On September 17th, 2000, the headline on the front page of a daily newspaper turned Korea upside down. ‘Hong, Seok-chun, ”I am homosexual”’. This article started with, ”I like men”, as hearsay and a so-called outing. After returning from abroad, Hong, Seok-chun came out in an imposing manner to reporters who had come to learn the truth. He received cheers from some articles, but the reality was different. Three hours before recording a TV program, he was given notice that his panel casting was cancelled. Also, he had to leave the kids-program ‘Ppoppoppo’. The reason was, “he was not agreeable to Korean sentiment.” He couldn’t appear on TV shows for years. However, he has recently started to become very popular with his gay gag and been nicknamed as ‘Top Gay’. Our society turned its face away in the past because he was gay, and nowadays allows his appearance on broadcasts again. At the same time, some people think of being gay as a negative thing. Let’s think about our society’s view on homosexuality.
+) Outing: The sexual orientation or identity of sexual minorities are revealed without their agreement.
+) Coming out: Sexual minorities reveal their sexual identities for themselves.
Homosexuals, who are they?
A homosexual is a person who feels love for the same gender. Homosexuals used to be classified as a sexual minority. Sexual minority is a group whose sexual identity, orientation or practices differ from those of the majority. The politically correct term for this sexual minority is ‘LGBT’, which means; ‘Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender’. A lesbian is a woman who has feelings for women, and may be called ‘Lez’ for short. Gay is a general term for a person who has feelings for the same gender like homosexual, but normally means a man who loves another man. Bisexual is someone who likes both genders. Finally, transgender is a person whose gender identity or gender expression does not match his or her physical sex and includes those who undergo a sex change operation.
+) Homosexual and homo are the same thing, right?
Homo is an abbreviation for ‘Homosexual’. It includes gay and lesbian. But as it comes to be used gradually as a term which demeans homosexual, ‘homo’ is regarded as an inappropriate word which should not be used by people. In this sense, it was ironic that the headline of the first article about ‘Hong, Seok-chun’s sexual orientation was “I am a homo”.
Homosexual loves a person, just a person of the same gender.
The number of people who admit and advocate homosexuality is tending to increase. Homosexuals do love like everybody else. Their object of affection is just the same gender. Defenders of homosexuality say that condemning homosexuality infringes on human rights and violates a person’s basic rights. The reason is that it is our right to love anyone and no one has the right to criticize who we love. Some people criticize homosexuality because homosexuality is a main culprit of AIDs transmission, but homosexuals do not always get AIDs. Being stricken with AIDs is also due to not paying attention to sexually transmitted diseases.
Homosexuality that can’t breed is a vice.
Recently the number of people who advocate homosexuality has increased. However, there are still a lot of people who don’t like homosexuality. Basically they think that humans are a breeding animal. Therefore they think homosexuals ignore the providence of humans because of not being able to breed. Also, they say that they are free to hate homosexuals, just as the defenders of homosexuality say that they are free to love someone. Defenders say that homosexuality has no direct bearing on AIDs. However gays are statistically more likely to get AIDs with about 40-50% of males with AIDS getting infected because of homosexual activities. As 0.1% of South Korean men are gay, gays are 750 times more susceptible to AIDs than heterosexuals.
Homosexuality treated in Korean media.
After the coming out of Hong, Seok-chun, we can easily find movies or dramas dealing with homosexuality in Korea. ‘Witch-hunting’ (by JTBC) is a good example. ‘Witch-hunting’’ is a TV talk show with a subtitle, ‘A story of women by men’ which mainly treats talking about men and women’s sex. Hong, Seok-chun is a regular panel member. The PD of ‘Witch-hunting’ cast him because he could talk from a third point of view. Also, through this program, Hong, Seok-chun was given the nicknames ‘top gay’ and ‘kanji gay’, and has made a contribution to change people’s view on homosexuality. ‘King and the Clown’ is a movie with homosexuality. This movie contains the code of homosexuality between King Yonsan and his favorite clown, Kong-gil. This movie sold over ten million tickets and changed people’s thoughts about homosexuality. Some critics gave comments that audiences could accept homosexuality without repulsion thanks to the fact that the movie is structured to recognize the main characters’ homosexuality after understanding the whole historical drama. This movie is one of several hit pop films with the code of homosexuality. The drama, ‘Life is Beautiful’ by writer Kim, Su-Hyun was a big issue and caused a controversy. The reason was that this drama had the code of homosexuality despite it’s being a weekend-family drama of public TV. Most recently, it made headlines that a scene with two girls’ kissing went on air in ‘Seon-am girl’s high school detective team’ (by JTBC). They were criticized for telling a story about young students’ containing homosexuality.
What do university students think about homosexuality?
What do university students think about homosexuality? We can find out their thoughts through the results of a university students’ homosexuality awareness survey. A total of 406 university students were surveyed by ‘Univerisity Tomorrow(대학내일)’. The results show over half of the surveyed students (59.1%) accept homosexuals. They can accept homosexual neighbors, but can’t accept homosexual family members or friends. One in four (25.9%) suffered from their sexual tendency, and seventeen in one hundred (17.2%) felt their hearts fluttering when they saw the same gender. It was revealed that female students accepted homosexuality 30% higher than males. This applied to detailed questions, too. When they heard, “You look like a homosexual”, one in three men felt negatively, while one in three women felt nothing. Female students who watched homosexual content more than males supported activities about homosexuality higher than males. Finally, they showed more favorable attitudes than males.
There was a genius mathematician who decoded the Germany cryptosystem ‘Enigma’, saving 14 million lives, and shortening the Second World War. But after the end of the war, his life was very lonely. It was revealed that he was gay and was arrested on charges of homosexuality. At that time, homosexuality was a crime in the United Kingdom. He was given female hormone therapy and was chemically castrated as a penalty for his homosexuality. Finally, he committed suicide by eating an apple poisoned with potassium cyanide. This was the story of Alan Turing who was described as the main character in The Imitation Game. Alan Turing ended up losing his fame as a mathematical genius, a war hero, the father of computer science, and the father of artificial intelligence because homosexuality was a crime at that time. Did it arouse criticism that he was a homosexual? Or did he have a great impact on society by decoding Enigma? Of course, the answer is the latter. But he had no choice but to choose a lonely end despite his splendid achievements merely because he was a homosexual. People are free to love or hate someone. However, it is unfair to look at someone with a prejudice because of personal taste. Alan Turing asked us, “Am I a War Hero? Or a criminal?”< Copyright © The Gachon Herald All rights reserved >