I am a 30(1)-year old lesbian living in South Korea. I just consider myself ordinary. If you search for synonyms for "ordinary," "normal, typical, and plain" come up as results. Yes, I am a very typical and plain person, and have lived a normal life for 30 years. Yet, because I simply used that seven letter word, I no longer exist in the range of "ordinary" that most people have in mind.
But, let's think of it this way:
If our best friends, coworkers, teachers, students, daughters, mothers, or aunts came out of their respective closets saying they were actually lesbians, would we still stick to that range of "ordinary," or would we accept the truth and broaden it for them?
To be honest, I did not really hold a friendly stance toward lesbians until I admitted to myself that I was a lesbian. Until I recognized the truth about myself, the image I held of lesbians was pretty negative. There were so many reasons why: Korean society, friends, teachers, media. None of them had anything nice to say, and the subject was always approached gravely. Lesbians used to appear only in TV programs that dealt with current affairs and social issues (for example, PD Note, We Would Like to Know, and Current Affair Magazine 2580). Those titles always felt so heavy.
It is the same for gay men, I'm sure, but as of today there are at least some public figures like Suk-chun Hong, director Gwang-su Cho, and designer Jae-woong Kim who have officially come out of the closet. On top of that, because many gay men are active and influential in various fields of film, music, and art in Korean society, the image of gay men may carry less weight and seriousness than that of a lesbians.The atmosphere is not as light for lesbians.
As I mentioned earlier, if we think that those who are close to us may be lesbians, it may bring about a little change. I hope it can. Lesbians may not be close family members or friends to everybody, but they are to somebody. And I want to let people know that we are just as ordinary as anyone else.
That is why I want to try something for the sake of lesbians. It could be something so small that nobody will notice, but I want to reduce the weight of the word "lesbian." I certainly will do it. I will elucidate the image of lesbians that's been covered in darkness.
The word "lesbian" is neither heavy nor serious. It's really not like that at all.
Rather, it is just like this, "Hello, nice to meet you. My name is Gimusang. I am 30 years old, and I like Apple products, movies, books, and music. Oh, and I am a lesbian. It's really nice to meet you."
This post originally appeared on HuffPost Korea. It has been translated into English and edited for clarity.