Kyungtae, Professor, Seoul, South Korea

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong

Kyungtae, in his own words: “(Being gay) means surely that I can see the world in different ways more than just having sex with men. I was raised in a very conservative town so if I were not gay, it would be hard for me to care about all the minorities repressed in this society. Ultimately, I hope being gay leads me to invent my own way of an ethical life which doesn’t stick to not only the traditional heteronormativity but also the globalized homonormativity to cope with the contradiction and impasse of neo-liberalist value.

You know, there are very few celebrities who are openly coming-out in Korea. In 2000, a famous actor Hong Suk-chun came out under the unavoidable situation and was soon removed from all the shows he appeared in. So some of the furious gay community made a group to support Hong’s coming-out, in which I attended plucking up the courage. At that time, I was only 21 years-old and I got started my career as a gay activist through this group.

Now I’m writing a dissertation for my Ph.D in film studies. It’s about Korean queer films. Before that, I also wrote a master’s thesis dealing with the same subject and the title is ‘The Ethics of Representation in Korean Male Homosexual Cinema’. When I finished my thesis in 2008, it happened that it was the first thesis wholly dedicated to Korean queer films in Korea.

I have only one sibling who is a brother and a year younger than me. One day, he called me drunkenly and asked me when I was supposed to tell him the fact that I was gay. I was too shocked to say anything for a moment. It might be that he found my writings about homosexuality on the internet. He said he waited with patience for my coming out researching homosexuality everyday to understand me, and was worried about the worst situation caused by my sexuality such as suicide or AIDS. He cared about me just as his precious brother per se so it didn’t matter to him that I was gay. I’m so thankful for his careful concern.

Actually, I don’t know exactly what’s the difference between gay community in Seoul and ones in other Asian major cities such as Tokyo, Taipei and Singapore. I think they are getting more similar to one another with all the bigger circuit parties and pride parade. That’s a kind of global trend in gay scene, but rather I can find the notable difference in the more organized homophobia force based on Christian fundamentalism in Seoul than any other Asian cities.

(Advice I’d give my younger self) Travel a lot and meet more various people! These days, there are many opportunities to communicate with all kinds of guys around the world on social network services like Facebook and Tweet etc. I should have used them more actively for travel and face to face contact.”

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