LGBTQ individuals in many nations have to deal with different judgments and even inequities due to their preferences. Fortunately, societies are gradually opening doors for these people and help them set their true identity to other men and women without having to undergo difficulties.
For many years, we all have known Korean culture to be conservative. This quality has been reflected on K-dramas as well since they’ve generally been played very safe. Not a long time ago, LGBTQ characters were considered taboo in the entertainment industry of this country. In the past, it was difficult to imagine a K-drama character interested in lesbians dating online or has a gay love story.
But in recent years, the trend has changed, and we’ve seen a considerable rise in the number of LGBTQ characters in K-dramas. There used to be either no sign of sexual minorities or comically describing them without significant roles in the story.
To highlight these changes, we’ve reviewed five of the popular K-dramas that show this change appropriately.
1. Hi Dracula: Conflicts of a Lesbian Girl and Her Mother
In ‘Hi Dracula,’ Seo Hyun plays a lesbian whose mother doesn’t support her due to his orientations. The story covers the difficulties, sadness, and loneliness such girls have to cope with just because they are sexual minorities. Her inability to express to her mother, who she is, weakens her in many aspects of her personal life and adds to her daily problems.
This drama tells a story of boys and girls who tend to ignore their problems as they grow. Anna, the main character, is a lesbian who teaches at elementary school and experiences difficult emotional states after breaking up with her girlfriend. Anna’s mother decided to grow apart when she discovered her daughter’s sexual preferences and made her problems even worse.
2. Itaewon Class: Trans Genders and Their Hardships
Itaewon Class is a successful drama depicting a transgender character born male but has found out to be a Trans woman. She’s working hard to save money for a gender reassignment surgery and at the same time has to overcome battles with people around her with their biased behaviors.
Ma Hyun-Yi, the transgender woman, helps a restaurant manager in Itaewon who aims big for success in his business. She becomes a skilled chief as the story progresses, and the situation with her gender identity improves over time. The drama pictures gender inequality and racism in societies while showing the injustices sex minorities experience every day around us.
Itaewon has succeeded in opening up Korean people to diversity and highlighting the family-owned business systems across the country.
3. Love with Flaws: Same-Sex Love to Overcome Struggles
The romantic Love with Flaws series portrays a love story between two gay characters. One of them is a bartender at a gay club who tries to convince his family about his sexuality, but he gets treated well after enlightening them about his true orientations. His family members convince him there’s nothing wrong with him, and he doesn’t have to be sorry for his gender preferences.
The second character, being bullied online, finds it difficult to start talking about this issue to his family. He starts to have a romance line with the bartender and get bits of help from his partner in his struggles, to tell the truth to his family.
Love with Flaws targets how gay individuals are treated by their family and the people around them to let everyone understand them better.
4. Life is Beautiful: Gay Acceptance in a Multi-Generational Family
Life is Beautiful is a family drama showing different attitudes and reactions towards same-sex children and how such families accept them. The series focuses on the problems of multi-generational families as well as the struggles of homosexuals in society. It displays the love of a gay couple sensitively with great attention to many details.
There’s neither a plot of revenge on anyone throughout the episodes nor special secrets a character holds from birth. The youngest child is a homosexual, and he’s afraid to let his family down by telling them about his gender preferences. He believes being an ideal individual to his family and society is against his orientations, but he goes on a journey of discovering himself as the story progresses.
5. Reply 1997: Gay Love at High School
The romance-comedy Reply 1997 drama describes the life of a shy boy who can’t tell his friends and family members about his sexuality and his crush on his close friend. He confesses his feelings throughout the storyline, and his peers start to accepts his real identity and support him.
The teenage years at high school are pictured very well in the series, especially when it comes to accepting homosexuality by teenagers at this age. The viewers love the character of the gay character as he acts cautiously to not go over his boundaries and make his friend angry by finding out about his gender preferences. The timeline moves professionally back and forth between 1997 and 2012. It shows what happened when they were schoolers and what’s going on at the moment.
The Bottom Line
The increasing modern demand in Korean dramas has turned these productions into media that addresses social issues and topics. With the increased titles appearing on international platforms such as Netflix, the Korean series is getting global attention more than before. The recent dramas have focused on sex minorities and provided their audiences with more scenes and episodes of same-sex characters. Hopefully, these exposures will change the biased behaviors towards LGBTQ people and help them have a more effortless experience interacting with other men and women.