“LGBT rights in North Korea is a bit like LGBT rights on the moon”

being-gay-dprkFollowers might be interested in a piece I did for the fantastic NK News, an independent news service focusing on North Korea, which you should all sign up for. It’s about LGBT rights in what is, essentially, the most secretive and closed society in the world – the truth is much more interesting, and nuanced, than you’d think.

Ji Min, like nearly all other young North Korean men, took part in regular compulsory military training. Once a year, professionals from the cities such as him were drafted and sent off to do military service for about two weeks.

Working with Ji Min was another young man of marriageable age, who the army had given the task of distributing food, rations and other necessities to the soldiers – a job which could make one quite popular with your fellow soldiers. Furthermore, on the job they were exposed to many unmarried girls, and “some of them were really pretty,” Ji Min recalled.

But Ji Min’s friend was not interested in the girls – he was more interested in Ji Min.

“He always treated me so nicely,” said Ji Min, who defected from the DPRK in 2005. “I was (very) favored by his effort to get me out of hard training or to give me delicious food. I am wondering why he really did so to me when he ignored all those girls who tried hard to get his attention.”

Western readers may not be so perplexed – it’s possible Ji Min was the subject of a homosexual crush.

Homosexuality in the DPRK is one of the most mysterious things about this mysterious state – how is a subject, still something of a taboo even in the west, treated in one of the most authoritarian and conformist states in the world?

Read more here.

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