Anyone from a Western country will tell you that being part of the LGBT community has its issues. While the society I grew up in is now much more tolerable and has finally legalised gay marriage, it can’t be denied that homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia is still rampant. As much as we like to think we know our loved ones well, coming out is still a huge decision that changes everything. We never know how people are going to react; We never know if being honest about ourselves is only going to sever ties to those we’re close to.
I was lucky that the people in my life held no amount of judgement towards me. But I’ve also been a victim of the biphobia that comes from the heterosexual, gay, and lesbian communities in Britain. And while the ignorance and hate is hurtful, it is avoidable.
I won’t be sentenced to prison or death if I meet a woman and get involved in a relationship with her. I can sleep safe in the knowledge that my life isn’t in any danger from those around me or the government.
Things are different here in South Korea.
The first time the subject of homosexuality came up between me and my co-teacher, her response was simply that, “That doesn’t happen here.”
That doesn’t happen.
This province is apparently free of all gay people.
Unfortunately being gay is still a taboo subject here. I’m fairly certain most people know that there are gay people in this country but, like a lot of things, it just isn’t talked about. A lot of people are actually quite open-minded and accepting but there’s no denying that big dark shadow that blankets a lot of society’s views.
You’ve only got to look at what happens to public figures if they’re honest about their private lives. I mean, we’re talking about much-loved celebrities.
After model Ji-hoo Kim came out in 2008, his management dropped him and he lost all of his sponsorships. He later hung himself. He was only 23. When actor Seok-cheon Hong came out in 2000, he lost all of his sponsors too. He ended up opening a restaurant to which people would warn others away from, saying they’d get AIDS if they ate there.