Sunday, December 1, 2013

Being gay in the DPRK - article from NK News

Just a link today to a story I read in the NK News about attitudes toward homosexuality in North Korea (DPRK).

It is striking that there is reportedly a complete lack of awareness of sexual minorities in the communist state. I mean, when it comes to countries like Iran, where the conservative (and willfully blind, in my opinion) leadership claims that, "We don't have any gays", the denial is outright preposterous, since, well, it's Iran, and its religious revolution didn't happen so long ago that people have forgotten how liberal it was before.

But North Korea has been shuttered away from the world for sixty years, which is enough time for a few generations to become convinced that the only reality that's ever been is the one their government has taught them. And in this reality, homosexuality cannot even be conceptualized. It's so invisible that there aren't even any laws against it.

I don't expect things to stay this way forever, though. The more North Korea opens up, and the more exposure it gets from South Korea and other neighboring countries, the more the conflict between homosexuality and the pro-heterosexual nuclear family ideals of the communist regime will grow. I mean, surely gay-positive South Korean dramas like Life is Beautiful and Reply 1997 have made their way across the border via the black market by now?

One more thing: a Westerner who organizes tours of North Korea (Yes, it's a thing. You can visit NK for vacation.) said that the country is "attractive as a gay tourist destination for the militarism, the kitsch, the innocence too."

Um, no. That's offensive. Can you please explain how militarism and kitsch appeal to gay tourists?

P.S. Crazy news: A US veteran was detained by North Korea just before he finished a tour and made to apologize for "war crimes" committed during the war sixty years ago. It's a strange story, and I could comment on it further, but... you should read about it, too. I hope and pray that he is released soon.

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