Sexuality is not something often talked about in the K-pop industry.
But singer Holland has broken barriers by debuting as the first openly gay K-pop idol. His music video, “Neverland”, created waves as it features an explicit kiss between 2 men, something not commonly seen in the fairly conservative Asian country.
In an interview with SBS PopAsia, an Australia music show, he talked about his music video, the discrimination he faced, and the LGBTQI community in Korea.
His music video wasn’t meant to include the kiss, but Holland insisted as he wanted to see how others would react to it. “What I wanted was for people to actually talk about this issue more openly,” exclaimed the singer.
He doesn’t understand why the music video was rated R, but as long as people can talk about the issue more freely, he is satisfied. Chiming in positively, he said, “I’m sure the situation will change in the future.”
On his music video being a “fresh” topic, he expressed, “I believe that people like me should come out more. It’s not fresh at all, but (…) I wish people like me could naturally be accepted by the majority.”
While Holland hasn’t faced any direct discrimination since his debut, he admitted that he hasn’t received many opportunities for media appearances. This is despite his song ranking really well on international music charts and his music video racking in more than 8 million views.
“I have achieved so much so far, compared to many other artists. I just feel like I deserve more attention and opportunities. I’ll just have to try harder,” he said.
Nevertheless, he feels grateful for the attention given by various journalists and companies in Korea.
Being realistic, Holland doesn’t expect any immediate change in Korea. However, he explains, “What I want to see now is more people like me in public so that people can at least talk about this issue openly. People might then come to their own understanding (and that) can form a great sense of true value. Discussing this more openly is what I want most.”
He knows it’s difficult to expect marriage equality in his home country, but he thinks that for now, it’s enough as long as there are more people willing to discuss it.
“We’re in the very early stages of our long journey to become a more open country. I think we’ve just started our journey. (…) This issue is still taboo in Korea. These issues are not dealt with by the media. I think we can’t physically talk about this because it’s still taboo. I don’t agree with that. As you said, communication is key for us to move forward,” he elaborated.
He also talks about being particularly careful when talking to or interacting with other idols, as he’s afraid of people misjudging his intentions.
He also left some words for fans, saying that it makes him sad to see his fans feeling intimidated and being passive just because of their sexuality. He advises them to build up their self-esteem and believe in themselves, as that self-confidence would make it easier for people to approach this issue.
In his words,
“You have to love yourself, then others can’t ignore you. They’ll treat you as a human being.“
Well said, Holland.
Watch the full interview here:
Holland has also set up an independent music label and hopes to work with other producers to come up with quality music. An album is also in the works, followed by a world tour.
You have our support, Holland!
Source: SBS PopAsia.