I like working the night shift at the library because it’s quiet, but the thing is, I always do my homework beforehand, because I know I am terrible at concentrating at night. So oftentimes, I’m bored, and that one day–yes, that day was April 7th–I stumbled across a huge thread on 6theory, the companion forum to Allkpop. This thread was dedicated to surmising who may or may not be gay in the kpop industry, and it had me laughing in tears. Fangirl logic really is the best.
I will list the people most named by the forum members, and what people have said about them: various well-said logics and/or so-funny-I-could-die comments, peppered in with some of my own comments in grey italics. At the very, very end, I will tell you what I think in general. As for specifics on Key of SHINee, read the previous post.
warnings: (1) Unless the grammar / spelling was egregious, I preserved the original form of the comments. (2) This post is rather image-heavy, so be patient while the page is loading if you have a slow computer/connection.
Overall, the most popular ‘possible’ homosexuals were YunJae (Yunho, Jaejoong), JongKey (Jonghyun, Key), JoKwon, and Heechul.
First things first. I don’t believe homosexuality is a lifestyle choice; it’s something that is encoded in your genome. You don’t just wake up one day, after living with five guys in a dorm for five years, and develop general feelings for men. I also believe in the Kinsey scale; no one is completely homosexual or straight– everyone is bicurious to a degree. The statistic that one in ten people are gay is completely bogus– that’s counting people who have had homosexual once-in-a-lifetime encounters. It’s closer to 1 in 100, or even less. I don’t think one or two experiences with the same-sex automatically signs you up batting for one team only.
I also don’t believe in gaydar. There have been studies that show that homosexuals have better visual perception (i.e. they can theoretically spot fellow homosexuals better than heterosexuals), but to that, I’m a little skeptical. The most recent study on had 42 people, and so I’m sure that the control for age was not sufficient. Homosexuals have to have sharper perception skills in the first place because there are comparatively less homosexuals in the population– less possible mates. Spotting possible partners could be a skill that matures and gets better with practice and time– ‘gaydar’ may not be as innate as some people claim. So, when trolling around online forums and seeing people claim they have gaydar, and yes, they are, in fact, gay as well, be skeptical, however confident they seem.
So then, what do I think about these speculations? There are four things that everyone should keep in mind:
(1) ubiquitous homosexual shipping in fandoms: Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, things that Caucasian people traditionally like, have rabid slash shippers. Fandom shipping exists everywhere. So shipping in arena where there are pretty boys and girls galore isn’t exactly the most surprising thing to happen, whether there’s ‘evidence’ or not (cough Harry/Draco). I watched a few YunJae videos, and for more than 80% of the videos, I wasn’t very impressed; it just looks like the status quo of the kpop world. The lesson is that a lot of people tend to exaggerate about the moments so-and-so idol have, so be careful when reading fan accounts and opinions.
(2) fan service / idol life: entertainment companies aren’t stupid. They know their demographic are young girls who swoon at Hanchul (Hangeng & Heechul) skinship, too much bromance, and a lot of sweet manliness (yes, I have fallen into the Lee Minho boat too). So they’ve built up this ridiculous sort of fan service where idols are regularly asked who their ideal types are, etc., etc., and so much attention is placed on their sexuality. Five to thirteen males living in one dorm together, eating, sleeping, dancing together? All sorts of questionable situations will inevitably bring themselves up, whether the group members are homosexual or not.
(3) Asian v. Western perception: a vast majority of the comments written are from a Western perspective. I don’t want to sound snobby and say that, “Well, I’m Asian..” but that’s the only card I can really play here. I’m Asian, and as you become inundated in the culture, you find that it’s socially acceptable and even encouraged for an Asian man to embody what Westerners consider “feminine” traits, especially young men and boys. I really don’t become fazed by what people consider to be proof of ‘Yunjae love’.
(4) social climate: this seems like in total contradiction to what I typed earlier, but through cultural socialization, people who are homosexuals can turn out to be quite ‘straight’ because they’re brought up in an environment that doesn’t consider homosexuality as a valid way of life. Certainly, in South Korea, this is still the case, even in America. Humans are made up of a mix of nurture and nature, and for some people, nurture can prove far stronger than nature. However, I must emphasize that this is only my personal opinion. Comprehensive scientific studies on homosexuality have been few and far between, so it’s little more than speculation at this point.
In the end, I advise everyone to take these homosexuality rumors with a grain of salt. Granted, statistically, one or two of them will turn out to be gay, but it’s not always those you expect (like former New Jersey governor James McGreevey! I’m pretty sure no one’s gaydar was going off for him, initially). Also, I’m a bit skeptical in labelling people’s sexuality; sexuality is a fluid thing.
Make your own judgments, because I won’t be making any.
Listen to the audio companion, if you’re interested; basically reiterating what I’ve said before, in more or less detail.
You can watch the video where Jaejoong apparently wants to bang the interviewer lady here.