We’ve Rounded Up the Gayest K-Pop Moments for Your Viewing Pleasure
It’s undeniable that the K-pop genre has developed into a global phenomenon, with passionate fans everywhere around the world — and it’s not hard to see why. The music is catchy, fun, and addictive. K-pop idols are fashionable, ultra-talented, and gorgeous. They dress impeccably. They appear on variety shows and come off as funny and relatable. And they do some really homoerotic things onstage. Is much of this fan service? Yes. Does it work? Also yes. In fact, a quick look through YouTube boasts dozens of fan-made compilations of gay K-pop moments.
Check out this gay K-pop montage:
Some of these videos are over 15 minutes long and have multiple parts, because K-pop fans are nothing if not extremely dedicated. The vids show idols playing kissing games, being generally affectionate and snuggly, and holding one another on and off the stage.
Western audiences may have been slow on the uptake, but the music and subsequent culture of K-pop have been on the rise outside of Korea, in East and Southeast Asia, North Africa, and South Africa for years. Now the United States seems to finally have caught up, embracing all things K-pop. Korean groups have appeared on American awards shows and late-night TV, performing for Jimmy Fallon and James Corden. TIME magazine released a bookazine about BTS, calling them “The K-Pop Band that Conquered the World.”
It’s pretty obvious that K-pop is thriving and here to stay. With it, we can expect more hoards of fans following Korean idols’ every performance and appearance, running update sites about seemingly mundane things like airport fashion*, and chronicling gay K-pop moments.
It’s no secret that homosexuality in South Korea is generally not looked upon favorably, but attitudes seem to be slowly changing. Lonely Planet recently wrote that “2018 saw South Korea’s first openly gay K-Pop idol (Holland), its first drag parade, and the most internationally successful K-Pop group, BTS, speak about supporting LGBT rights.” This summer, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs published an article titled South Koreans Becoming More Accepting of LGBTQ Community, highlighting an increasing trend toward LGBTQ acceptance.
Is it possible that with this move toward acceptance, the world of K-pop will change as well? Will we see more idols coming out, less fan service and more honest representation, and video compilations of gay K-pop moments that include proudly out idols?
Because we at Hornet want everyone to get the chance to live their truth, we hope so. There is nothing wrong with these fan-made compilations, and there is no telling for sure whether the idols included in them are heterosexual or belong to the LGBTQ community. But it’s good to remember that we have a number of K-pop videos that purposefully include gay representation, too.
As the first openly gay K-pop idol ever, Holland debuted with this beautiful video depicting a same-sex kiss. Vogue wrote of the artist: “Even his name is a statement — Go Tae-seob renamed himself Holland as a nod to the country that was the first to legalise same-sex marriage.”
Planet Shiver’s “Rainbow” is an anthem for individuality and equality, and features a queer couple.
One of the saddest videos of all time, Red Velvet’s Wish Tree music video is about two women and the unrequited love one feels for the other.
The queer subtext is off the charts in Monsta X’s “All In” video. A true masterpiece that never gets old!
Whether real, imagined, or subtextual, there’s a lot of queer flavor to work with in the world of K-pop, and it’s impossible not to see the appeal of the genre, especially to members of the LGBTQ community.
Sound off below with your favorite gay K-pop moments, and let us know if we’ve missed any!
*This author firmly believes there is nothing mundane about airport fashion, especially when it comes to Korean idols. The author is addicted to Google image searches of “[idol name] airport style” and unashamed of it.
This article was originally published on November 28, 2020. It has since been updated.