Korean culture is conservative, and the film industry has been pretty slow to feature LGBTQ+ characters in their K-Dramas. However, Koreans are changing their views, and change can be felt as more and more K-Dramas featuring LGBTQ+ characters are being released and the issues being faced by the queer community.
Although it’s just a few dramas, it is a step in the right direction. Below are some of the LGBTQ+ K-Dramas to watch.
Itaewon Class is a good representation of transgender people. The main character is played by Seo Joon, a school drop-out and an ex-convict who opens a bar at Itaewon. Lee Joo Young is acting as Hyun Yi, who was born male. Hyun Yi is a transgender woman. She is working as the head chef at the pub owned by Park Searoyi (Seo Joon). She is saving for her gender reassessment surgery.
Coffee Prince is a drama about the heir of a coffee company, Choi Han-Kyul played by Gong Yoo. Han Kyul only hires men for his shop as to attract female customers. That is, until meets Go Eun-Chan, a tomboy mistaken to be a guy through his method of hiring men.
Han Kyul ends up hiring Eun-Chan to act as his gay lover to help him avoid blind dates set up by his grandmother.
Camellia Project is a 3-story film about contemporary gay life in Korea. The first story is about the meeting of two men who were past lovers. One of the men has a daughter from his marriage, and they both go to Bogil Island to rekindle their love. The second story is a sad one, as one man wants to leave, and the other is holding him back. At the same time, the third story is about a woman who visits Bogil Island to see her dead husband’s lover. She gets angry when she sees him happy with his current lover. However, after seeing red camellia flowers, she lets go and accepts her husband’s homosexuality and begins the healing process.
The Boy Next Door
The Boy Next Door is a mini Korean drama series about two college students Park Kyu-Tae (Choi Woo Shik) and Sung Ji-Kae (Jang Ki-Yong). They are both forced to live in the same house. The two have several awkward and hilarious encounters with Kim Min Ah that lead Min Ah and her closeted boyfriend to assume they are gay.
Reply 1997 is about a group of friends who reunite and start reminiscing about their high school days. The former K-POP group member of Infinite Ho Ya plays a gay man, Kang Joon Hee, who falls in love with his best friend, Yoon Je. Sadly, Yoon Je does not reciprocate Joon Hee’s feelings, and he is left dealing with one-sided love.
The show handled their relationship well as there was no altercation and the two characters were also mature in handling the situation. The drama shows acceptance and respect for LGBTQs as Joon Hee’s friends support him entirely for embracing his sexuality.
Long Time No See
This is a five-episode drama that was produced in 2017. Each episode runs for 15 minutes, a bummer because the episodes are full of romance, action, and intrigue. It is a story of two assassins, Flying Dagger and Wild Dog, who are supposed to kill each other but fall in love along the way. They do not know each other when their love blooms. But will their love survive when Flying Daggers’ true identity is revealed?
Love with Flaws
Love with Flaws is a drama about a woman, Joo Seo Yeon, who loathes pretty boy Lee Kang Woo, who is obsessed with his looks. The film also represents the LGBTQ+ community through a secondary role by Cha In Ha, who works as a bartender in a gay bar. He faced many difficulties with his coming out to his family, to a point where he wanted to commit suicide. Surprisingly, his family accepted him and told him that he does not have to apologize for embracing his sexuality.
Hi Dracula about a lesbian girl, Seo Hyun, who expresses the difficulties and loneliness she feels because her mother does not accept her sexuality.
If you are a fan of LGBTQ+ K-dramas, look these up, and your evening or weekend will be exhilarating.
About the Author:
Christine Siamanta Kinori grew up in a little village in Kenya known as Loitoktok near the border of Kenya and Tanzania. All she wanted to do when she grew up was to explore the world. Her curiosity led her to join Nairobi University to pursue a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications. She later got a job with an amazing travel magazine Nomad Africa which gave her the opportunity to explore Africa. She also writes for numerous travel websites about Africa and tries to create a new narrative in the media about our aesthetic continent.
Christine claims to have somewhat unhealthy addiction to TV and reading, as it is a fun way to keep herself occupied during the long journeys for her travel writing. She is also a believer of letting people be their beautiful selves. To her, love is love and it is the greatest gift we have as humans.