The First Gay Wedding in Korea

The “first gay wedding in Korea” happened last Saturday, September 7th. It was held publicly in Cheonggyecheon, near Gwanghwamun. When the “invitation” was published on news portals a few weeks ago, I thought I would like to see the event but I had something more important to attend to last weekend.

The couple on their wedding...
The couple on their wedding…

The wedding drew attention especially because it is a union of two personalities involved in film making ~ Kim Seung Hwan and Kim Jo Gwang Soo, a Korean movie director. Even though the two Kims had a public wedding ceremony, their “marriage” is not legal as the country does not recognize same-sex marriage (yet). The case of Harisoo (a Korean talent) is quite different, though. Harisoo is a transsexual and the state legally recognizes her as a woman. She attended the said “first gay wedding in Korea” with her actor husband, Miki Jeong.
Harisoo with her husband attended the wedding... photo by Osen
Harisoo with her husband attended the wedding… photo by Osen

Kim Seung Hwan and Kim Jo Gwang Soo has a 19-year age difference. They met in 2004 and has kept their relationship for nine years.
Pre-wedding pictorial of the Kims
Pre-wedding pictorial of the Kims

The first gay wedding in Korea went as planned for two hours. There was only a little disruption with a few members of a Christian church protesting the said wedding. One man threw “doenjang” or soy bean paste at the choir. While homosexuality is still taboo in the country, Koreans I asked about this gay wedding (동성결혼 -dong-seong kyolhon – in Korean) just shrugged their shoulders. A few thought it was amusing, but nobody said anything hateful.
Anti-gay marriage protesters
Anti-gay marriage protesters

In my ten years living in Korea, I haven’t seen a lot of gay Koreans based on how we know gay people are in the Philippines. It’s probably because gays here are not into cross-dressing like we often see in the Philippines. I remember seeing a Korean man in the subway who was wearing a lot of accessories and I thought that he must be gay. I have a lot of gay friends in the Philippines and I truly miss having one here. They are just so much fun to be with. Oh well, I have Pinay ajumma friends who are so gay anyway ;p


  1. The more accurate terminology would be same-sex marriage. Gay men and lesbians are allowed and often do marry members of the opposite sex.

  2. Good for them 🙂
    I can’t help but root for love in these kinds of situations. After all, just a few decades ago I wouldn’t have been allowed to marry my Korean boyfriend in certain countries because we are of a different race.

    1. In your country? Oh that’s unexpected. My husband said that in Korea, there are some families that do not allow marriages with the same family names. So if a woman’s last name is “Park” for example, she can’t marry someone named “Park” even if they are not remotely related. They would need to ask permission from the elderly.

      1. No, I’m European and in my country interracial marriages basically didn’t exist few decades ago so it didn’t occur to anyone to outlaw them 🙂 But interracial marriages were illegal in the US, weren’t they?
        Yeah, my boyfriend also told me if they have same Chinese character for last name it was taboo to marry because they were considered related.

  3. Your observation about the reaction of most Koreans are quite insightful. I don’t know if you’d agree with me but I find their reaction to be indifferent. I was expecting outrage because I thought Koreans are traditional in terms of rigid roles of gender.

    1. I was expecting the same. I thought there would be outrage but nobody I know is really concerned about them. Priorities perhaps?

  4. Oh im so happy for them :))
    Love is Love anyways and for people who hate Homosexuality no one chose to be Homosexuals they are born that way and since when did you choose to be a Heterosexual? Hahaha
    Anyways a lot of people still doesn’t know the difference between Gay and Transsexual people
    Gays are just like your normal boyfriend or brother etc Tbh. Because i met a lot of gays and they’re not the sissy ones and don’t wear girl’s clothes like in the Philippines. Actually what i see in the Philippines are actually not gay people they are transsexuals.
    Well Transsexuals are those people who want to be the opposite sex and and love there same sex.
    Gays are just guys who are satisfied being guys and love the same sex :/
    Anyways another congratulations to them ^^

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