He lost his TV career after exiting the closet back in 2000, but despite his setbacks, South Korea’s Hong Seok-cheon (pictured) now says he made the right choice to live openly.
Hong, 41, is the most prominent openly gay celeb in the traditionally homophobic and censorious country which is slowly becoming more accepting of its LGBT citizens. The internet has helped younger Koreans to understand homosexuality – most conservative older citizens deny gay people even exist.
Until 2000, Hong regularly appeared on children’s TV and primetime variety shows, but was rarely seen on TV after he came out.
“In South Korea, we’re led to believe that gay sex is dangerous, alien and dirty,” Hong told a chat show audience this week, reports the LA Times. “For so many years, I’ve been treated as an outcast in my own country. I’m just so happy to be here today, talking openly about who I really am.”
He added: “Older Koreans will ask me, ‘If you’re gay, why don’t you dress like a woman?’ And I tell them: ‘Because I’m a man. I just happen to be attracted to other men.’”