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Homosexuality in Korea

January 13, 2012

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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!

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Homosexuality in Korea

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  1. Homosexuality in many countries including Korea is taboo mainly because it contradicts and undermines moral and religious standards which such nations have high regard to. But surprisingly, K-pop seems to present so much gayness albeit in an indirect or less noticeable way such as the fad among boy band members to wear make up, eye liners etc. which are perceived to be strictly female belongings in other parts of the globe. What I mean to say is I don’t buy the idea that there isn’t a single Korean actor who is a homo. Homosexuality I believe is present globally and continuously on the rise as the world population grows. Where there is human populace there is homosexuality. And South Korea isn’t an exception. There could well be quite a number of Korean celebs who remain closeted for the fear of rejection and it’s perfectly understandable given that they need to protect their reputation as public figures. But I think Korea in general had better realize that homosexuality is not a choice but rather a predicament beyond anyone’s control.

    7 months ago
  2. How Korean people do perceive Kpop band? In South America I heard people were seeing them as gay boys, in Canada, well it depends on people of course, but I think we perceive them more like cute fashionable boys and don’t really care about their sexual orientation.

    2 years ago
    • It’s interesting because I particularly like the Kpop band Big Bang but everyone I have showed a picture to asks me if they’re gay. For a while I wondered if that was a valid question but eventually I came to the conclusion that their standards are probably different than ours. Personally I think these guys are pretty cute but seriously no guy in America could get away with dressing cute and wearing makeup the way they do. (I’m American)

      1 year ago
  3. Ja

    Yeah, stay out of Norway. As a politician there pointed out, a liberal from America would be considered a conservative in Norway. Half of their parliment is made of women, their police don’t carry guns, and the longest jail sentence is a little over 20 years … in a humane enviroment. Their birth rate is higher than US, and recidivism rate is very low, in the 20%, compared to in the 70% in thr US.

    2 years ago
  4. Hey Hilary Swank,
    I just wanted to know if you ever got this issue resolved, and how you went about doing it. Did you manage to take legal actions against your aggressor?

    2 years ago
  5. Think again, Christian Matsumoto.

    Advocating gay marriage is advocating equal rights. Realize that married people and single people get different benefits, such as employment assistance, lower income tax, joint parenting, domestic violence intervention, family visitation rights, etc. etc. There are a lot of benefits married people have that single people don’t. How is it fair that you can be in a committed 20+ year relationship with someone and not be allowed to visit them in hospital just because you’re both men/women? When people get married, it’s not just about exchanging vows with your lover and partner, it’s getting to society to accept that two people are in a committed relationship; they are family. They are family, so why can’t they get the same rights and benefits other families have?

    2 years ago
  6. Very articulate. A native English speaker could not have said it better. Thank you for your enlightened commentary!

    3 years ago
  7. 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

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

    3 years ago
  10. 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

    3 years ago
  11. 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.

    3 years ago
  12. 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

    3 years ago
  13. Wow….thank you for your input! :)

    3 years ago
  14. 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!

    4 years ago
  15. 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.

    4 years ago
  16. I think it’s fine, as in the West, if you are in a gay male bar or disco with your buddies, to avoid straight male creepsters. But maybe stay away from the girl bars. That’s just confusing for everyone! :-)

    4 years ago
  17. 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?

    4 years ago
  18. 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.

    5 years ago
  19.  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120406234458.htm interesting.

    5 years ago
  20. “Homo Hill” xD That’s the funniest thing I ever heard. xD

    5 years ago
  21. 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.

    5 years ago
  22. 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. 

    5 years ago
  23. 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.

    5 years ago
    • 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.

      3 years ago
  24. 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

    5 years ago
  25. 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. 

    5 years ago
    • 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.

      5 years ago
      • 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.

        5 years ago
        • 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. 

          5 years ago
  26. 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.

    5 years ago
  27. 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.

    5 years ago
  28. 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.

    5 years ago
  29. 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. 

    5 years ago
  30. 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)

    5 years ago
  31. 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.

    5 years ago
  32. Ah, blackout, clever indeed!

    5 years ago
  33. Amen^^

    5 years ago
  34. 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.

    5 years ago
  35. 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

    5 years ago
  36. 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?

    5 years ago
  37. 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 :)

    5 years ago
  38. 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.

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

      P.S I’m just curious. :)

      5 years ago
      • 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.

        5 years ago
  39. 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.

    5 years ago
  40. 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.

    5 years ago
  41. 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 

    5 years ago
    • 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.

      5 years ago
  42. 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.

    5 years ago
  43. 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!

    5 years ago
  44. 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.

    5 years ago
  45. 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!

    5 years ago
    • 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! :)

      5 years ago
    • 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

      5 years ago
    • 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…

      5 years ago
  46. Thank you for mentioning this…I will look for it.

    5 years ago
  47. 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.

    5 years ago
  48. 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.  : (

    5 years ago
    • Yeah it was Daughters of Bilitis. You can find it on youtube. It was good!

      5 years ago
  49. 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. 

    5 years ago
  50. 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

    5 years ago
    • 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. 

      5 years ago
      • 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!

        5 years ago
  51. I think they did, heres the think: 
    http://www.eatyourkimchi.com/kpopanniversary/

    5 years ago
  52. 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

    5 years ago
    • If I did see you in Korea you would hear me first… I’d probably be screaming like a fan girl!

      5 years ago
      • HAHAHAHAHAHA! I look forward to that day! *Simon and Martina walking down the street… “eeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEIIIIIIIIII!!!!!!!” “Tony is that you?” ^^

        5 years ago
  53. Hey guys did I read correctly on Facebook that this is your last TLDR?!?!?

    5 years ago
  54. 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.

    5 years ago
    • 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.

      5 years ago
  55. 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. 

    5 years ago
  56. 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.

    5 years ago
  57. 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

    5 years ago
  58. 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!

    5 years ago
  59. 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? 

    5 years ago
  60. 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). 

    5 years ago
    • 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.

      5 years ago
    • 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…?

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

      5 years ago
  61. 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~ 

    5 years ago
  62. 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.

    5 years ago
    • 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

      5 years ago
  63. 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..).

    5 years ago
  64. 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!

    5 years ago
  65. LOL, why?

    5 years ago
  66. 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 :)

    5 years ago
  67. 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?

    5 years ago
    • Thanks, I must’ve missed this msg :P I think I am all caught up on your vids again ;) 

      5 years ago
    • 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.

      5 years ago
      • 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).

        5 years ago
      • 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! ^^

        5 years ago
      • 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~ ^^

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

          5 years ago
        • 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.

          5 years ago
        • 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. ^^

          5 years ago
        • [comment posted twice, D:]

          5 years ago
  68. 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

    5 years ago
  69. 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.

    5 years ago
  70. 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.

    5 years ago
  71. 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?

    5 years ago
  72. korea hang in there and keep  fighting this disgusting disease forever!!! hwaiting !!!

    5 years ago
  73. 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 !

    5 years ago
    • 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.

      5 years ago
  74. 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 )

    5 years ago
    • 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?

      5 years ago
      • 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. 

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

        5 years ago
        • 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~ 

          5 years ago
  75. Great way to deal with this touchy subject!

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

    5 years ago
  77. 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~)

    5 years ago
  78. 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. :

    5 years ago
  79. 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…

    5 years ago
  80. 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.

    5 years ago
    • Ja

      Thanks for sharing this insight. I have always wondered about this.

      2 years ago
    • 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.

      5 years ago
  81. vic

    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.

    5 years ago
  82. 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? (:

    5 years ago
    • 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. 

      5 years ago
  83. 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

    5 years ago
    • 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.

      5 years ago