TL;DR - Homosexuality in Korea

Uploaded by simonandmartinabonus on 12.01.2012

desiotakugirl from Texas USA asks
I've seen a few K-Dramas in which a character pretends to be gay or is accused of being gay
So what is Korea's position on homosexuality? Is it completely shunned or somewhat accepted?
So when it comes to being completely shunned or somewhat accepted,
I think Korea falls somewhere in between
I think that the "completely shunned" does exist, but it's usually for closed-minded old fashioned and usually old people.
We're talking about grandmas and grandpas, and this is a real position that we've heard,
they've said that homosexuality does not exist in Korea.
Out right deny it. Just total denial.
Or when they do acknowledge that it exists, they accuse it of being a disease brought by foreigners.
So we actually have a friend who was a foreign teacher in Korea
and was teaching his students a lesson on diversity.
and afterwards the principal accused him of, and I quote:
Spreading the disease of homosexuality.
We were so floored when we heard this conversation.
Now we don't want you to come to Korea and think that everybody is closed-minded like that
That's not true, because these are just a couple of examples we've had.
Now there's the middle ground of opinion which comes from people that acknowledge that,
yes, Homosexuality does exist in Korea. It could be a foreigner that's gay, it could be a Korean person that's gay
They know that it exists, they've acknowledged it, they've accepted it,
but they've never had a personal experience with anyone.
they've only heard about it from a friend of a friend, or they've watched it on a TV Drama
So because their experience with homosexuality is so limited
They don't completely shun it or accept it. They're somewhere in the middle of theorizing about it
And the third position we've encountered comes from the younger Korean generations
in which they have both heterosexual and homosexual friends that are both Korean and foreigners
and are perfectly open and ok with it and have no issues about it whatsoever
And that last position is just like us.
We have Korean friends that were born, bred, and raised in Korea, and they're gay
and we have foreign friends who came to Korea and they're gay
Now since we're not gay ourselves, we can't tell you what homosexuality is like in Korea firsthand
But we've spoken with our friends about this extensively, so we can tell you what they've told us about it.
Now you may have friends who have had totally different experiences
This is just the experiences of our friends that we're recounting now
Now a few issues that they've encountered in Korea, whether they're Korean or foreigners deals with employment
It seems that, among our friends, nobody is open about their sexuality at work
because they're afraid of the repercussions that might happen.
Now if they work at a tutoring centre, like a hagwon, where there are a lot of foreigners working with them
they said that they might feel more open to talking about it
but if it's a predominantly Korean work environment, they just don't feel comfortable
Now the good news is that there are some gay communities in Korea,
but they're predominantly located in Seoul,
which can be really hard if you don't live near Seoul,
like, imagine if you live in the countryside somewhere and you have absolutely no community
Now the most popular locations that we know of are predominantly Itaewon
which is where we get the whole ITAEWON FREEDOM!
In which the most famous hot spot would be Homo Hill.
We did not make that name up. It is the real name. It is called Homo Hill
but there's also a lot of gay-friendly bars there, and I'll tell you something really interesting:
a lot of heterosexual girls in Korea will go to male Korean gay bars
in order to avoid being hit on by slimy Korean guise. Very smart!
Now why is Itaewon such an important location?
Because you can go there and act as open as you want.
while other parts of Seoul…not so open-minded.
Another area that's really popular in Seoul is Jongno 3 ga
Now supposedly this is for the older business crowd
it doesn't have as much of a vibrant atmosphere as Itaewon does
but it still provides a bit of a friendly atmosphere there
I think it's more comfortable. When we were there, it wasn't like a club scene or anything like that
It's kind of like grilling meat and eating fish together. That kind of stuff.
We eat there often and it's delicious. It's really delicious. They have outdoor Samgyapsal.
And the last area we would say is Hongdae, which is just a really artsy and open area.
So if you're coming to Korea and you want to reach out to the gay community but you don't know how
Fortunately there are some smartphone apps that can help you get in touch with other people in the gay community.
So if any of you have any advice or different places that you can go to,
please let us know in the comments because - again -
our experience is very limited in that field.
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And now you know why Itaewon Freedom is such an awesome song.