A new challenge is taking over YouTube.
Last week, a South Korean tv network censored scenes from the 2018 Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Specifically, the SBS network edited out or blurred scenes that it claimed would make family viewers uncomfortable. Some of these scenes included gay kisses.
While this censorship issue has happened before in many other countries, like China, Malaysia, and Russia, the film ironically was controversial in the U.S. for not going further with its LGBTQ content. After all, the band’s singer Freddie Mercury (played by Oscar-winner Rami Malek) was bisexual.
In response to the censorship, Korean YouTubers Kim and Backpack, the owners of the YouTube channel TV Mango Couple, started a new trend. The couple encouraged same-sex couples on social media to post pictures and videos of themselves kissing with the hashtag #BohemianKissChallenge.
“It doesn’t matter what kind of kiss you do,” Backpack explained in the initial video. “Just post pictures of videos of you kissing, and it doesn’t matter if you’re not actually a couple.”
LGBTQ representation in South Korea is spotty at best. There are very few openly LGBTQ celebrities in South Korea’s entertainment industry. All of its LGBTQ entertainment media is considered niche content. In addition, the country itself is still unsure of how to handle LGBTQ people. The government doesn’t have any protections against anti-LGBTQ discrimination.
Plus, the military still has its anti-gay sex law that threatens a year of imprisonment if men are caught engaging in same-sex sexual activities. Just a few years ago, military officials were using that law to conduct a gay witch hunt. That’s despite the fact that the draft is still mandatory for all male citizens. Thankfully, that law is currently facing a legal challenge. Then more recently, the coronavirus pandemic has led to a spike in anti-LGBTQ harassment.
With all of that in mind, it makes sense that LGBTQ citizens have had enough. Since last week’s censorship issue, some South Korean and international YouTubers, Twitter users, and Instagramers have added to the hashtag. They’ve also called for others to join them. You can find a few of the posts down below.