South Korea’s first openly gay K-pop star Holland pleads with fans: ‘Please admit that I’m gay’

K-pop star Holland

K-pop idol Holland has pleaded with his fans to “please admit” that he is gay, after ranking 10th in a fan survey of the “gayest” K-pop stars.

Holland, who has been open about his sexuality from the beginning of his career, made released his debut track Neverland as the “first gay K-pop idol” in 2018.

But on Monday (30 November), Holland begged his fans to “please admit that I’m gay” after a Twitter user ranked him 10th in a list of “gayest K-pop idols”.

Holland, real name Go Tae-seob, also shared the tweet alongside a photo of him kissing a man on Instagram, and forlornly wrote: “I’m in 10th. I lost.”


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A post shared by HOLLAND (@holland_vvv)

Luckily his fans were quick to console him.

One wrote: “This was rigged. I suspect fraudulent votes!”

“No honey, you are first in our eyes,” said another.

A Twitter user responded: “Don’t be sad because of some stupid polls. We all know the truth and love our king so, so, so much.” 

Holland is one of very few openly LGBT+ celebrities in South Korea.

Although same-sex relations are not generally criminalised – and there are some limited discrimination protections – societal acceptance of queer people remains low and gay men are frequently persecuted.

Many LGBT+ people keep their sexuality under wraps, with only 10 percent of citizens saying they know any queer Koreans.

Same-sex marriage is not legal, and there is a ban on same-sex relations in the military, despite conscription being mandatory for all cis men. Trans people are also banned from serving.

Holland’s insistence on being open about his sexuality from the offset earned pushback from his record label, whom he separated from in order to release music the he wanted to make.

His first music video, which featured a same-sex kiss, was rated 19+ by regulators, meaning it wasn’t shown on national or cable TV.