Kpop Takes Steps Forward For LGBTQ+ Inclusivity
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

Kpop Takes Steps Forward For LGBTQ+ Inclusivity

Hopefully, this is a sign that times are changing.

Kpop Takes Steps Forward For LGBTQ+ Inclusivity
Ludovic Bertron

The Kpop community saw a huge step forward in inclusivity on January 21 when openly gay idol singer Holland made his debut. South Korea is notoriously against LGBTQ+ rights and very few Korean celebrities have come out of the closet. As it was, the music video for Holland's debut track, titled "Neverland," (which does include a scene where two male characters kiss each other) was marked as rated R on YouTube and as 19+ in South Korea. However, he will be allowed to promote the track on music shows.

It would be wrong to acknowledge the brave steps that Holland took without acknowledging other LGBTQ+ celebrities in South Korea, the most notable of which is Hong Seokcheon. Hong is an actor and TV personality who came out in 2000. When he first came out, he was fired from his network and advertisement deals, and stopped receiving acting roles. He instead started a restaurant chain and returned to acting a few years later. He has since appeared in a number of television shows and films, has adopted two children, and is currently running for local office. If elected, he will become South Korea's first openly gay politician.

A number of younger idols have also expressed that they are not heterosexual. The most notable of these is Kim Minsung, formerly Hansol of the group Topp Dogg. He came out as asexual in an Instagram Live video with fans in September, and as aromantic a few months later, also on Instagram. Although he has left Topp Dogg, he currently works at the 1997 Studio as a dance instructor and posts dance cover videos on YouTube. He also has a project titled Glass Mask in the works. His previous projects under the name MaryKiko have also expressed homosexuality. Kim is also an advocate for mental health awareness and was close with Kim Jonghyun of SHINee, who passed away due to an alleged suicide in December of 2017. Jonghyun was also an advocate for mental health awareness and LGBTQ+ rights. In addition, a number of idols have expressed that they may not be straight, including BTS’s Suga, MONSTA X’s Wonho, and members of D.I.P andMAXXAM. Hyeongseong, leader of D.I.P, has listed himself as bisexual on Facebook.

There are also a number of transgender idols, most notably Harisu and Choi Hanbit. Harisu is considered the first transgender Korean celebrity and was the second person in South Korea to legally change their gender. She debuted in 1991 while still living as male and transitioned in 2002. In 2005, the group Lady debuted under Logi Entertainment. The group consisted of four transfeminine idols and was inspired in the wake of Harisu's coming out. Unfortunately, their music failed to draw attention and they disbanded in 2007. Most recently, Choi Hanbit, who is also a transgender woman, debuted with the group Mercury under Gaon Entertainment in 2016.

There are also a few idols that are important to LGBTQ+ fans because of their gender expression. Jeonghan of SEVENTEEN and Jeongyeon of TWICE are both known for not fitting the stereotypes of their gender when it comes to their hair, as Jeonghan had very long hair during his debut and Jeongyeon has had short hair since her debut (both in 2015). Amber Liu of f(x) has also been notable for this reason. She keeps her hair short and does not dress in ways that girls, especially in South Korea, are traditionally expected to dress. Ren of NU'EST also had long hair for a while and has done photoshoots wearing traditionally feminine clothing (i.e. skirts). Both have expressed that they wish to change society's view on gender and clothing. Finally, SHINee member Taemin also expressed that this was the concept behind his recent comeback “Move.”

I can't mention Holland without also mentioning MRSHLL. Marshall Bang, who will be known as MRSHLL when he debuts, came out as gay in 2015 and has spoken publicly about the struggles he has faced since coming out, including in his relationship with his mother, who is an evangelical Christian pastor. He will be debuting under the label FeelGhoodMusic.

Although a number of music videos have implied homosexual storylines, none have shown homosexuality onscreen in the way that Holland's "Neverland" has. Hopefully, the support that Holland and MRSHLL have been receiving so far will be a sign that times truly are changing in South Korea.

You can watch Holland's "Neverland" music video here:

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

23 Pandemic-Approved Date Ideas That'll Send Sparks Flying From Six Feet Apart

There's a safe way to date right now and yes, it includes masks.


While some people would rather opt out of dating altogether during the pandemic so they don't have to wear a mask on a first date, others are choosing to listen to both guidelines and their heart in order to find love during the time of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Should you be one of the individuals welcoming romance right now, there are pandemic-approved dates you can go on that still adhere to guidelines (and yes, you'll have to wear a mask).

Keep Reading... Show less

I didn't believe the notification when it came through to my phone: Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died from complications due to cancer.

Keep Reading... Show less

In our patriarchal society, men hide from their feelings, but toxic masculinity is literally killing men. They swallow the pain and move on so that they can look, feel, and act "tough."

But, strength is derived from asking for help and voicing your struggle and, trust me, working on your mental health is one hell of a struggle. The real way to "man up" is to acknowledge the downfalls in unjust societal norms. Mental health problems do not mean that a man is weak, they are neurologically-based disorders that require professional treatment.

Keep Reading... Show less

11 Things Your Boyfriend Should Do Before He Drops $499 On A PS5

Let's start with spending less time gaming and more time with you.


Scrolling through Twitter this week had me rolling on the floor laughing as I read some of the hilarious tweets from ladies who, whether in a relationship or not, shared reactions to the news that PlayStation 5 is on its way

As this "buy your boyfriend a PS5" joke takes off across the internet, let's just say, there are a few things your BF should be doing before dropping $499 on the new gaming system — or, if the tweets are real for some, before you buy it for him as a gift.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

Sorry, But 'I Don’t Care About Politics' Is Not A Valid Excuse For NOT Voting

The younger generation of voters is so crucial to the upcoming election because our vote is going to shape the world that we are about to enter as adults.


When I ask my friends if they are voting this term most of them respond with "no" followed by an explanation of "I don't care enough," "It doesn't affect me," or "I don't keep up with politics," etc. I get it, as a college student I know that there are many other things to be concerned about like school, relationships, work, and friends. I also understand that keeping up with politics can seem like trying to keep up with an over-exaggerated reality show that has way too many seasons. Not to mention most news stations and websites are biased so it's hard to decipher if what you hear is true or fake.

However, despite all of this annoyance, as the next generation of Americans, we have to remember that we owe it to ourselves, our families, and to our futures to care.

Keep Reading... Show less
Tasia Sli

Tasia Sli and Anna Yang met in quintessential New York fashion at a chic rooftop event, inquisitive Yale grad Anna gravitating towards model/entrepreneur Tasia.

Keep Reading... Show less
Photo by Anna Hernández-Buces

"Do you have big parties on Cinco de Mayo?"

Keep Reading... Show less

Two of my favorite things in life are reading and books. Obviously, they go hand-in-hand. In my life, I've realized that there is nothing better than learning about the current world or getting fully immersed in another world. Reading can inspire, teach, and entertain you.

For me, the feeling of opening a book and smelling that fresh book smell can't compete with anything else.

Keep Reading... Show less

Expecting mother and wife to singer/songwriter John Legend may have accidentally slipped up and revealed the gender of her and Legend's third baby today on her Instagram story.

Keep Reading... Show less

20 Books About Latin And Hispanic Heritage Absolutely Everyone Should Have On Their Bookshelf

Any ally of the community needs to be reading these incredible reads.


I go through phases when it comes to what I like to read. I am typically reading two books at any given time: one serious nonfiction and one escapist fiction novel to have on hand and open up depending on my mood.

What remains consistent, however, amongst most of my fellow bibliophiles is a desire to try new and different authors and genres. I, as an Indian woman, have been partial to reading books written by fellow Indian and Desi writers since I first got a library card.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Asked 46 Women What They Thought About The Term 'Plus-Size', And Here's What They Had To Say

It's 2020, where change is inevitable and norms are not only questioned, but challenged.


We live in a world where it's become customary to push boundaries, break rules, and question standards upheld by society. Though try as we might, some of these standards are harder to conquer than others — body image is one of the top contenders.

For years, the body positivity movement has pushed for the acceptance of all marginalized body types not represented or celebrated in the media. Recently, we've gotten better at appreciating and accepting all body types, but one thing that's still lingering is the stigma of body image in the fashion industry — more specifically, the term "plus-size."

Keep Reading... Show less

Many popular TV shows are holding off premiers until spring, so most people are relying on their television subscriptions to get them through a socially distant fall semester.

Thankfully, Netflix was busy filming this past year because there is a ton of new original content coming in the near future. From mysteries to romances, here are some of the best new shows you have to check out this year:

Keep Reading... Show less

Taylor Swift Sang 'betty' At The ACMs And It Was The Perfect First Live 'folklore' Performance

I guarantee that Inez is spreading rumors about how fire this performance was.


The Academy of Country Music Awards were last night and the performances were wonderful, but Taylor Swift's live version of "betty" from her newest album "folklore" really took the cake for me.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

9 Reasons I Unfollowed All The Fitness Influencers On My Instagram Feed

I don't need to feel bad about myself because of who I follow on social media.


Throughout quarantine, something that a lot of us picked up on was working out. With all the free time, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to work on that "dream bod" you've been wanting for years, or to just feel good about yourself.

A common way to stay motivated and keep yourself on-task is to follow fitness influencers on various platforms. For some people, yes, this can be a healthy and helpful way to keep your drive. In other cases, however, this can do more harm than good.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments