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Openly Gay Singer Holland Talks Growing Up Gay In South Korea

Back in January, Korean singer Holland made history as the first openly gay singer in the Korean pop music scene.

While one R&B singer MRSHL was gearing up to debut and take that title, Holland beat him to it with his single and music video called “Neverland.”

After the music video was released, it was unfortunately censored as adult. When a Korean music video is rated mature, its given a 19+ rating and younger viewers are warned not to watch it. Of course, many did anyway and the video earned around eight million views.

Recently, Holland spoke to Dazed to share his thoughts on growing up as gay in Korea.

“I had a very hard time in my school life...I confessed my love to a boy I loved when I was a secondary school student, and the response was not good, so that made my school life very hard.”

It was even harder for him because of the fact that there wasn’t any gay representation in entertainment media. While most of Korea isn’t against towards LGBTQ people, many citizens consider LGBTQ rights to be a foreign issue.

That said, higher ups in the Korean military are openly targeting gay men in service, which is a problem as the country still has a draft and all men must work for the military at some point.

As for LGBTQ people in the entertainment industry, there are plenty who are still in the closet to this day and few who are open about their sexualities.

Holland says that he wants to start the change in the business.

“Although at that time there wasn’t a single role model to look up to in Korea, I was very consoled by foreign celebrities. So I thought, ‘I want to be a famous person like them’... I’m working harder because I want to be a special person to my fans too.”

Here’s hoping his dreams come true.