OMG! Gays in Korea!

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If you’ve been in Korea for any length of time, you’ve probably heard this from someone you know or work with: there are no gays in Korea.

This is obviously false. There are homosexual or LGBT people everywhere in the world. They might happen to be more widely or deeply closeted here than say San Francisco but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. In fact, both Busan and Seoul have their very own gay clubs though they don’t advertise and tend to be very word of mouth.  Homophobia is rampant in Korea, any hand holding you see in the streets between same sex couples is assuredly purely platonic (and will certainly disrupt your gaydar). 

My favorite (or least favorite) conversation about an LGBT issue happened last year but it still stands out in my memory. 
Female English Speaking Korean (FESK): I was dating this guy but I found out he was bi so I broke up with him?
Me (trying to tread very lightly here): Why?

If you’ve been in Korea for any length of time, you’ve probably heard this from someone you know or work with: there are no gays in Korea.

This is obviously false. There are homosexual or LGBT people everywhere in the world. They might happen to be more widely or deeply closeted here than say San Francisco but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. In fact, both Busan and Seoul have their very own gay clubs though they don’t advertise and tend to be very word of mouth.  Homophobia is rampant in Korea, any hand holding you see in the streets between same sex couples is assuredly purely platonic (and will certainly disrupt your gaydar). 

My favorite (or least favorite) conversation about an LGBT issue happened last year but it still stands out in my memory. 
Female English Speaking Korean (FESK): I was dating this guy but I found out he was bi so I broke up with him?
Me (trying to tread very lightly here): Why?
FESK: Well, what if he cheated on me with another guy?
Me: Wouldn’t the issue be more the fact that he was cheating on you? I mean if you thought the guy was going to cheat on you or was cheating on you, sure break up with him. But why would who he cheated on you with make a difference?
FESK: It’s just weird!
Me: ~shrugs and changes the subject~

Why am I posting about this now? The Korea Herald published an article today, “Cruise ship with 710 gay men aboard to call at Busan port.” There was absolutely no opinion in the article about whether or not this was a good thing. It felt even very conspicuously politically correct. I mean, this is a good thing I suppose only why did they bother writing about it in the first place? I shall be watching the internet for the opinion pieces that are sure to follow…



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