if they are in Thailand and did something like that many people may believe they are gay, for sure.  (or we just too open-minded? LOL~)

  120. It’s really disappointing to know, and I’ve known for awhile, that some countries still are this close minded about the LGBT community. As far as I know the ‘majority’ of the Seoulian LGBT community frequent a specific red light district in… I think it was somewhere in north eastern Seoul, maybe west, can’t really remember. And even there they have to hear all that homophobic slur. I was really pissed when I found out SBS had removed that scene, censoring love between two fully committed characters just because they’re of the same gender is ridiculous and childish. Everyone should have the right to love whomever they please and the world should leave it at that. Gay, Bi or Straight, we’re all human and we work together, live together and we all breathe the same air. :

  121. I think you guys definitely did justice to the topic- really great video! if anyone is interested in the topic, I saw this one-episode Korean drama called Daughters of Club Bilitis (also canceled by the broadcasting station) about three lesbian couples across a generation- really wonderful.

  122. wow! It reminds me of my country… even though I think we’re more accepting than South Korean Society :D I thought that they were cool and open-minded ’cause there are lots of boys who’re kinda girly (western view) and they dye their hair, use colorful clothes, and makeup and stuff that here in my country JUST GIRLS DO (that’s something banned here in Chile, it’s like you are gay or not, but you CANNOT act girly, or everyone, and I DO MEAN EVERYONE will start calling you gay ((my case)) and you are not so you get annoyed and frustrated for all the bulling flying around you :Z and you’re thinking all the time “I like wearing colorful clothing, and I do take care of my hair, and my face, and the way I speak, but I’m not gay :Z:Z”) So that’s why I thought they were cool with LGBT stuff :( sad… Disappointing…

  123. A lot of my Korean friends who come to visit or study in America have talked to me about it. My American friends and I were confused, because Korean men tend to be a lot more comfortable being close and even being touchy-feely with other men. We asked them about it, and from what we can tell from how they explained, being gay is such a strange thing that even when they “act gay” by Western standpoints, since there’s no way Koreans could be gay, it’s okay to act that way. Most of my friends are younger (20-27), so it shocked me to here them also say the whole Koreans-can’t-be-gay (one friend even told me it was “impossible”). I’ve never heard the disease part though, that’s so sad…However, when we questioned about dramas or being on-stage (SuJu’s Heechul? He’s straight, but one of his more famous fanservices his kissing men…), most of my friends also said that being famous kind of gives you a pass. What fans want to see in their celebrities is not normally okay for normal people to do. So Heechul can kiss Henry (or Siwon…or Sungmin…etc) and it’s okay, because it’s obviously for his fans, and he’s not *really* gay.

    • I don’t sound rude, but one of Best Friends parent who are Korean don’t find skinship appropriate either. Her stepdad even said it was only a matter of time before Heechul came out the closet, but I think he was being humorous…, but some Korean who have lived here in the U.S. most if not all their lives do see it as homosexual behavior and frown upon it.

      • I was simply using Heechul as an example, but I know there are, of course, people who don’t find his behaviour appropriate. However, I would argue that Koreans who have lived in the US (or anywhere besides Korea) are so influenced by the country’s culture in which they live that they cannot be used as a concrete example regarding Korean culture. I’m similar to Simon and Martina in that, I can only speak in terms of what I know from my friends and my own experience, so my comment isn’t all-inclusive either, it’s just what I was told when I questioned the behaviour of my friends, all of whom were born and raised in Korea, and only here for a short time~ ^^

  124. Thank you, Simon and Martina for your honest answers. North America, though not as accepting as one would wish, still has a very open and large gay community. It makes me sad that so many people have to hide who they truly are. Especially when it comes to their job. Hopefully the newer generations can turn that around.

  125. You should watch Antique Bakery, which is a movie and not a drama… In the main character, there’s a gay (the actor is the waffle guy from coffee prince, by the way), and nobody around seems to care… If I remember correctly, there’s also a kiss scene.

    • GAY OF DEMONIC CHARM!  That was a great movie :D

    • i LOVE this movie!! but whenever i talk to my korean friends about it – they always make a bad face and say “oh the gay movie”. it’s not regarded as a good or bad film, just “the gay movie”. and more often than not, korean people don’t want to say they have seen it, and if they have, they make sure you know they didn’t like it.  ( in my experience )

  126. I’m glad that Korea is starting to accept homosexuals, albeit slowly. But I’m glad that there are people like Hong Seok-Chon, he’s a really inspirational guy.

  127. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPEd0LFvGG0 A Frozen Flower is also a south-korean film with “a love story between men”. Did you guys already saw that movie? (:

    • We know about it, but we didn’t see it. Also, Antique Bakery (the Korean remake movie is AWESOME) and an older one, The Kind and the Clown (<–you'll cry and cry and cry).

    • It was a really good movie. Of course I watched it because of Song Ji Hyo from running man and Jo Insung was a very very sweet bonus. It was very enlightening I guess. I mean I have gay friends and all but its just weird for me really seeing two guys at it. I mean maybe my friends are the shy type and they don’t PDA in public. I’m not against it. Its just that this movie made me really realize that it does happen. And being gay isn’t just an idea or concept but its present everywhere. And well the Pride Parade was also an eye opener. 

  128. One of my Korean guy friends told me that he didn’t like gay people before visiting the states because when he was in the army his superior licked his face and he thought that’s how gay people acted. When he came to states he realized it wasn’t true and now he thinks gay people are “gentle”. I think a lot of people’s problem with gay people comes from lack of exposure, they don’t know that most often than not gay people are just like straight people

    • Yup.. invisibility makes it difficult for people to learn that gay people aren’t all dangerous / weird.
      And since they are practically invisible (closeted to the point where they can barely be open about it with anyone) it will probably take a long time until Korea changes it’s views on this subject.

  129. What about Jo Kwon and Kwanghee, or the boy in Infinite that look completely gay? Why doesn’t anybody mention that?

    •  But that in and off itself is stereotyping. They’re not gay, at least there is no evidence other than stereotypes, and so it’s not really fair to mention them here…

    • Because they are talking about homosexuality, not people who may or may not be gay, just because they act more feminine than others.

    • How does one “look gay” and how does that play into this discussion of the way Korea views homosexuality? It sounds like you’re stereotyping. 

    • Because they’re not gay. The assumption is absurd by Korean standards, its normal for men to look and act feminine without actually being gay. And there is no reason to poke into rumours that necessarily hold no truth to them. You can’t judge them on the way they look.

      • you can’t say definitively whether or not those idols are gay. we, as fans, don’t know. In America it would be assumed that a man that acts as flamboyantly as JoKwon does, would obviously be gay. but here in korea no one even thinks its possible. fans get offended and angry when idols’ sexuality are questioned. “they are idols – of course they’re straight!”

        this is also the same country where ShinDong from super junior cross dresses on EVERY show and its totally fine.

        the thought that an idol could be gay, never crosses the public’s mind, because its so unfathomable!

        • Heechul was on several occasions suspected of being gay due to his flamboyant stages as Lady HeeHee and the fact that he has kissed some of his members, this of course made the whole world wonder and idol colleagues as well.

          I think Korea’s vehement denial of homosexuality is slightly insulting, but what annoys me the most is the fact that just the slightest suspicion has everyone shying away from that particular individual.

          So I think it’s better to not question them and their sexuality in any way, if they say they’re straight, they’re straight. If their actions contradict that statement, in a western point of view, then it is up to the individual fan whether they believe them or not.

          If they later come out as part of the LGBT community then I wholly support that, but I’m not going to put them through the pain of the doubt from their own fans. ^^

    • I’m thinking it’s because they never really come up and say it out loud (if they are), and people just pretend that it’s never existed?

    • You can see the answer for yourself. Mostly everyone assumes they are straight until proven otherwise. 

      Jokwon was in a scandal before so JY put him in WGM and look how many people claim ship the couple. Being flamboyant is a stereotype, but some stereotypes do have a bit of reason behind them.

    • Because you can be effeminate without being gay. 

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