Born and raised in Los Angeles, Korean-American Marshall Bang's dream of becoming a performer is about to come true. Set to debut in Korea, the aspiring singer's life is about to drastically change, and so are the lives of countless Koreans who will be looking up to him. 

Despite being known around the world for its pop culture and entertainment (amongst other things, of course), Korea is still a very conservative pace. Whether it's race or sexuality, Korea still has a long way to go in terms of being an all-inclusive and accepting society. It's understandable, of course, when you consider how homogenous and traditional the country is. Even in the usually progressive world of entertainment, being openly gay is not considered a smart move, especially for the talent, whose success is measured by how accepted and liked they are by the public. In 2000, Hong Seok Cheon, a television personality and former model, revealed that he was gay on a popular variety show. Initially, the producers edited out the footage from broadcast, but the exchange was leaked, and all hell broke loose. Hong was quickly let go from all of his gigs, lost sponsors, and was forced to deal with unprecedented public backlash. 

And 17 years later, a young man from L.A. is prepared to put it all out there as a Kpop star, prepared to become the first openly gay singer in the history of Kpop. This is a big deal on many levels. Even if Marshall Bang doesn't find commercial success, he still makes a statement. In a country where more people than we know are feeling oppressed, that they have to hide their sexuality for fear of being marginalized, an outspoken celebrity or public figure can really make all the difference. And if Marshall makes it big, then all the better. It's 2017, and about time for a gay Kpop star — it's actually about time for a gay everything.


With Dara


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