[kpop] so is Key gay?

I ended the previous post with a rather epic-sounding, “Make your own judgments, because I won’t be making any.” But someone will inevitably ask me if I think Key is gay, anyway.

I think such analysis is futile because his sexuality has no bearing on my opinions, my feelings at all. It would not really affect how I see him or SHINee as a whole. So the bottom line is, I don’t care. But still, someone will ask me my opinion, anyway.

Before you read on, please read my previous post on gay peoples in kpop– especially the part about Key, and my thoughts at the end. They outline my general feelings towards homosexuality and its presence in kpop, and will help you to further understand where I’m coming from when I’m talking about Key.

After the jump, I will outline what I think about Key’s sexuality, and if you aren’t prepared to hear such things, please don’t read on. Remember that this is my feelings only, and I do not claim to be the absolute authority on it. Think of it as a discussion, and I am just putting my 0.00001 cents out there. Are you ready?

edited by yours truly, the innocent lam. I needed an excuse to use the Rilakkuma font..

I think Key straddles the fence. He’s the most traditional one out of all the SHINee members, most readily talking about his family– especially his grandmother. He’s the first one to talk about marriage, the first one to talk about having a family. He’s a very filial son, very devoted to a traditional model, which does not include homosexuality. For some people, culture and conformity can be stronger than personal desire; in this context, this is not a bad thing, it’s just simply a truth. Different people find happiness in different things. For some, it may be romantic love, for others, familial love, or even material lust. There are so many people with indifferent romantic lives, but have fulfilling family lives. It’s child’s naïveté to think that having a life partner is the single-most rewarding aspect of life. With Key’s strong gravitation towards traditional values, the allure of an atomic family could be even greater than having the perfect life partner. Whenever I think about all of the ‘questionable’ things Key does, I always think back to his traditional outlook. Tradition and culture are extremely, extremely strong influences.

Key is always lovingly referred to as a diva, which irritates me to no end. I doubt Key is actually referred to as a diva by Korean fans; it’s more of a Western invention, that connotes of homosexuality. In his early debut days, Key never really characterized as a diva (watch Flower Boys’ Generation); it’s hard to tell if his current personality is gradual morphing of his stage persona or the shining through of his true personality, because after all, shows are nearly always scripted. Even watching Hello Baby, I never got the impression that Key was particularly sassy a la diva, just rather blunt.

On variety shows, Key usually showcases his ability to perform girl group dances. I actually think it’s very smart from a marketing standpoint, because few male idols do girl dances, and Key is almost always performing alone and to great amusement of the audience. Moreover, SHINee was and is still marketed as the cute boys’ next door, so it was not a big stretch for Key to dance girl groups. Shindong from Super Junior regularly does girl group dances as well, and he’s actually engaged to a woman; the image of SHINee and Key’s  ability to perform girl group dances mesh, unfortunately contributing to a Western outlook that he is, in fact, a diva.

Key is also attentive towards fashion, but that doesn’t mean anything. Many great names in fashion are straight: Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Roberto Cavalli, Tommy Hilfiger, Max Azria, Elie Saab, Oscar De La Renta, Christian Lacroix. Gays and fashion are just meaningless stereotypes that nobody should pander to.

However, the one thing that does turn me over the edge towards homosexuality is JongKey interaction, and how it fits them so easily. Sometimes it seems like they could be a couple, or people that have been together for a very, very long time. I am not going to enumerate examples, you should just see it for yourself. It’s worth noting that Key never has the same level of chemistry with other non-SHINee members; nonetheless, that could be simply because a lot of it is off-screen. Sometimes I think that Key and Jonghyun would have tried, if they were not raised in South Korea– culture and tradition come full circle here.

Key straddles the fence, but for me, I think the overall outcome is clear. If he is of the homosexual persuasion, Key will never be open about it, and may go even as far as to marrying and having a family despite his sexual preferences. He’ll have a happy life as a husband and father with his wife and children. If Key is predominantly heterosexual, he’ll marry and have children, and be a happy husband and father.

Speaking of which, there is a rumor going around that he is dating 4minute’s Gayoon. I’m rooting for you, Key, whatever you want. I am sure you are capable of making the better decision.


this is the video from whence I giffed.

want to actually hear me talk about this? Listen to the audio companion; I may not talk about all the points outlined in this post, and I may talk about some things beyond and elaborate. More or less.


71 thoughts on “[kpop] so is Key gay?

  1. interestingly, a friend told me that “jongkey” fits easily because a) they knew each other the longest/roommates predebut and b) they’re the closest “straight” couple in shinee (hence why, 2min aside, key-couples are most popular cause hes the most feminine).
    going off that, it seems more like oblivious fangirls dont view key as “gay” so much as they view him as a replacement girl cause its “better” to have the members screw each other as opposed to a real girl. quote one of your formspring answers: “keep it in the family” xD
    and good point about his morphed “diva-ness”. i found that kind of interesting and i think its more like adopting a separate stage personality so that you can do your job better (actors do this so that they dont become TOO emotionally attached to their characters, especially if its a depressing one *coffLeslieCheungcoff*)
    uh… i think many people will have a hard time imagining key with a wife and fathering kids no matter how realistic its actually going to be… xD
    great massive return btw ^^ *goestoreadothernewposts*

    • hahahaha. well, I don’t agree fully with Key being a girl, but I think that explanation makes a lot of sense! Yeeep, for some people I feel their family vibe and sometimes I tell them I can imagine them happily married and I’d like to see their children someday and they’re always thinking, “Shuddup!” XD But Key as he is now, nah.. he wouldn’t be a good father/husband. Maybe 10 years down the road.


      • so i dont get it are you sayin you think he is gay or not because i acually went to ask.com and asked if any of shinee’s members were gay.because i dont wanna have feelings for someone that like their own gender not saying i dont like gay people i just rather like gay people as friends.I NEED AN ANSWER TO IF ALL OF THEM ARE GAY OR NOT.pwease im owey 11.:(

    • I agree that it is difficult to tell Key’s sexuality, and to me it wouldn’t really matter either; I would love him the same.
      As to the JongKey controversy, I wouldn’t call them a couple, something more like brothers I would say; really close friends. People in america tend to make these homosexual assumptions toward many kpop stars just because the two cultures are different. I know that korean culture is quite different than american, and the boys were not only raised differently but act differently, in a way that could be thought of in america as “gay”. Everyone seems to have a different definition for a homosexual, but I know personally some Korean guys that have been considered gay but are actually straight as a board.
      Korean culture, fashion (and personality towards the same sex specifically with guys) seem to come into play differently than in american culture. In america it seems every man has to be extremely masculine and have that “tough-guy” sort of persona (but I personally prefer sensitive guys, “tough-guys” or men who try to hard always seem to be, well, douche bags.) This shows the culture differences and why americans might make such assumptions about a korean man being gay (not saying I support or think these assumptions are acceptable though.)
      ANYWAY, Jongkey seems more to me as a very close bromance, NOT a homosexual relationship. I do believe they love each other and care for each other a lot, but I do not think whatsoever that they are in love on a boyfriend sort of level. Their “bromance” you can call sort of reminds me of how I act with my girl friends. We are very touchy (not in a sexual way) but with hugs, pats on the shoulder, slapping each other, etc. the same sort of things Jonghyun and Key show with each other. We call each other honey and say I love you quite often, but we are all very interested in men and would never date each other. It’s just how we act. If girls can act the way JongKey do with each other and aren’t called lesbians, than Jonghyun and Key called gay? That’s just a question I have. It’s sort of sexist to allow girls to be this way with one another without calling them lesbian, but as soon as a guy does it, they are considered gay.
      I sort of think that this idea of Key being homosexual may have been brought up mostly from americans rather than koreans, mainly because of the american’s ignorance and lack of knowledge on korean culture, and the opinions they may already have against gay men, or how they think gay men appear. You must think and learn your facts before assuming =.=
      I’ll love and support my Key oppa forever and always :3, but until there is any legit information that Key is indeed gay, I will remain believing that he is straight (although as I stated before, his sexuality doesn’t matter to me).
      (*≧▽≦) This is just my opinion. I apologize for my hopping from one topic to the next so often. I also apologize if it gets confusing at times~ >,<

      • I do agree with it being a brother relationship. I tend to see men in Korea know their sexual preference and are not afraid to show love to other men but, because we are in a country were showing such affection makes you gay I do see were people think he is gay.
        I also agree culture comes into play. Any Asian culture..well basically any culture being gay is forbidden or looked down upon. If im not mistaken he is the only son his mother had so that has a huge impact on him whither he is gay or not he will more likely to choose a family over love.
        Now with that said my opinion he is gay. Now I understand Korean men tend to be “close” but key and Woohyun *infinite* have a rather close relationship. They are very touchy with each other. Even their own members say they are way too close. During an interview, i do not remember what member in shinee, said that key was smiling at his phone like he was talking to a girl he liked and it was Woohyun…So I do like to think something is going on but the likely hood of him coming out is 0. But im hoping key is happy no matter who he wants to love <3
        FIGHTING!!!! ~~~~~~

      • I get so annoyed with self righteous people such as yourself looking down on “westerners”.

        This may shock you, but not all Americans live under a rock and plenty of us can understand and have experienced different cultures. I hope you know that you’re getting upset at us westerners for applying stereotypes to Key when you just put a stereotype on all Americans not being able to even possibly comprehend the differences between America and Korea.

        I thought it was obvious but I guess not: Gay men and lesbians do not act the same. So while your friends and yourself are very affectionate to eachother, this isn’t how lesbians typically act unless in a very very tolerant area. Homosexuality is rarely fully accepted anywhere, and for lesbians it’s even less accepted. Therefore, if you’re lesbians, you’re not gonna be all over each other in public. It would draw unwanted attention. I know this because of personal experience.

        So if someone like Key shows deep affection for another dude, many people are gonna assume he’s gay. It’s more to do with him being in the spotlight and so should be aware of fuelling rumours or shipping, less to do with male relationships.

        Plenty of guys are affectionate with eachother and not gay. Those are more bromances though. Evidently, plenty of people don’t think Key is in a bromance.

        You obviously know little of how it is in America. Every man has to be a “tough guy”? Or he’s gay.
        What a naïve statement. If anything “tough guys” are questioned more about their sexuality.

        I have no judgement against homosexuals (I myself being bisexual, pansexual if you wanna really compartmentalise and the majority of friends/family being lesbian or gay).
        America likes to categorise things. That’s why people are interested. They wanna know what box Key falls in for sexuality.

        Personally, I think Key can’t be less than bi. I can’t think of him as only liking girls but I don’t think he’s strictly dickly.

        My brothers gaydar has never been wrong before and he says Key’s gay. So I don’t think he’s straight. I trust a gay mans opinion more. Whether he’ll come out as bi or not is a totally different issue.

        Don’t judge a whole country. It makes you seem foolish.

      • “I’ll love and support my Key oppa forever and always :3, but until there is any legit information that Key is indeed gay, I will remain believing that he is straight (although as I stated before, his sexuality doesn’t matter to me).”

        You might want to check out this post, it has more recent information: http://forums.allkpop.com/threads/who-do-you-think-is-gay-lesbian-or-bisexual-in-kpop.784/page-454#post-4397845

        There’s alot of good points, and it’s very convincing.

  2. listened to your audio. personally i liked your analysis-sounding comments better than your stumbling rambles. the disclaimer was a little too long and had to reload a couple times when i tried to pause. and the part about what you would *not* expect key to do couldve been in the main post too.

    • lol. I tend to ramble because I can never think of the right word at the right time when speaking. I have the hazy idea, but the words T___T like to stew around. hmm I think for maybe every analysis post I do, I write about 40% of what’s stewing in my mind, because there’s simply no good coherent way to put it all together and no way I am diligent enough to write it all down =____= so if I had to write this again, it could probably be very different..


  3. “But someone will inevitably ask me if I think Key is gay, anyway.” Hm… I wonder who? ;)

    So I read your post and now I’m listening to your audio while writing this comment. I love how you’re pushing people not to listen to you if they think they’ll be offended, you’re so considerate! (or you’re trying to avoid attack from in-denial Key fangirls…)

    I have to say that a lot of the things you’ve mentioned have been swimming around in my head. As a huge Key fanboy, the whole “is he gay?” question constantly comes up. I agree that at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter because his sexuality doesn’t affect SHINee’s music or their performances, but, it’s fun to ponder (at least to me).

    I myself have called Key a “diva” – mainly because that’s how he’s appeared on variety shows, the attitude he exudes while dancing, etc. I don’t actually think of him as a “diva” as in the Western connotation, I use the term more as an affectionate nickname.

    You bring up a good point that it’s hard to discern whether “his current personality is gradual morphing of his stage persona or the shining through of his true personality, because after all, shows are nearly always scripted.” It saddens me a little that I’ll never really know the “true” Key, but I guess that’s just how it is with K-Pop and celebrities in general. This is stretching it a bit, but wouldn’t it be weird if all the K-Pop idols had completely different personalities than the ones their fans had conjured for them?

    I also agree about Key’s traditions and culture. Though I am slightly concerned about your assumption that Key will have “a happy life as a husband and father with his wife and children” even if he is gay. I could never imagine repressing my sexuality to the point of marrying a woman and producing offspring with her (okay, that sounds gross, but you get the point). I think it’s depressing that because of Key’s culture he’ll have to hide who he is, even if he does end up happy with a wife and kids. Despite his strong attraction to an atomic family, I think there will always be a part of him thinking “would I have been happier if I had a relationship with a guy instead…?”

    So, once again, thank you for these two amazing posts (that I’ve spent about an hour reading and commenting on… 100% worth it). Now when someone asks me about my opinion on Key’s sexuality I can share with them what you’ve written. Keep up the great work! :D

    PS: Don’t worry about “rambling”, I can tell you’re just getting your thoughts out there. Great idea to include an audio companion, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to you talk about Key and his sexuality… I’ll have to come back to this post whenever my fanboy feelings are wavering.

    • O(≧∇≦)O ahaha I’m so happy that you read & commented so extensively!

      I do sound callous about repression of sexuality.. thank you for pointing it out, and I totally agree.. it IS something to be concerned about; especially when I’m like, “I support you Key! Whatever you do!” hmm I tend to think about these things like a priest choosing celibacy, but I now realize that most human beings can’t really throw around their sexuality in such a manner TT^TT I am super-logical (not that it means I am more intelligent than anyone OTL but I listen more to logic than feelings), and if I had to face homosexuality v. traditional family, I would probably sit down and make a list of pros and cons (eh no joke), and if it ended up on the side of the family.. I would probably bottle up all my lesbian leanings and go with it. I may have regrets, but hey! woot woot.. I take responsibility for my decisions.. but!!!! Everyone is not me, thank goodness… (^__^)b

      I will probably revise my opinion as Key matures.. this is the opinion I have of him now, definitely subject to change.. e.g. in US, the LGBT movement has gained a lot of traction this past decade (who knows about Korea?), and during the late period of Key’s idol life, he’ll probably open up more about his dating experiences ! exciting~~

      yes, I was rather paranoid that someone would be like, “You! Slander!” because there are a lot of homophobic people out there, and even though most fangirls aren’t homophobic, when a SHINee admin on Twitter shared the rumor about Key dating Gayoon, a lot of fangirls started to attack her :( I usually don’t personally tweet much on my public account, but that day, I sent lots of encouragement to that admin, no one should have to go through that.. and it was not even her personal opinion.

      phew! I’m glad I got those two posts out! I never want to read 147 pages of that again (cough 80% inanity).. the next frontier would be stalking gay naver sites. mebbe next year T___T must recover. ^^;


      • Yeah, when you combine two of my biggest interests (gay culture and K-Pop, specifically Key) with your awesome blogging skills, I’m bound to get a bit excited. (:

        I see what you mean regarding your logical personality, if I remember correctly you are an INTJ after all. There are people who have ignored their sexual preference to start a family, but sometimes that leads to divorce or other sticky issues… which I wouldn’t want anyone to deal with, much less Key. Though I’m sure there are people who are capable of keeping their sexuality a secret, and who knows, Key could be one of them.

        From what I’ve heard from my Korean friends, Korea seems to be very harsh when it comes to homosexuality. Unfortunately. I’d rather have Key remain in the closet (if he’s even gay) than come out and have his career ruined, his reputation tarnished, etc. Like you said hopefully in the future he’ll be able to open up.

        Either way I feel like what you’ve stated isn’t condemning or condoning Key, you sort of “straddle the fence” when it comes to whether you believe he’s actually gay or not. Which I think is cool. So if someone were to accuse you of anything negative it’s probably just out of jealousy. (:

        You should feel proud for putting in so much hard work, that thread started to get redundant after I read five pages. Despite being a Jongkey shipper I’m not sure I would’ve survived 147… -_-

      • your commenting made me look up some economist jokes.

        A mathematician, an accountant and an economist apply for the same job.

        The interviewer calls in the mathematician and asks “What do two plus two equal?” The mathematician replies “Four.” The interviewer asks “Four, exactly?” The mathematician looks at the interviewer incredulously and says “Yes, four, exactly.”

        Then the interviewer calls in the accountant and asks the same question “What do two plus two equal?” The accountant says “On average, four – give or take ten percent, but on average, four.”

        Then the interviewer calls in the economist and poses the same question “What do two plus two equal?” The economist gets up, locks the door, closes the shade, sits down next to the interviewer and says “What do you want it to equal?”

        An economist is someone who doesn’t know what he’s talking about – and make you feel it’s your fault.

        Economics is the only field in which two people can share a Nobel Prize for saying opposing things.

        The First Law of Economists: For every economist, there exists an equal and opposite economist.
        The Second Law of Economists: They’re both wrong.

        what I’m trying to say, is that I vacillate T___T and am horrible decision-maker.. I’m a perfect economist in the making! XD now I’m all wondering what 30yr old Key looks like ._.?

        :) Michelle

        • I wrote a post on the word “vacillate”… now you’re making me consider an English/Economics double major, even though I suck at math. But yes, be a super smart, tech-knowledgeable, bi(tri?)lingual money maker!

          He’ll still look fabulous. :D

  4. haha i loled.. i respect your opinion .. every individual has its own mind set. and i guess your not used to korean culture by default. but to tell you he’s not gay his just feminine.. his zodiac is Virgo one of the characteristics of Virgo is being a feminine. :> im a SHAWOL since “debut” and please dont judge them the way they act, their gestures and so on. :> i know who’s gay in kpop and who’s not.. i bet you’ll be shocked if you know who’s gay and who’s not.. :>

    • well, of course I would be shocked, but I would be even more shocked if you knew … for real .. T___T you say I’m not used to ‘Korean culture”.. being familiar with Korean culture means growing up in Korea or living in Korea for a prolonged period or having a Korean family, not just having Korean friends or watching/listening to Korean culture.. I’m sorry if I sound rude but I think that 99.9% of “he’s gay” or “she’s gay” speculation on kpop is by fans who don’t really know much and are not ‘Korean’ by culture, and I’m including myself in that. so! Please don’t say such things without proof and justification :(

      I am also a Shawol since their debut, so I don’t see how that claim is a justification for your opinion -___-” and also, I am not judging Key in the way that you are implying. I don’t think he’s gay because of his femininity, I think he could be gay because of his very natural and intimate interactions with JongKey.

      well, being a Virgo means absolutely nothing. There are plenty of Virgos who aren’t feminine! Astrology (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astrology#Scientific_criticism):

      “Contemporary scientists, such as Richard Dawkins, regard astrology as unscientific, and those such as Andrew Fraknoi of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific have labeled it a pseudoscience. In a lecture in 2001, Stephen Hawking stated “The reason most scientists don’t believe in astrology is because it is not consistent with our theories that have been tested by experiment.”

      The criticisms that have been raised against astrology by modern scientists are that it is conjectural and supplies no hypotheses, proves difficult to falsify, and resolves to describe natural events in terms of scientifically untestable supernatural causes. It has also been suggested that much of the continued faith in astrology could be psychologically explained as a matter of cognitive bias, although methodologies exist to remove cognitive biases in research studies.”

      ^^; thank you for reading and commenting, though! sorry for sounding bitchy, if I did ><"""

      • no its oka.. :> i grow up in korea.. :> and im currently living in philippines.. :> im half korea / filipino.. so by default.. i know how my “culture” :> well way back in korea my prof analysis in zodiacs are right since then i believe in astrology.. :> ahaha i know who and who’s not.. :3 my auntie in korea is in media :)) + im a part of official fanclubs in korea so technically i know .. hahaha, i always loled at international fans.. that why K fans hate international fans they are being judgmental the way they see the artist gestures and stuff, and yet they havent seen nor talk to them. REAL shawol or i should say Korean SHAWOL really know SHINee.. :> so your opinion is just an opinion..

        • to be fair, just because I live in America doesn’t mean I have seen or spoken to Brad Pitt. o.0 to be in an official fanclub is not exactly a herald to the celebrity’s personal life, either ._. tabloid/gossips are the same all over the world. International fans have a right to think what they want, and if Korean fans hate them over that, and think that simply by virtue of being Korean, they are the best and superior fans, that’s petty, and ironically, even more judgmental than overseas fans T.T

          also I just want to point out to the general stalkers who are reading this thread, no one knows you’re a dog on the internet OTL

        • a lot of international fans look at korean fans in 1 of 2 ways:
          1) dedicated or
          2) crazy
          it’s interesting to hear about what korean fans think of us.

          although, i do have to say, i don’t know how it is in Korea, but being in a fan club doesn’t mean you know everything about them.

          Also, I am a Shawol. No matter where you are from if you love SHINee and will support them in ANYTHING you are a Shawol. I kind of resent that you think that only Koreans can be “real” Shawols, when there’s a whole WORLD of Shawols (like me!) outside of Korea.

          Also,YOUR opinion is also JUST AN OPINION.

          i have talked to my friend who is Korean (living here in the US) about this and she said that Key may or may not be gay, but, like michelle said, he would NEVER admit it.

          • agree so badly! Being a fan transcends what ethnicity and what nationality you are. ^^ Glad to know you agree with me!

            See you around!

  5. 니가 지금 무슨 소릴 하는지 너는 몰라. 그러니까 입 다물어. 웃기지도 않는 너랑 니 그 애송이. 너는 전혀 아무 것도 몰라.

    PS: im just fluent in english :>

  6. Oh my goodness! Calvin Klein is definitely gay! He has a CUTE younger boyfriend, Nick Gruber. “In my planet, fashion, I’m the only straight man.” -Roberto Cavalli xD

    As for the whole Key being gay thing, why does it matter? He may, he may not. Korean culture, American culture, Spanish culture, etc, all have different views on lifestyle. What we see as signs of homosexuality is just normal lifestyle in another. Also, whatever society sees as right can influence a person’s decision in terms of preference for the gender of a partner. Even if an individual feels that they may be gay, if their environment tells them it is wrong, they could suppress those feelings and do what society tells them.

    And why does Key, or anybody, have to be considered gay or straight? Love is love and whatever the gender may be doesn’t matter. But whoever he chooses his partner to be, I would definitely support him 100%!

    • good point. I actually wrote a reblurb of that at the end.. whatever Key does, of course I’ll support him.. or rather, be indifferent..

      Nonetheless, it’s human nature to speculate.. just as long as we don’t attach negativity to it and are respectful, I think it’s all right to speculate. Idols, after all, put themselves out there, and this image they cannot prevent from being scrutinized by the very people they put it out for..

      thank you for commenting! and reading.


  7. Pingback: SHINee performance review, SMTown NYC 2011 « the innocent lam

  8. I don’t care if any Kpop idols are gay, as long as they entertain me I’m good, it’s not like I’m planning to date a Kpop idol anytime soon. (interesting article by the way) :P

    I don’t get why people say they can “tell he’s gay because he acts feminine and dances girl group dances” a guy doesn’t have to be homosexual to act camp lol

    But this blog post kinda made be sad …. that if Key was homosexual he’d feel the need to hide it for the rest of his life and marry a woman just so that he could keep his family …. even if he is the kind of person to whom family is very important it’s sad that he can’t have both his family and a partner that he would love, whatever their gender is. I hope South Korea becomes much more open to homosexuals in the future (I have a friend from Korea and his views on homosexuality aren’t positive at all ….).

    “Sometimes I think that Key and Jonghyun would have tried, if they were not raised in South Korea– culture and tradition come full circle here.” —- for some reason that made my heart hurt (I’ll admit I’m definitely a shipper of JongKey and I’ve been subscribed to JongKeyTV for quite a while on youtube). Even though I don’t now if that’s true, it’d be heartbreaking if those two guys were actually in love but never followed through with it because of fears of how the people in their society would react. :'(

    • I think it’s a classic case “the sad truth is that the truth is sad”. I likewise agree, it does break my heart that they fear being together if they are indeed harboring feelings.. I hope the youth of Korea can start to more freely recognize homosexuality, but sometimes when I look at the position of Korea economically and politically (recession, consumerist culture still developing, North Korea), gay rights may not be on the national agenda in time for JongKey’s relationship :(

      thank you for commenting ^^~~

  9. I don’t think Key is homo, as a matter of fact, i think he was just playin around, You know how people are, but if he were, i think he’d look really cute with Jonghyun, but he’s not. I also think that they are both really cute. And so is Taemin

  10. SHINee sticks out to me as one of the weirdest idol groups — and I mean that endearingly. I can’t think of another group that is so backwards in its roles (Onew really doesn’t lead; 2nd maknae Minho is more of a senior than a dongseang, etc.). It’s hard for me not to consider Key gay because every time I talk myself out of it, I see something else that brings me back to my original gut feeling. Not that it’s a problem–I strangely, as a woman, find it very sexy that there would be a JongKey or an OnKey romance going on. I don’t really understand why so many female fans find this erotic; it’s the source of many a fanfic!!! But, I am one of them, so I’m clueless as to why this happens. My favorite ship is 2Min though–I can’t believe the way Minho looks at Taemin is anything (and vice versa) other than territorial and sexual (it goes way past the closeness I’ve seen in other idol groups); what I find so interesting is that you can very, very easily ship any of the five with each other (I can’t think of another idol group that’s like this!), even though you have more effeminate members (Key, Taemin) and more masculine members (Onew, Minho, Jjonghyun). I wonder if, being so young and “inexperience” (couldn’t date for so long) that they have all been on an experimental level with each other; I mean, they are some of the prettiest boys around and they all lived together. Seems like a major temptation to me. I do agree with what you said about fans preferring to imagine them together than sleeping with a female–it’s like you don’t really have to share them, because they’re still together as SHINee. :) So, this was my two cents, or five cents, or three dollars, since it’s so long. In short, I don’t mind the ambiguous sexuality (they may still be trying to figure it out for themselves before they’re forced to comply to that traditional Korean precept); whatever makes our shiny SHINee happy is good enough for this SHawOL. <3

    • Hello there! I apologize for taking so long to reply. (: But yup, I agree with what you have said.. I just don’t want to imagine the sexual experimentation, I’m sure they date quite a lot despite their squeaky clean images. SHINee individually aren’t very compelling, but somehow, they make lots of magic together (:

      thanks for stopping by!

  11. I’m so bored so I watched some videos of SHINee in youtube and read some comments in Key’s sexuality. I decided to google “SHINee Key gay,” and I found your article. lol I know I’m late but I still want to share my thoughts about him.
    He reminds me of my gay friend. The way they scream(for me it’s so gay lol), their bluntness, the way they speak, so similar. I was thinking he’s probably having identity crisis. My friend denied for so many years he’s gay,`then just last year he’s finally realized he’s a gay and has a crush with our guy classmate. I know they’re different person and that’s not enough to prove his sexuality, but idk, Key really reminds me of my friend that’s why I won’t be surprise if he’s gay or bi.
    With their recent interviews, maybe we’re just wrong. He said he wanted to date and asked questions about girls liking him. Just like what you said, Key being the most traditional probably affects the way he acts.

    I just notice that there are no homosexuals in K-entertainment who are not hiding their identity. Even in gag shows, I haven’t seen a gay gagman. Are they not open regarding homosexuality? It’s very different in my country lol. Most of the comedians here are gay. Some actors and actresses were in the local tabloids and news reported dating with same sex.

    • Hong Suk-Chun is a openly gay actor. Just google what happened to him and you’ll see why most gay Korean entertainers aren’t open about their sexuality.

    • thanks for offering your own observations (:

      they are not open in Korea regarding homosexuality. In fact, it is very much a taboo subject, and it is not uncommon for Korean stars who have ‘gay rumors’ or are confirmed to be gay to commit suicide or get out of the show business. :(

      thank you for stopping by!

  12. Key isn’t gay to me…all K-pop people just act like that because they think it’s cool, i guess. Any way, Key rocks!

  13. Based on my guess, he could be gay. On Strong Heart, Dara was interested in Key (or Minho) and wanted se7en to introduce them to her (or sth like that). but was stopped by Se7en. In which, Se7en explain that Dara\’s choice is always either the guys are impolite, too feminine, etc. (If I\’m not wrong… \’too feminine\’ should be referring to Key… )

  14. I feel bad for him. It’s pretty obvious he’s gay, but the part where you stated that he’d go as far as marrying a girl and having a family killed me, that’s terrible.

    • You don’t have to feel too bad. Key is rumored to have a b/f now and appears to be very happy recently. :)

      The only thing we should feel bad about is him not being able to be open about it because a gay relationship is still not accepted in korea, and his b/f having to delete all his tweets about Key to not make people suspicious (but deleting it actually makes it more suspicious…)

  15. I think Key, Taemin and Minho are definitely gay. Probably Jong as well. That’s why I like Shinee. I wish Korea would get that homophobic stick out of its ass hole.

  16. Wait, did you say that Key is engaged to a girl? I don’t care if he’s gay or not, I’ll still love him for being himself and what he does.

  17. And I think he’s happily fucking guys and doesn’t give a damn about other people’s opinions, because he’s confident and reasonable enough to tell by himself what he likes and what he doesn’t and won’t let others talk shit into his life.

  18. They are bisexual, like all human beings. Taemin has the clearest picture of his future, married with children, possibly in 10 years. But I think homosexuality in Korea will be nothing special as the new generation grows up. It won’t be becauuse of activists or marches, but due to apathy. Young Koreans don’t think other peoples’ sexuality is any of their business. They’ll vote to support it because what other people choose is up to them.

    But I suspect that if you cornered any of the SHINee guys, they’d say that they could possibly fall in love with anyone since gender is not the most important factor.

    • to be the rain on your parade, people are more narrow-minded than you think. Sometimes I delude myself into thinking of the liberality of America, but hey, I go to a college in the Northeast.


  19. I see how old this post is but still feel compelled to comment, firstly to commend you on your blog and approach to these topics. It’s always nice to see a KPop fan who can enjoy the music but not turn the blinders on at unpopular opinions and examine things critically.

    I must say as a westerner it took a LONG time for me to grow accustomed to gender performance in KPop and understand that it may not have anything to do with sexual orientation. Even in the US, we no longer use those measures (at least not officially), but at this point it’s so ingrained it’s hard to shake that mindset. Thus, I feel a lot of people put a bit too much weight on Key’s personality/behavior being consistent with a women (stereo-typically speaking) as evidence of him being gay, which is… more or less what’s already been said, lol. Just wanted to say that I agree with a lot of perspectives here and am enjoying the discussion :)

    P.S: I’d never really seen those JonKey videos before (I’m a hardcore Onew fan) but they are making me a believer (and I think they’re quite adorbs).

    • Thank you very, very much for the kind comment! I don’t think my opinions are controversial, it’s just some fans can’t stand to have their precious couplings assumed otherwise. To them, I just say, get out of here! It’s not like you actually know them!

      I very much agree. I don’t think Key acting in a way that the West characterizes as ‘female’ necessarily makes him gay. There are lots of manly gays, just as there are many girly heteros. It’s a mixed bag.

      I hope to see you around! ^^

      • Michelle, when I read your comment, I thought that it was so true, I thought that one of my classmates was gay because of the way he acts and speaks and looks, plus girly attitude, and he is straight ;P

  20. Yes, Key is gay. He has boyfriend, One of top korean model. You know, Search on google ” Key model boyfriend “. And there’s 3 Photo, 1. Just two of them. 2 & 3 With woohyun from infinite

    • He deleted all the selcas of him and Key from twitter like a week ago.

      For a while I was excited, because they were being so upfront about their relationship. Calling eachother “honey” and stuff. I seriously thought Key was ready to come out or something! But maybe he’s not ready yet, and he asked his model b/f to delete all the pics and tweets of him.

      Whenever he’s ready, I’ll support him though!

      • Damn! I just read your previous comment about them and had to go look his tweets up. He totally deleted all of his many pics of Key. So suspicious! I’m sure he also got tons of tweets from fans calling his and Key’s relationship cute and stuff (like me… sorry). I have been on that particular bandwagon ever since I saw that he was tweeting about being with Key like… everyday. I mean come on now.

        I didn’t get to see all of his tweets translated, so I didn’t realize he was calling Key honey. Aww… If they’re dating, they’re still together because Key looks and acts very happy still. We all know he’s not that great at hiding his emotions.

  21. You bring up a lot of good points. But has anyone ever considered he’s a metrosexual, a straight man with taste? I’ve called him a diva but then I see nothing diva like about him he’s just being blunt. I see nothing gay about him because not all gays act like that. He always came off as metrosexual. Him being fashionable has nothing to do with sexuality. Plus Korean culture is different from American culture. If he is, he is that’s his business but I doubt it. Its all for their audiences. Its all scripted and edited. Men in Korea use cosmetics too and are interested in fashion while having a lot of skinship that would make outsiders look at it as gay but unconsciously Americans do as well.

  22. Greetings I am so grateful I found your blog, I really found you by mistake, while I was researching on Bing for something else, Anyways I am here now and would just like to say kudos for a tremendous post and a all round enjoyable blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to read it all at the moment but I have saved it and also included your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read a lot more, Please do keep up the awesome work.

  23. I won’t say Key is gay. More like feminine, believe it or not, being feminine in Korea is “normal”. I have Korean classmates who I’m asking about things. I asked her if they are gay since boys, especially K-pop boys are doing such couple thingy. She answered me, “No. It’s more like a brotherhood. There’s a lot of guy doing it in Korea. We really just have a different culture.” she don’t have a straight English but that’s what just like she said. *Sorry, I have a bad English too. I saw a bunch of male Korean in my school, they are whispering too close to each other but each of them have girlfriends. (I’m from Philippines, a lot of Korean are studying here).

    If you looked at Key’s pre-debut pictures or his 08’s SHINee’s video. He isn’t that feminine, unlike now, 2013. To be honest, SM is the one giving the concept. So, maybe they are saying to Key to be feminine over the top.Remember when SM said to Jaejoong, “Don’t talk, act shy” something like that. It’s SM concept to attract more fans or something.

    He’s a guy who acts a bit more feminine than the usual but that doesn’t mean he is a gay. In Japan, there are guys you called “Otomen” which mean straight guys but like feminine things. I know, Key is korean. But I think he is more like an Otomen than a gay.

  24. Key is gay guys even i thought he isn’t but i have gay friend. He has a gay model friend in London. My friend told me his friend has slept with Key in London. I saw his photo he is so good looking. So that’s it. There is no more doubt about it.

  25. Honestly, I don’t think he is gay, they all treat each others like stuffed animals or blankets lol. The issue is that the day when Shinee Key says I am dating this girl, or if any Shinee’s members say here is the love of my life, the fans will make sure to burn alive their girlfriends with hatred comments or do whatever they can to mess up with the lady … too many examples out there, I’m shocked … If only some fans could stop doing that, maybe those kids could have the chance to date, and avoid being called gay because they can’t date. Even when they do the idol championship, you can see how careful they are with the girls there, because of scandals issues. So segregated. Also, do you guys call lesbians any women who don’t date in SM? Then, all those girls are lesbians (a girl does a back hug to a girl, this is okay. A boy hugs another boy, this is gay…. Woooww, what world are we living in?

  26. it’s funny but the greater part of what you wrote is exactly what i think about this, especially the “if he actually is gay he may still get married, have a family and be happy with that”.
    the thing where i disagree is weirdly the reason you mention why you believe he is gay. seriously jongkey? seriously?
    everybody in SHINee and many other kpop-groups is very affectionate, touchy-feely and almost innocently lovey-dovey with each other. i see lots of this kind of “pairings” in SHINee.
    but key is serving so freaking many gay-clichés (which in themselves proof nothing of course) that it’s almost an “in your face” kind of thing. the guy has poodles, for christ’s sake. ^^

    BUT(!) you know what? key is one of a kind. he doesn’t need to be straight to be straight, you know what i mean? he can be and do whatever he wants and he will. and there isn’t even a closet.

  27. WHO CARES? Is his singing worse if he’s gay? Is he less intelligent if he’s straight? Does literally anything about his work change?
    Good lord, leave Key alone. How would you feel if people were constantly speculating about your sexuality, and basing their opinion of you off that? You cannot develop legitimate romantic feelings like that for a person you’ve never even met in person, anyway. That’s not how human psychology works.
    Are we not able to just appreciate him as an entertainer? His work to bring people happiness through music and other channels should be more than enough. He works so freaking hard, admire him for *that*, not his orientation or who he dates. He’s a professional entertainer but he’s also a person, not a zoo animal.

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