So I’ve a confession to make, y’all..
I’ve basically been sitting on today’s Dear kfangurl post for almost.. 2 whole months now. Eek. Sorry about that!
I’ve got a reason, though! Ok, you may or may not consider it a good reason, but it’s my reason, all the same. Today’s question, which I’m fairly sure was asked half in teasing jest, is really quite the doozy.
Is it normal for fangirls to have a heart attack at their (supposed) young age (by the way, is there any age limit to fangirling, dear kfangurl?) when they learn Oppa/Dongsaeng is gay AND dating?
That’s a lot of delicate & difficult stuff built into the question! Still, as it’s my personal policy not to back away from tough questions on this blog, let’s dive in and see what we find, shall we?
You tough-cookie-question-asker, you. 😉 I’m sorry for making you wait this long for an answer, my dear. To make up for it, I’m gonna do my best to answer your question as thoroughly as I can.
Since it’s a tough question, I’m gonna do what my math teacher taught me to do, and break it down into simpler parts. See? Who said math would never come in useful in Real Life? (Oh wait. This isn’t Real Life. Duh)
PART I: Is there any age limit to fangirling?
I personally don’t think there is any age limit to fangirling, to be honest. I know lots of women who are considered.. mature, who continue to fangirl blithely over our k-actors and k-idols.
And it’s universal too, I think. Years ago, I knew an old grandmother with grown grandkids who had a serious fangirl crush on Ricky Martin, and she’d make it a point to go out and buy all his latest music. For serious, yo.
It’s also my opinion that our inner fangirls don’t ever age, so even if you’re technically older than your k-crush, I find it perfectly acceptable for you to call him Oppa.
In the words of Mark Twain:
So fangirl away, and enjoy spazzing over your Oppas. Coz even Mark Twain – highly respected literary legend that he is – approves 😉
PART II: Is it normal to have a heart attack when you learn Oppa is dating?
This part’s easy! Coz I’ve already written a whole post on this question (good on you, Past Me!). Hee. Go here for my full thoughts on this!
The short answer: it’s perfectly normal. Just remember not to go too crazy. Oppa has feelings too and deserves to be happy. 🙂
PART III: Is it normal to have a heart attack when you learn Oppa is gay (& maybe dating)?
This brings us to the most.. delicate part of the question.
First, let me state upfront that in this post, I’d like to remain completely neutral on the “Is it natural to be gay” debate. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion on this, and the last thing I want is to start a war on this topic in the comments section.
The thing is, regardless of whether one thinks that it’s “right” or “wrong,” “natural” or “unnatural,” we can’t deny that it’s real. There are many people in the world who identify as gay, whether they are open about it, or are in the closet about it.
The question which I think is of true importance in today’s post, is how do we respond, when we learn this piece of information about someone.
Current general attitudes towards homosexuality in Korea
For a start, I think many of us already are aware that the Korean public in general holds an extremely conservative view towards homosexuality.
In k-ent, while it’s becoming more commonplace for idols to include scenes like this in their performances as fanservice:
…Actual gay artists &/or relationships do not enjoy the same kind of acceptance.
On a tangent, I’d like to clarify that I use the word “acceptance” loosely, as even in the case of fanservice like this, there are sectors of the public who find this unacceptable. When SHINee’s Jonghyun and Taemin delivered this performance in Korea in August 2012, there was a distinct measure of public outcry, despite general fan approval (more on that here).
What’s happened so far in k-ent
For more specific context, let’s take a look at what’s happened so far in k-ent, in terms of gay celebs coming out of the closet.
A. “Successfully” out of the closet
Currently, the only openly gay celeb in k-ent is Hong Seok Cheon, who came out in 2000 amid a lot of controversy. At the time, he was fired from his variety show and suffered major setbacks in his career. Eventually, he became a restauranteur, while gradually making inroads back into the entertainment business.
While things have settled fairly well for him and he’s become much more widely accepted in k-ent in general, it has been a long and lonely road.
In February 2013, while appearing on SBS variety show Healing Camp, Hong Seok Cheon broke down in tears when he received a letter from his nephews encouraging him that he’s not alone, and to never give up, because he is an inspiration to other people.
He said, “At first, I thought I was a burden to my nephews. When I first came out to the public, it did not go well… but the younger people have been much more understanding. I didn’t want my nephews to be ashamed of their uncle.” [articles here & here]
Clearly, despite being the most “successful” k-celeb to have come out of the closet, Hong Seok Cheon has not had it easy.
B. Tragically out of the closet
For a glimpse at just how hard it is for k-celebs who come out as gay, Kim Ji Hoo’s experience should serve as a pretty clear benchmark.
After his debut in 2007, Kim Ji Hoo appeared in dramas “Before and After Plastic Surgery” and “The Unstoppable High Kick.” On 21 April 2008, he came out as gay on reality show “Coming Out.”
The backlash was huge. Kim Ji Hoo received many hate comments by netizens denouncing his sexuality; various planned appearances were canceled by organizers; his management company did not renew his contract.
So, so tragic. 😦
What can we learn from this?
Given what we’ve learned so far, it’s not difficult to see why there are so few k-celebs willing to come out as gay. Between the harsh court of public opinion, fan reactions, and reactions by sponsors, partner-organizations and management companies, it is a daunting prospect, to come out as gay, let alone as gay and dating.
I wouldn’t be surprised if there are currently a number of k-celebs who are gay and firmly in the closet, afraid of the potential consequences if they were to come out.
So, back to the question.
Has any k-celeb come out as gay and dating in recent history, or at all, for that matter? No.
Will it ever happen? Honestly, I don’t know.
But if it does, let’s do what is within our power, to not allow history to repeat itself.
If Oppa ever does come out as gay, dating or not, it’s understandable if you have a heart attack moment – or twenty. That’s ok. What’s not ok, is to spew hate in Oppa’s direction for his sexuality.
If it ever does happen, let’s all breathe, and remember:
Coz even if Oppa is gay and that breaks your heart &/or hurts your sensibilities, he – like every other human being – doesn’t deserve to be treated that way.
I hope that helps.
1. Dya have thoughts to share with Asotss? Or a story of your own? Share with us in the comments.
2. Do you have a question of your own? Drop me a comment here or on the Dear kfangurl page, or send me an email!