2016년 10월 07일 11시 19분
Throughout this thesis I have emphasized the dangers of placing the formation of sexual identities in South Korea both within the interpretive position of linear evolution toward Western modernity as well as within a conceptual framework that they are universal or even cross-comparable. This is, however, the unfortunate trend with the current South Korean gay movement in the country. Despite the running mantra of opposition (Butler, 1990; Gopinath, 1996; Holton, 1998; Goldie, 1999; Hoad, 2000) including myself, the general tendency is to believe that modernizing trajectories abroad should and are forming in like ways domestically. Though queer scholarship is a quickly growing field in South Korea, it remains one that does not always consider the domestic particularity of surrounding its own trajectories. This has led to a general disregard of several pertinent questions: Is a gei really a gay? Is a universal gay identity linked to modernity? How, if any, do these “gay” movements impact bisexual men in the country? With this in mind, this thesis set out to answer the following four questions:
1. How is bisexuality interpreted in South Korea in terms of sexual behavior and sexual identity?
2. In what ways do bisexual males differentiate themselves from other sexualities in the country?
3. What social factors have led to or deterred the development of bisexuality as a social identity in the country?
4. What influence, if any, does the existence of bisexuality have on queer-related studies and discrimination in the country?
As can be ascertained throughout the thesis, the development of articulations of sexual identities may linguistically rely heavily on adoption of similar Queer terminologies, however the factors that account for those identities are not universal. This nuance in meanings leads to problems of using Western methodologies to promote those identities. This is especially the case in which accepted umbrella ideologies such as human rights and nuanced identities such as ‘gay’ become issues that extend even transnationally, which could both pose a danger not only of South Korea’s domestic integrity, but also threatens to condense such identities into malformed, mismatched, and inappropriate ways.
The results of this interview-based study showed that while the U.S., which is a strong influence both in media and academia in the country, currently battles with deconstructing the hetero-homosexual dichotomy, South Korea is vigorously constructing it. In addition, while the dynamics of identity politics have taken root in South Korea, the queer combatants are still in negotiation in terms of how to define themselves and in what ways these definitions will adequately account for addressing the social factors they must deal with, such as fulfilling traditional patriarchal duties, avoiding risks, asserting sexual individualism, acting as agents of identity, and so on.
The existence of bisexuals fundamentally changes both the meaning of gei in Korea and also leads to a need to reassess how discrimination against queers in the country is being handled. In particular, the rise of the anti-homophobia agenda not only leads to added pressures on self-identified bisexualities but also further marginalizes their existence. In addition, bisexuality in South Korea is increasingly becoming tied to the hetero-homosexual paradigm—even though, as found via research in this thesis, bisexuality in South Korea is not necessarily intrinsically linked to either heterosexuality or homosexuality. Rather, bisexuality according to the study conducted here, is tied to relationship fulfillment and sexual intimacy, which differs from the case of heterosexuality and homosexuality in the country.