Korean Gender Reader

(Source)

1) Cuban Boyfriend playing in theaters

According to HanCinema, it’s a documentary about a Cuban man who falls in love with a Korean woman 10 years his senior. Unfortunately there’s little information available about it in English, but it does looks interesting.

2) Economic burdens prompting Koreans to delay marriage

3) Mandatory 3-hour training class for Korean men importing Asian brides

(Source)

4) Advice to male idols: don’t you dare avoid your military service!

Roboseyo discusses actor and singer Hyun Bin’s (현빈) decision to join the marines for his 24 months of compulsory military service, unlike most entertainers who prefer comfortable military PR-type positions.

But celebrities aside, Korea has 250,000 ordinary men conscripted each year, and this has a profound effect on Korean life. For more on that, see here, here, and here.

5) Picture of Day: ROK Army Female Cadets Head Out for Training

Like it says, its just a picture (source), but one commenter over at ROK Drop raised some interesting points about it:

ROK women in the military? Big deal. FYI, they’ve been serving alongside their male counterparts ever since 1948. The embarrassingly unjustified attention these Sookdae chicks are getting just b/c they’re in the first women’s ROTC outfit is disgraceful. Korean women have been getting commissions through OCS since the Korean War, the ROK service academies since 1998, and are serving in all ranks and branches (excluding Armor, Artillery and ADA) for decades. (Also, the reason they look so cute in their BDU’s is b/c the Gender Equality Ministry many years ago forced the Defense Ministry to provide tailored utilities specifically cut for women — e.g., female BDU pants have a more flattering cut around the hips, and micro-sizes they offer are small enough to qualify for junior misses or girls’ sizes back in the U.S.)

I disagree about some of the details about that last: the uniforms for women were only first tested last September (and won’t be fully introduced until July), and there’s no evidence to suggest that the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family Affairs (여성가족부) was originally behind the decision (see #2 here).

But although less then 1% of Korean soldiers are women, I have no reason to doubt that they’ve been serving for over 60 years, so the commenter is right to query the attention. And recall that The Chosun Ilbo is notorious for finding literally any excuse to post pictures of women and girls!

6) CEO of entertainment agency charged for sexually harassing a trainee

For the details, see allkpop, and see here and here for some context. Meanwhile, in other crime-related stories, Korea Beat reports that a serial child-molester was let off lightly by a judge for quitting his teaching job. And on the plus-side, albeit prompted by a tragic event, Global Voices passes on the news that:

A posting by the mother of the victim has mobilized net users to file an online petition and drawn media attention to a questionable murder case. The mother claimed her daughter was beaten to death while resisting being raped. The police has decided to reinvestigate the case.

7) Who are all these White chicks?

I’m no Picasso adds her insights to Mixtapes and Linear Notes’ post on G-Dragon (지드래곤) and T.O.P.’s recent High High music video.

(Source)

8) Who are all these fat chicks?

And in turn, Hot Yellow Fellows does to my own on the “Piggy Dolls”  (피기돌스). Whom, in addition to everything else, now netizens are also calling too old-looking.

9) Hating the Korean Wave (NSFW)

I’ll let SeoulBeats summarize this one (The Marmot’s Hole also has a little on it):

Netizens have been in an uproar over a Japanese internet manga, created by otakus, which fetishizes a rather unflattering side of the Hallyu Wave that has recently invaded Japan.

The story is told by a fictional former Korean pop idol, working as a hostess, who gives an expose about the “real” inner workings of the K-pop industry to a journalist. The comic presents the Korean entertainment industry as extremely manipulative and seedy in which female idols are forced to give sexual favors to their bosses and their coworkers for fame. In the comic both SNSD and KARA are accused of performing such favors.The manga features highly sexualized images of SNSD and KARA members performing their hit songs “Genie” and “Mister.” Poor KARA has even been drawn performing naked.

10) New Gisaeng Story (신기생뎐) premieres this weekend

(Source)

And for more on gisaeng (기생), the Korean equivalent of geisha, see here and here.

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What IS the Age of Consent in South Korea?

Considering the abysmal state of sex education in Korea, part and parcel of a society reluctant to admit that teenagers have sex or even sexuality, then the notion that it’s only thirteen sounds simply absurd.

Despite myself though, that’s precisely what I’m going to argue.

Not because that’s the consensus of English-language materials on the subject however. The vast majority never provide a source for their information on South Korea specifically (see here, here, here and here for some examples), and following the trail of those of that do almost invariably leads to a chart of the age of consent in various countries on Wikipedia, itself unsourced (but which has recently been edited as I’ll explain). Indeed, highlighting how problematic that makes them was my original intention in writing this post.

But first, the catalyst was this post at Omona They Didn’t!, a popular K-pop site. There, commenters discussed singer G-Dragon’s (지드래곤) concert performance below that featured simulated sex scenes, and which he is now being investigated for (but not yet prosecuted) because it had been rated suitable only for ages twelve and above (see here, here, here, here and here for the latest developments). Arguably somewhat arbitrary and hypocritical considering similar performances by other singers that haven’t been, the outrage is even stranger if the age of consent is thirteen, as pointed out there by a commenter with the handle “hallerness.”

(Update: See here for a detailed explanation of what exactly happened at the concert and the legal response, including an interview with the performer on the bed)

Queried on that low age by other commenters though, this blog got mentioned, and she emailed me asking for clarification. With apologies for the delay, this post is my response.

The first step in preparing it was simply to ask my students. But although their confusion was not entirely unexpected (whereas I’ve been writing about Korean sexuality for a long time now!), it still took a great deal of time and effort to explain what the concept was.

Not to imply that they’re stupid and/or ignorant of course, but that Korean adults needed an explanation at all is surely indicative of how alien the notion of teenage sexuality is here (or at least public discussion of it).

Once that was out of the way, then all said it was 18, like I also thought: after all, almost everything else sex-related is, including buying contraception, having access to or appearing in pornographic materials, and working in de facto sex-related industries. But they had no idea of what the Korean term was, hesitant suggestions including 법정나이 (literally “correct age”) and 법적나이제한 (correct age limit).

Turning to an online dictionary next then, I found 성관계 승낙 연령 (sexual relationship consent age) instead, with the explanation 합법적으로 성관계를 승낙할 수 있는 연령 (legally sexual relationship can consent to age). Paste it into Korean search engines, and you do get some results, although most appear to be about Canada (see a little later for why). Rather than wading through those though, I had no hesitation in turning to Matt at Gusts of Popular Feeling instead, who has written a great deal about teenage prostitution. And fortunately he does have a post in which he discusses this issue.

To be specific, it is about controversial rulings in two teenage prostitution cases in July 2001 and July 2009 (known in Korean as wonjo gyoje; 원조 교제). And while technically The Korea Times articles he quotes also do not mention any specific law, the age of consent being thirteen proved crucial in both cases, and I recommend reading his post in full to understand why.

From the 2001 article (link broken):

Under related laws, those who have sex with minors younger than 13 should be punished, regardless of whether the minors agreed or whether there was a financial deal. However, having sex with minors aged 13 or older, which does not involve financial deals, is not punishable if the minor consents.

And from the 2009 one:

In Korea, a person is not guilty of any crime for having sex with a minor aged 13 and over unless it is paid for or forced. Sex with those under the age of 13 is punishable even if it is carried out under mutual consent.

And Matt’s reaction was exactly the same as mine would have been. In particular:

….I found the age of consent shocking because I’d heard for so long that it was 19. Keep in mind that in the 1990s I think Canada’s age of consent went from 16 to 14 (or 12, if the other person was 14) which I also thought was quite low. It recently was put back up to 16 due to people considered predators on MySpace, etc. finding young girls to sleep with [James: which is what most Korean articles on 성관계 승낙 연령 were about]. Considering Korea’s internet culture and the fact so much wonjo gyoje is organized online, you’d think more would have been done by now….

…I’m surprised that the age of consent hasn’t been raised here, considering, as I mentioned, how much online activity is to be found with men looking to have sex with underaged girls, and how it’s routinely stated (even by the police on their website) that the age of consent is actually 19. Also, considering how in the late 1990s how youth sexuality and changing youth behavior (and rising crime, including sex crimes) was discussed as if teens were a virus infecting society, the low age of consent is perplexing – not looked at through a moral lens, but through the discourse in the media surrounding teens at the time (and to a lesser extent now).

(Source)

Six months earlier, he wrote the following on this post of mine about a 14 year-old Korean model that posed nude, and I’d be interested if the second case in 2009 changed his mind:

…“However, having sex with minors aged 13 or older, which does not involve financial deals, is not punishable if the minor consents.” That contradicts the 19 year old age of consent the police say they adhere to, but if I have to choose between the police and a 7 year-old KT article, I’ll go with the police.

And when I wrote that post, the Wikipedia entry on the age of consent in South Korea gave it as 13n, citing this chart as a source but which in turn implies that the entry for South Korea comes only from “verified information from our correspondents,” given that the other sources cited there have no information about South Korea. Very recently though, the Wikipedia entry has been edited to “The age of consent in South Korea is not currently known,” and if you go on to examine the discussion about that this is what you find:

I’d hoped that that link to the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency would save me the trouble of following up Matt’s mentions of it myself, but unfortunately it doesn’t appear to be working, and besides which might be unreliable like “Truthfulchat” pointed out.

So, if Matt doesn’t read this post for himself first, then I’ll contact him for help with that source from the Korean police (I’ve given up trying to navigate their various sites), and besides which would be very grateful for his input. As I type this however, I’ve had my long-suffering wife looking on her computer for more Korean sources (her Korean is rather better than mine!), and yet after twenty minutes she has only been able to find this page from a 2007 book entitled Gyoyanginul Ouihan Saegyaesa (교양인을 위한 세계사), or World History for Civilized People by Kim Yun-tae:

With apologies for the small size, that states that in Korea the age of consent is 18 for men, and 16 for women!

In conclusion then, to put it mildly the jury is still out on what the age of consent in Korea is, and so this seems an opportune moment to throw open the floor to suggestions on how to continue from readers, which would be very much appreciated (not least by my wife!).

Before I do though, if you’re curious then the first two images above (source), then they are from the 2006 movie Dasepo Naughty Girls (다세포 소녀), which appears to be an excellent satire on Korean sexual mores; see here for an extensive review by – who else? – Matt. And finally, although they’re not related at all sorry, the more I wrote this post the more the following safe sex posters (NSFW) by James Jean kept coming to mind:

(Source: I Believe in ADV)

See BoingBoing for an extensive comments thread about them.

Korean Sociological Image #16: Plagiarism in Advertising

Sean Connery Louis Vuitton( Source: Nevermind )

Korea has a deserved reputation for plagiarism, but it can surprisingly hard to provide definitive reasons for why this is the case. For example, had I been asked, I would have ventured that it was a combination of:

• the discouraging of creativity and the overwhelming use of rote-learning in Korean schools.

• the emphasis on results rather than processes, as evidenced by the university you attend being considered more important than what you learn there, or alternatively TOEIC scores being used by companies to select new recruits regardless of their actual spoken English ability, or if the job even requires it.

• the reality that university is widely regarded as a brief respite between studying for the entrance exam and corporate life, with much less of a workload than high school.

• a chronic lack of funds meaning that universities are extremely reluctant to expel students.

• and the Korean route to academic advancement, which far from having the egalitarian relationships that prevail in the West, can involve an almost slave-like dependency on professors by postgraduate students. The tasks they can be expected to perform for them can range from the mundane – like making their coffee – to doing the bulk of professors’ actual work, such as the marking of undergraduate essays, and usually for little or even no financial compensation. In such circumstances, it is no surprise to learn that Korean newspapers regularly feature cases of prominent academics being caught plagiarizing their students’ work.

Lotte Scotch BlueAnd for more on most of those points you can see this earlier post of mine on the Korean education system, and also this one by Seamus Walsh on the role of Confucianism in it. But they are all very much open to debate (and I encourage you to do so in the comments), and most importantly can probably be added to: the nature of the Korean music industry, for instance, is probably the real main factor behind this recent alleged case by Korean singer G-Dragon (G-드래곤). And so it proves that there is also a quirk specific to the advertising industry that encourages it there too.

Naturally, after two years of writing about Korean advertisements I’ve already discovered an example of plagiarism by a Korean advertising company, but that one pales by comparison with this on the right by Lotte Chilsung (롯데칠성음료) for its Scotch Blue Whiskey, which a spokesperson had the audacity to claim was only inspired by Louis Vuitton’s advertisement with Sean Connery above (with the tagline “There are journeys that turn into legends. Bahama Islands. 10:07”). It has since been withdrawn, but the Korea Times notes that “according to the Korea Advertising Board (KAB), companies accused of plagiarism are subject to penalty only when the original creator files a request for review.” Moreover, and herein lies the quirk, “in most cases, companies see the plagiarism of commercials as a win-win situation. They like their commercials to be copied and replayed by other companies, because it reminds consumers of their products,” said Kim Se-won of the KAB in 2006.

One wonders in this case though, as the single example available on the internet suggests that it must have been withdrawn rather quickly, perhaps indeed because of threatened legal action. But regardless, do you think the association of Scotch Blue with Louis Vuitton does detract from the latter? How about only in Korea specifically?

Update: With thanks to Florian for making it, here is the original Louis Vuitton advertisement resized and superimposed onto the Lotte Scotch Blue one:

Scotch Blue Louis Vuitton plagiarism

Like he says, at this level of similarity it’s more accurate to talk of copyright infringement rather than plagiarism!

(For all posts in the “Korean Sociological Images series, see here)

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Korean Gender Reader

Abracadabra Brown Eyed Girls(Source: Ningin)

1) If You’ve Got it, Flaunt it? The Potential Mainstreaming of Assertive Female Sexuality in Korea

As the live performance below demonstrates, even sans the sex scene of the music video, the dance routine for the Brown Eyed Girls’ (브라운아이드걸스) Abracadabra (아브라카다브라) remains compelling viewing. Spoken from the perspective of a heterosexual male of course, but also in the sense that it presents a rare, more assertive side of women’s sexuality to the faux coy, innocent, and inexperienced one that is the standard for the Korean media:

But given that, the original furor it generated, and the fact that many much tamer songs have been censored and/or banned from being broadcast on public television and radio recently, then last month I and VixenVarla at Seoulbeats and I naturally expected the same for what is easily the most sexually explicit Korean music video I’ve ever seen. Instead, and in some rare positive news, quite the opposite has occurred: the Brown Eyed Girls have become very much the darlings of the Korean media (see here, here, here, here, and here for just a handful of their recent television appearances), with their dance routine very much mainstreamed in the process. For which I present as Exhibit A the fact that it is starting to be parodied:

Do such parodies dilute the much-needed message that Korean entertainers – and, by extension, Korean women – can flaunt rather than hide their sexuality? To the extent that there was a deliberate “message” in the first place of course, as the music company involved has proved all too ready to make tamer versions of the video for the sake of quick sales. The question is pertinent in the context of Western dance moves and gestures frequently being parroted by Korean performers without being aware of their sexual connotations, of which Extra Korea! recently gave some examples, although the first he gives may be erroneous, as G-Dragon {G-드래곤} has quite a reputation for gender-bending. But the pelvic thrusts at 2:45 in the next one do indeed seem rather forced and awkward:

For more on the disassociation between sexuality and sexual iconography in Korea, see #7 here, to which I would add this observation by Misuda (미녀들의 수다 ) member Vera Hohleiter (more on her in a moment) on the irony of Korean women wearing mini-skirts, only to cover themselves up constantly while doing so, and also the fact that in Korea any blatantly sexual dance move, gesture and/or piece of clothing is instantly rendered cute and innocent in the public imagination merely by being on a teenage girl, as to view it otherwise would be to acknowledge the uncomfortable reality of their sexuality.

********
I think the criticisms are a little harsh though: if you want to look for dancing that is genuinely “the vertical expression of a horizontal desire” in Korea, then you don’t have to look very hard. And context is very important, as even the most provocative of Western singers would be hard pressed to inject some sultriness into their performance under the harsh, almost antiseptic lights of a Korean talk-show studio, and moreover one in which the 3 year-old above may well have strutted her hips and thrust her non-existent breasts out at the audience 10 minutes earlier (not to condone that by any means, just to point out the myopic asexuality of such shows, which discourages questions of how problematic such performances really are). Finally, there’s the constant repetition and routine that would ultimately render ostensibly sexually provocative dance moves and so on somewhat artificial and forced for any performer. As such, it’s not like they can’t be learned: like I noted in an earlier post, there’s a good reason Singer Son Ga-in (손가인) of the Brown Eyed Girls spreads her legs and rides the stage floor like a porn star in the first video (at 2:06), despite claiming to be a virgin (update: apparently that was all only a rumor).

Son Ga-in2) Misuda: Half of it’s Fake

I haven’t actually seen the show myself, but I get the impression from those that have that the first season of Misuda did have its good points, and in particular sparked a lot of interest by Korean women in—and consequent dialogue with—foreign women living in Korea (easy to overlook if you’re a guy). Unfortunately Vera Hohleiterits more fluent, intelligent and interesting members were replaced in favor of mere photogenic ones and more tabloidish discussion topics in Season 2 though, and in was in this vein that was widely regarded as foreign male-bashing on the show occurred in Season 3 last month, which naturally provoked a vehement response in the Korean blogosphere: see #1 here for links, to which I’d add this commentary at Diffism that I overlooked, which makes the crucial point that much of the vitriol, albeit by no means undeserved, stemmed from from an intentionally skewed Korean newspaper report on the episode.

Among the hundreds of comments on those sites, I’d imagine that some would have argued to the effect that much of what is said on the show was scripted and for the sake of playing to its vacuous audience, and it turns out that that is indeed the case, as revealed in a book by German panelist Vera Hohleiter on the right. Unfortunately though, Korean netizens, albeit hardly representative of Koreans’ opinions as a whole, are concentrating on the few negative comments about Korea in it. Even though, as commenter Martin at Brian in Jeollanam-do’s post on the subject puts it:

….I am German and have read Vera’s book a few weeks back. When I bought it, I thought it would be the usual crap that we normally get from books about Korea but it was a decent read and the picture she draws of Korea is VERY positive. The few negative aspects she points out do not stand out at all, though I’m not surprised that some random Korean netizen picks up on them and the Korea Time publishes a story based on that person’s opinion/interpretation. Unreal….

….Anyway, the whole story is unsubstantiated as the book really doesn’t say much negative about Korea or Koreans.

On a positive note though, for its flaws Misuda is belatedly producing a male version. And Javabeans notes that foreign men are already becoming more prominent in the Korean media in recent months, increasingly portrayed positively and in romantic relationships with Korean women (see this movie also).

Update: And even the negative comments about Korea in Vera’s book may have been deliberately mistranslated and/or taken out of context. For more information, see doggyji and orosee’s comments on this forum thread.

3) Does Korea Need Cheaper Childcare?

Very much so, according to the The Chosun Ilbo (hat tip to WangKon936):

Last year 465,892 babies were born in Korea, 27,297 less than in 2007. As a result, the national fertility rate, which is the average number of babies that a woman gives birth to during her reproductive years between age 15 and 49, has declined from 1.25 children per woman to 1.19. Kim Hee-sun Marie ClaireAfter shooting up in 2006 and 2007 because of the belief that those were auspicious birth years, the rate has fallen again. Moreover, 10,000 fewer babies were born during the first five months of this year compared to the same period a year ago. This has prompted dire projections that Korea’s birth rate could fall to 1.12 this year….

….In order to boost the birth rate we need to create a social environment favorable to child birth and raising. Child-rearing costs must be lowered, while women should not be the only ones responsible for raising children. Corporate practices must also change so that women with babies are not discriminated against. But it will take quite some time and effort as well as a change in public thinking to create such an environment. The most practical measure at present is to provide reliable low-cost, high-quality childcare facilities for parents. In a 2005 report on Korea’s low birth rate, the OECD said that increasing childcare facilities alone could boost the rate by 0.4….(Source above: Naver).

And as someone who’s written about Korea’s exceptionally low birth rate and childcare issues for quite some time (see here, here, and here for some lengthy posts), then my instinctive reaction was to agree, but I have to admit that this response to it had some merit:

That’s a load of crap.

If child care was any cheaper in Korea, it would be free. Most daycare centres and kindergartens receive government subsidies, and for that reason, fees normally hover at around 200 000 won per month. Moreover, the government offers additional subsidies to families whose total income is less than about 3.6 million won per month, granting up to a 50% reduction in fees (so, about 100 000 won per month) and even offers additional subsidies to families that have more than one preschooler enrolled.

Sure, there are many daycare centers and kindergartens that charge more (one of the most popular gimmicks used to double and even triple fees being lessons in English), but they are not the norm.

Let’s be more specific. At the moment my wife and I send our 3 year-old daughter to a kindergarten (유치원) from 9:20 am to 4:40 pm Monday to Friday, and that costs us 420,000 won a month (340,000 if we only sent her until 2), which we consider a small price to pay for the sake of our sanity! Her kindergarten is unusual in that it accepts 3 year-olds instead of the standard 4 years, and also as a kindergarten it provides more of a structured educational program than a daycare center (어린이집), but unfortunately that means that we receive no subsidies from the government. If we sent her to the latter though, on my single income of, well…embarrassingly not much more than a 21 year-old new English teacher would make, then we’d only have to pay something like 50-60% of that. As far as my wife knows, there is actually no threshold on the percentage of subsidies that can be received on even lower incomes.

The Cultural Desert of Childcare(Source: Unknown)

I grant then, that costs are not the issue per se, at least to those on a double income and/or with much higher ones than mine. Recall that Korea has the lowest rate of working women in the OECD though, and that Korea has among the longest hours in the world spent at the workplace (note: not working, which is why Korea’s productivity per hour is only average), and I’d be surprised if there is childcare of any sort available at the late hours required. Or indeed if there ever will be, regardless of how many new facilities are created (albeit still urgently required), and so it behooves me to yet again point out that this aspect of Korea’s workplace culture, presenting a stark choice between motherhood and a career, arguably remains Korean society’s biggest stumbling block to raising its birth rate. In the meantime though, as the 2004 Social Policy and Administration article “A Confucian War over Childcare? Practice and Policy in Childcare and Their Implications for Understanding the Korean Gender Regime” makes clear, just actually enforcing the childcare and maternity legislation already in place would be an important first step:

We ask about the development of childcare policies in Korea and what these mean for our understanding of the gender assumptions of Korean governments. Women’s labour market participation has been increasing rapidly, with married women now much more likely to be in the labour market. The provision and regulation around support for women’s employment, and especially for mothers’ employment, is a key issue and problem for Korean women and for governments. A number of policies give the impression that the Korean government is moving rapidly towards a policy for reconciling work and family based on a dual-earner model of the family. But we argue that a close inspection of these policies suggests that the state is still playing a residual role, legislation is not effectively implemented, and government is giving way to the private sector and to the family in responsibility for childcare. Mothers’ accounts of their lives centre on a childcare war played out beneath the apparently harmonious Confucian surface, with resisting husbands supported by powerful mothers-in-law, and daily struggles over the management of services. The Korean government and its policy-makers, far from moving rapidly towards a dual-earner model of the family, are still rooted in Confucian ideals.

Unfortunately that is just the freely available abstract, as I’ve long since lost my electronic copy of the article (update: thanks to reader John Bush for passing this copy on). But I discuss it in detail here, and provide examples of the regular scandals of poor or even rotten food being provided to school students, and the fact that at the time of publication at least civil servants only had the resources to inspect facilities once a year, if at all, with the net result that finding a reliable facility among the insufficient number available plays no small part to play in Koreans’ decision to (not) have children. Things may well have changed in the 5 years since that article was written of course, but given that the Lee Myung-bak administration originally planned to abolish the then Ministry of Gender, Equality and Family (see here and here), only to retain it as the Ministry of Gender Equality (여성부) at the last moment, handing its family-related responsibilities to what became the Ministry for Health, Welfare and Family Affairs (보건복지가족부), then I highly doubt that there has been the political will to make the necessary changes.

Update: See this Korea Times article on for more recent information on Korea’s declining number of newborns.

Heroine(Source: Unknown)

On that note, apologies for the relative lack of subjects this week, less than I intended, but it’s been extremely difficult to write with both the heat and the 2 Energizer Bunnies masquerading as my daughters. And to be frank, the data-collecting for the Korean Gender Reader posts meant that writing them was becoming more of a tedious chore than something to look forward to – never good for the longevity of a blog and/or readers’ enjoyment of it – so from now on I’ll be sticking to the original format, which lets me both look at things in depth and have my own voice. I hope you enjoy the change!

Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Korean LGBT Issues…

G-Dragon Big Bang Blonde

Being at 8:30am on Sunday morning, then my presentation at the ICAS 6 Conference in Daejeon last weekend wasn’t exactly well attended, but at least I did get to meet Professor Douglas Sanders of the University of British Colombia, a noted author on human rights and LGBT issues, and as it happens also the first openly gay person to speak at the UN. He later passed on a paper he has just written on the development of LGBT issues and activism in Korea in the 1990s and 2000s, and I recommend it for the chronological overview of the subject it especially, and which I wish had been available before I read the rather denser (but also excellent) article on the subject in the Autumn 2005 Korea Journal article “Intersectionality Revealed: Sexual Politics in Post-IMF Korea” by Cho Ju-hyun. Combined, you probably couldn’t ask for a more comprehensive look at the subject, although of course please pass on any more resources if you know of them!

Not to imply that G-Dragon (G-드래곤) of the Korean boy-band Big Bang (빅뱅) above is anything but heterosexual by the way, but that’s certainly an interesting photo of him above (source), and which as someone growing up in the UK in the 1980s instantly reminded of noted LGBT celebrities Boy George and Julian Clary. For the story behind the photoshoot, see here.

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