How do South Koreans feel about gay couples kissing each other out in the open?
YouTuber Jay of JAYKEEOUT, in collaboration with clothing brand VWVB, sought to find the answer to that question in a social experiment video featuring real-life gay couple Cheol Soo and Jang Ho, who also run their own channel.
While homosexuality has never been reported to be illegal in South Korea, the country generally holds conservative views on the topic, with many choosing to stay in the closet over fears of being shunned by society.
The 12-minute video begins with a middle-aged woman, who became so focused on getting their pictures right that she totally missed them kissing.
“What did they do?” the woman asked. “I didn’t see what they did!”
After seeing the couple actually kiss, the woman — who has never seen another gay couple on the streets — expressed surprise and explained her views on the matter.
“It’s more like, they shouldn’t kiss and stuff out in public to start with. Even if it’s a male-female couple, it’s not nice to see. My generation will think like this. Plus, if it’s a gay couple doing that in public? Boys with boys and girls with girls? Then it would be hard for me to understand!”
The couple then found a young man to take their photos. This time, Cheol Soo hugged and kissed Jang Ho from behind.
“You guys looked like best friends,” the man said, presumably recalling the more common phenomenon of skinship between male friends in the country. “I thought you guys were joking around kissing each other on the cheeks.”
When asked what he thinks about homosexual couples kissing in public, the man had a liberal response.
“I think it’s just personal preference. A long time ago, I know it was seen negatively. But now, a lot of those negative perspectives are fading away. Even if it’s not heterosexuality, they are a couple because they like each other. That isn’t what people could comment about.”
Later in the video, Cheol Soo and Jang Ho came across a younger woman who saw them hold hands as she took their pictures. Compared to the older woman, she had much more open views.
“I try not to look at people too much when they are doing their stuff. I believe no matter what their sexual orientation is, everyone should have the same rights. It’s common sense that nobody should be punished because of their sexual orientation.”
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