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Coming out, COVID style

14 0 5
By Jason Lim

That he was a gay man in Korea posed a problem when he became Patient Zero in post-lockdown Korea. Gays are still very much marginalized in Korean society, forcing them to live hidden lives relegated to specific areas and services that cater specifically to their social needs. Coming out is usually not something that's willingly done as an empowering expression of one's identity; it's something to be avoided at all costs.

So, when the authorities called on gay club goers to voluntarily test for COVID, they weren't asking for merely a health check. They were threatening the person's social construct that he had built up over several decades. In other words, they were threatening a forced coming out.

To understand the threat perception better, this is how intrusive Korean authorities would get to trace all those potentially infected by the virus. According to a Pulse article dated May 12, 2020, "Seoul City government has secured a list of 5,517 people that visited five clubs and bars in the multicultural area Itaewon from April 24 to May 6. Of them, the city has made direct calls to 2,405 people and completed inquiry. Also, of 3,112 people that the city failed to reach by phone, it has sent text messages to 1,130 people, advising them to receive tests.

"The city government said it is in the process of........

© The Korea Times