Their Love Is Not Different
Their Love Is Not Different
  • Reporter Lee Ji-Hwan
  • 승인 2022.05.02 22:59
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In 2016, I was a transferred freshman at my high school and my first friend said that he was gay during lunch. He told me that he was gay in such a casual manner that it took me by surprise. I was fourteen, naïve, and had never met a gay person who openly discussed their sexuality before. My first memory of encountering gay people was when I was in elementary school. I was walking in a park late in the evening with my parents, and a gay couple was kissing passionately on a bench. My mom, a very devout Christian, quickly took me by my hand and made me look away. She looked more disappointed than anything. Of course, this experience was not the only factor in shaping my perspective towards the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) community, but it did take a central role in making me think that their love was unnatural.
My high school friend substantially changed how I viewed the LGBTQ community. I met a few gay and lesbian friends and teachers during high school. Some gay people I met acted in a way that matched the stereotypical features: feminine, loud, and wearing stylish outfits. My friend was different. He was quiet, stayed alone most of the time, but was very fun to talk with. I once asked when he came to realize that he was not straight. He quietly replied that his sexuality was something he had been born with. Along with my friend, a musician called Frank Ocean helped me form a new perspective on the LGBTQ community. He uploaded a post on Tumblr in 2016 and below is a short excerpt:
4 summers ago, I met somebody. I was 19 years old. He was too. We spent that summer, and the summer after, together. Everyday almost. And on the days we were together, time would glide. Most of the day I’d see him, and his smile. I’d hear his conversation and his silence…until it was time to sleep. Sleep I would often share with him. By the time I realized I was in love, it was malignant. It was hopeless. There was no escaping, no negotiating with the feeling. No choice. It was my first love, it changed my life… I realized they were written in a language I did not yet speak. I realized too much, too quickly.
What I loved so much about this short post is the way he described how he felt being in love. The gradual change in his feelings and the final realization that he loved the man, was not different from my experiences of falling in love. Frank continues to share his thoughts and personal experiences in his album, Blonde, which he released shortly after the post. Its central theme is the duality in his identity. Although I could continue writing about the masterpiece, I would like to stop here by stating how Frank described his love in a way that was not very distinct from how I viewed it.
Last semester, I had a short conversation with my friends in the dormitory. I brought up LGBTQ rights during dinner and asked about their perspectives on this subject in a serious manner. There were different opinions but most replied that they would not like to have a homosexual person as their friend. One friend was closer to having a homophobic stance. I believe that they feel uncomfortable talking about this issue because they never had the chance to experience the indifference that LGBTQ people often face. They do not realize that LGBTQ people are, in essence, the same as everyone else because it is hard to find homosexual people who openly discuss their identity in Korea. That is why I wanted to share these stories. I hope it contributes to helping some readers realize that every love is beautiful in its own right, thus should be equally respected.