Various K-dramas are drawing attention as they depict sexual minorities as three-dimensional characters.
Lately, LGBTQ characters have naturally been included in non-queer works, referring to works that put gender identity at the forefront, such as “Boy’s Love.” This adds to the variety of the story.
In the Netflix original series “Somebody,” which was released on November 18th, a lesbian shaman, played by Kim Yong Ji, appears. The drama tells the story of a software developer and her friends chasing down the killer as a murder case takes place through the social connecting app ‘Somebody’. In the process of solving the case, various characters appear, and the shaman is one of them.
As we can see from the fact that it is a social connecting app, the drama emphasizes the universal desires of human beings by capturing the relationships and inner psychology of the characters. The same goes for the shaman. Kim Yong Ji has a natural affection for a woman she meets at her club. Kim Yong Ji explained, “I portray a person who likes people without gender restrictions.”
tvN’s fusion historical drama “Under The Queen’s Umbrella”, which is airing towards the finale with the highest viewership rating of 13%, draws attention with the appearance of a prince who thinks he has a female identity. It’s Grand Prince Gye Seong, played by Yoo Seon Ho. Kim Hye Soo, who plays his mother, instead of scolding him, says, “No matter how you look, you are my child” and accepts her son as who he is, such as giving him a hairpin as a gift.
A queer character also appears in tvN’s “Love in Contract”, which recently ended. Born as the son of a rich family, Woo Kwang Nam, played by Kang Hyung Suk, is a homosexual who paid for a fake marriage with Park Min Young, a marriage contractor. Kang Hyung Suk said about his role, “I didn’t want to portray my character as a one-dimensional, feminine homosexual that the media usually portrays.”
As such, there is a trend of trying not to stereotype or caricature LGBTQ characters, unlike before, even in works that don’t put sexual identity as the main subject. In this regard, tvN’s drama “Behind Every Star” is drawing criticism.
Unlike the original 2015 French drama of the same name, “Behind Every Star” shows a character that can not remove the prejudice against gays. Also, by changing the romance of a female homosexual couple in the original work into a story of a couple of opposite genders, “Behind Every Star” is facing backlash from fans of the original work.
Popular culture critic Jung Deok Hyun said, “The social gaze toward sexual minorities is changing a lot. Nevertheless, they are still subject to discrimination and prejudice. We have to portray them responsibly so that that kind of gaze is not included.”