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5 things you need to know about K-pop's first openly gay star Holland

Holland has just been named the 2018 Dazed 100 winner, and it's a very happy Pride Month indeed

Ujjainee Roy @UjjaineeRoy 27 June 2018, 3:19 PM
How much do you really know about Holland?

How much do you really know about Holland? Image: Twitter

This Pride Month just keeps getting better — from a new Pride flag to Andrew Garfield's 'Let there be cake' speech, it has been a stellar June. And if you're a K-Pop-head, you are in for some good news.

Holland, the first openly gay K-Pop star has just been named the winner of 2018 Dazed 100 — a list featuring 100 of the most trailblazing young people from all over the world. Holland received 30,000 votes from his fans. He was followed by Stranger Things actor Sadie Sink, Russian model Sasha Trautvein, American musician Steve Lacy, and 14-year-old actor Storm Reid.

Holland started out his music career this year in January. The 22-year-old singer debuted with his single Neverland , which has acquired around 9.5 million views on YouTube. 

If you still don't know much about this K-Pop sensation, we have a handy guide for you.

All about representation

Holland is the first openly gay K-Pop star — he is the first artiste to address his queerness, especially through his music. South Korean music hasn't exactly been woke about the issue of LGBTQ inclusivity. In fact, very few celebrities have been open about their sexual orientation in South Korean showbiz industry, such as the entertainer Hong Seokcheon and the transgender singer Harisu.

Holland sought to challenge the situation with his very first single Neverland. The song featuring two men in love was one of its kind, and was very well-received, especially since homosexuality is kind of an untouched subject in the two-decade history of K-Pop.

Never say never

Neverland features a same-sex kiss which received a +19 age restriction upon its release. But the music video was viewed more than 700,000 times within 24 hours of its release. In fact, his fans started referring to January 21 (the day the single came out) as #HollandDebutDay. It was clear that K-Pop was ready for representation.

Holland speaks

Holland has said that while growing up, there was no role model from his country, who could inspire him. “Although at that time there wasn’t a single role model to look up to in Korea, I was very consoled by foreign celebrities. So I thought, ‘I want to be a famous person like them’... I’m working harder because I want to be a special person to my fans, too," he told Dazed.

Let's talk about skinship

In Korea, skinship refers to an expression of attraction or physical intimacy between people, especially in public, aka PDA. Holland was recently interviewed by London-based filmmaker Celine Hong when he opened up about his need for skinship as a youth growing up in Korea.

"South Korea is not that free in terms of skinship — not only between homosexual couples, but also between heterosexual couples. I've never seen it before. I've never done it before. It's one of the things I want. It's very trivial for someone to walk with a loved one without any attention, but I haven't been one of them," said Holland, revealing that his first love was someone from the first year of high school.

"My first love is a thankful existence to me," he added.

'I check every single comment'

Holland admits he is very alert about the kind of response he gets on social media, and knows how to keep the negativity out.

"I do check every single comment, but I mainly see good comments from my fans. Of course there are loads of malicious comments, too, but my personality doesn't care about that. I really appreciate it if they point out what I need to improve. But I don't care about those who abuse me without any reason," added Holland.

Read more:

The definitive K-Pop guide for a rookie listener

You must hear about this Mumbai-based support group for parents of queer individuals

Have you seen the newly-designed Pride flag which is said to be more inclusive?

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