K-pop star Holland, who has been open about the fact that he's gay going all the way back to the beginning of his career, recently delighted his fans by revealing that he's currently in a relationship. Holland, whose real name is Go Tae-seob, released his first single Neverland in 2018 as South Korea's "first-ever openly gay K-pop idol." But besides his promising musical career, Holland is also set make his mark on the small screen with his acting debut in the forthcoming the BL drama Ocean Likes Me starring alongside the Korean actor, Han Gi-chan. from the hit Korean series Where Your Eyes Linger.
Premiering on 26 April, Ocean Likes Me is a romantic BL series based on themes of food and healing. It tells the tale of Han Ba Da (played by Han Gi-chan) a young entrepreneur who dreams of starting a udon restaurant by the beach but finds serving customers difficult. Ba Da then meets Tommy (played by Holland), a failed musician who returns to his hometown after wandering in the hopes of finding a new path in life. Together, the two souls unite and take steps towards fulfilling their dreams.
When asked about his relationship status during a livestream on March 24, Holland came clean that he does "have a boyfriend now," but kept specific details to a minimum.
“He’s very handsome and kind, tall,” Holland said of his mysterious boyfriend. While Holland didn't reveal his boyfriend's name or what he looks like,. he nevertheless did make it clear that his boyfriend is a "normal person," not a celebrity nor someone involved with the entertainment industry.
When asked by a fan how much he loves his boyfriend, Holland replied, "I wanna marry him." Afterward, he posted a brief clip from his livestream on all his social media accounts, announcing, "so.. I have a boyfriend." This revelation was met with many congratulations and well-wishes from his fans all across the world.
Holland is one of South Korea's very few out LGBT+ celebrities. While same-sex relationships are not illegal in South Korea, the LGBTQIA community still faces significant challenges in the East Asian nation. According to Equaldex, a knowledge base for LGBTQ+ rights, same-sex marriage remains illegal in South Korea and openly LGBT+ people are banned from serving in the military. At present, conversion therapy is still legal and same-sex couples are unable to adopt.
Nevertheless, in recent years a relevant number of Korean celebrities have come out as queer. TV host and chef Hong Seok Cheon was the first among them all who came out as gay in 2000, making him South Korea's first male celebrity to do so.
In an interview with Time magazine, he recalled that after he came out of the closet, religious groups gathered to protest in front of the TV studio where he worked, demanding that he be fired. The consequence, he said, was that "broadcasting companies wouldn’t work with me."
Trot singer Kwon Do Woon came out as gay in 2020, saying that he hoped to "continue representing the LGBTQ community" and thanking Hong for giving him the courage to be himself.
Likewise, K-pop singer Som Hein also came out as bi in 2019.
Rapper Aquinas unexpectedly did the same last year on Instagram.
Calling themselves the "first openly LGBT+" K-pop boy group, Lionesses made their debut last November with a single titled "Show Me Your Pride."
Singer-actor Harisu, who is perhaps the most famous of South Korea's trans celebrities, revealed last year that she has been the target of hate speech but added that in the end transphobic trolls have no power to hurt her.
She went on to say that she's "legally a woman so there’s nothing to be gained from telling me I’m not a woman," and that she can't be “shaken by a few words” on social media.
Holland and Han Gi-chan's upcoming BL drama Ocean Likes Me will exclusively be available for streaming all over Asia (except Japan, South Korea and Taiwan) on GagaOOLala, Asia's leading LGBTQ+ and BL streaming service, starting 26 April 2022.