This is our first blog post and we're specifically dedicating it to the celebration of Pride weekend. We all know how hard the fight for LGBTQ+ rights is within the world, let alone South Korea; focusing directly within the K-Pop industry. There is a strong lack of representation within this strict industry, but I am here to show you that despite the rigidity of K-pop, times are changing; even though it's a slow process.
Let me introduce you to four K-Pop idols that are slaying the industry with their openness and are showing the rest of the world that being themselves is what matters the most.
Amber, from f(x) has always been a part of the fight for LGBTQ+ rights. She puts herself out there as an “androgynous tomboy with tattoos and piercings,” as she described herself recently in the interview for Billboard, and that says a lot. She definitely has a strong opinion when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights being an ally for the community. During her latest project, she worked tirelessly to add her personal touch to it. She released the music video for Lifeline where she transforms her lyrics into a male-male dance and it is just amazing.
This Korean-American singer has been pushing boundaries of the rigid K-Pop industry since he came out back in 2015 in the interview with Time Out Magazine. He worked hard to position himself as a singer and part of the LGBTQ community. MRSHLL, described as the first openly gay K-Pop idol, has been very open to talk about LGBTQ+ situation in Korea. He mentioned that he experienced the “micro-aggressive behaviour” towards him but at the same time he’s hopeful for a change in the future. He bridges the culture barrier between the East and the West and gives us a look into the reasoning behind the conservative views that Korea upholds. Within a short period of time, Korea went from being a third-world country to being a major player in today's market. While the traditional opinions are still pervasive at the moment, it is just a matter of time before the progressive views of modern and tolerant society become the norm.
2. JO KWON
To be honest, 2AM's leader tops my LGBTQ+ friendly list, but I have to be fair. Not only has Jo Kwon proved himself to be the leader of one of the best second generation K-Pop groups, but he also shown the world that he is not afraid to be who he is. Jo Kwon has a distinctive style when he dances, not to mention he can do all of this in heels. Although Kwon doesn't express his views on a daily basis, he is known to have shut down homophobic comments on his Instagram profile. We love him for not hiding who he is and showing the world that it's okay to be different. Just see for yourself.
Holland is probably the sweetest K-Pop kid you’ll see around at the moment. He used his troubled past to build his career and that’s incredible. Holland found a courage to come out to one of his close friends in middle school, which unfortunately resulted in bullying throughout the rest of his school years. Despite all of this, he made a decision to always be true to who he is and become an example of diversity and acceptance within the K-Pop industry. His first single debuted earlier this year and reached over 1 million views within the first day. Its message was especially directed towards youth that is struggling with their identity. The main message of the song is: it’s gonna get better. In this special Pride edition, Holland is our number one for being a role model for personal growth and a great example of how despite your past, you can still change your future for the better. Cheers to you dear H <3.
Special thanks to Billboard, SBS, Style Magazine and Gay Times for their amazing interviews.