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  • Veteran

    • 194

    • April 26, 2011, 12:07:27 pm
    • Seoul
Through my interactions with fellow teachers at my school, it's become apparent to me that most older (40+ years old) Koreans simply don't understand homosexuality and continue to believe it is immoral, unnatural, shameful, should be repressed, etc.  I wonder...do younger Koreans generally feel the same way?  Are they exposed enough to gay characters in popular culture to understand it better than their parents?  Of course I know Korea still abides by a somewhat strict, traditional Confucian understanding of life and, as such, changing fundamentalist, traditional notions about family, what it is be normal, etc. will happen at a slower pace than in the West.  I feel sorry for gay Koreans who are stuck here forever and will, perhaps, never get a chance to be who they truly are.  Do you think views about being gay will ever change here? 


Re: Do you think younger Koreans understand what it is to be gay?
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2012, 09:52:36 pm »
Oh yea, they definitely understand.  The younger people (even middle school students, but I mean like teens or 20's) are pretty open about it, from what I've seen.  "yeah, hes gay" and just not caring.  Even today, there was some comedian on TV who lost a bunch of weight and my gf said "he's gay" not negatively or anything. Just pointing out the fact that he came out as gay.  Seems like it doesn't matter much anymore.  Even my middle school students know "lez" and all kinds of slang


  • Browncoat Japhy
  • Veteran

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    • April 23, 2011, 08:32:30 pm
    • Taebaek
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Re: Do you think younger Koreans understand what it is to be gay?
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2012, 07:50:14 am »
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2011-12/15/content_14271985.htm

Bare bones article about a man who successfully sought asylum in Canada because of the abuse he was likely to face as a homosexual in the Korean Army. Things might be getting better, but it is still very far away.


  • Chicagohotdog
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1052

    • March 04, 2012, 12:25:31 pm
    • Gyeongsangbuk-do
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Re: Do you think younger Koreans understand what it is to be gay?
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2012, 11:20:02 am »
As far as I know, if a person that the army knows is gay enlists they get a dishonorable discharge which makes it next to impossible to find a job or attend a university.

I live in a ver rural area...and amongst my students they are NOT TOLERANT at all.  They actually tried to tell me that gay people should be killed.  I know that they are just spitting back out what their parents have said...but I was horrified and told them if I ever heard them speaking like that again they were going to be punished.  I don't have the authority to punish but they haven't tested that out again yet.
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  • woman-king
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1159

    • October 18, 2010, 03:56:29 pm
    • Gyeonggi
Re: Do you think younger Koreans understand what it is to be gay?
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2012, 11:46:49 am »
My middle-school students' occasional jocular comments about "gay" has never seemed intensely hateful to me, just childish, but my Korean's not good enough to really grasp everything that's said.  They definitely know the definition of the term, though, if that's what you're asking.

But I've definitely heard the old "there are no gays in Korea" from very educated, intelligent, well-traveled Koreans in their 20s who are in relationships with foreigners and have no particular religious convictions that might otherwise shape their viewpoint.  I didn't get a "they deserve violence/they're evil" vibe from them, more of a sense that in their eyes being in an open gay relationship is this sort of strange western thing that some people do in the West because we're really "out there" sexually in general. 

I've also heard enough stories from foreign guy friends about being propositioned in jimjilbangs by ajosshis  to guess that there's a bit of the old double standard regarding men having sex with men, where it's somehow tolerable if you do it in the confinement of a jimjilbang and keep up your role of husband, father and respectful worker in the rest of your life.  That isn't a unique practice to Korean culture, of course, and I don't know how prevalent it really is, but I think what really throws Koreans for a loop about the "Western version" (for lack of a better term) of homosexuality is that it's more out in the open and is increasingly seen as equivocal to traditional male-female sexual relationships, instead of being just a hidden side fetish men are allowed to have.

That's just my breakdown of things, though, and I could be wrong about that last paragraph, it is just based on anecdotal observation more than, like, researching it.  Interesting, though, to see how sexuality is expressed and what's condoned and what isn't in different cultures. 


Re: Do you think younger Koreans understand what it is to be gay?
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2012, 02:36:29 pm »
There are gay clubs in Korea, but apparently they are strict to whatever sex they're serving. I had a few gay male friends that would do the gay bar thing, and I wouldn't be allowed in because I was a lady.

I've also found that among my gay Korean friends that they feel most comfortable around foreigners because they can be open with who they are instead of being on the DL.

There is definitely a stigma in Korea, and it will be slow to change, but whatever is happening now is surely better than how it was ten years ago. I read an article once about a poll of Korean's opinions on the matter, and a lot more cite seeing homosexual characters in the media (there are more portrayals in movies and TV for example) as making them more comfortable with the idea.


  • Blacklamb
  • Adventurer

    • 48

    • September 07, 2011, 09:52:06 am
    • Incheon
Re: Do you think younger Koreans understand what it is to be gay?
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2012, 11:56:17 pm »
I think people know the meaning of the WORD, but not the meaning of what it is to be gay, and have respect or tolerance for those who are gay.

The main reaction I've heard is "hate them-so disgusting" type responses.

Gonna take time and positive Korean role models.


  • _Omiak_
  • Veteran

    • 105

    • February 29, 2012, 08:16:39 pm
    • Gwangju, SK
Re: Do you think younger Koreans understand what it is to be gay?
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2012, 11:36:39 am »
I teach at least one openly gay Korean student, but that's at tech high school.


Re: Do you think younger Koreans understand what it is to be gay?
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2012, 12:03:04 pm »
I've also heard enough stories from foreign guy friends about being propositioned in jimjilbangs by ajosshis  to guess that there's a bit of the old double standard regarding men having sex with men, where it's somehow tolerable if you do it in the confinement of a jimjilbang and keep up your role of husband, father and respectful worker in the rest of your life.  That isn't a unique practice to Korean culture, of course, and I don't know how prevalent it really is, but I think what really throws Koreans for a loop about the "Western version" (for lack of a better term) of homosexuality is that it's more out in the open and is increasingly seen as equivocal to traditional male-female sexual relationships, instead of being just a hidden side fetish men are allowed to have.

I think youre right on with this. Middle eastern and African cultures seem to have something like men who love men, men who sleep with men, men who nail men, etc....the idea of homosexuality as we look at it is a compeltely western construct. There are many men in this country who have had same sex relationships, and like you said, they are confused by our definition of these relationships. Of course, we are also confused by how they define it since it doesn't fit into our rigid western construct......