Hello, and welcome to the Queer Corner. Mmm, that's cheesier than I was hoping.
I'm new to writing for the blog and so I thought I'd offer a little bit of background about myself while staying just oblique enough to where no one could ever pin these words on my, assuredly adorable, innocent face.
Altogether, I've spent probably one and a half years living in the actual country of Korea, though my expectations and anticipations run about three years before that. It's hard to say exactly what got me interested in East Asia in general, but here I am, struggling to fit into a culture that will inevitably always view me as an 'outside-country-person' simply for the very obvious nature of my so-pale-it-glows-in-the-dark skin.
That isn't a complaint, by any means, it's just a reality of my life here (as well as for many foreigners abroad). Another reality is that though I may be in the racial majority in my home country out West, I am a sexual minority in that I'm homosexual. I have lived semi-uncomfortably open for a while, and when I first arrived in Korea in 2009 (been here on and off, you see), I made a decision that even if I'm not shouting my gayness from the rooftops, I feel no reason to compromise and go back into the closet. I would be open, and honest, and people would just have to deal with it.
Of course, plans never survive the first encounter and for all my will and determination, things just did not really work out that way. I've found myself walking back into the closet by choice and I've found myself gagged and thrown into the closet violently by the people around. Along the course of my adventures, I've also found myself in some pretty interesting places and I look forward to not only sharing those experiences with the community here, but also working with the readers and other writers to try to place my knowledge and experience in the realm of the entire scope of Korean gender and sexuality, and Korean culture in general.
I would, however, like to point out that I am not an academic by training. Though I do have some fairly awesome training along those lines and publishing experience on the ivory tower, I chose a different path and therefore my perspective may not always be as clean and polished as a research journal. I expect to bring a more grounds-eye perspective to queer issues that I've either engaged with personally or heard through the grapevine.
I speak conversational or 'street' Korean (actually 'gay street', or perhaps 'boulevard' Korean) extremely comfortably and rarely speak English unless I'm with another English speaker- I continue to study Korean every single day. However, I lack the writing and reading skills of my fellow writers here and apologize in advance for the lack of Korean language regarding this. I hope to, soon, be able to engage in that aspect of the language but it will be a while yet.
As many of you many know, the world of Queer life in Korea is one that remains largely undocumented and unanalyzed. It's strange and beautiful and I hope to take some very deep looks at the relations between queers and their allies (and enemies), gays and lesbians (and bisexuals and pansexuals), as well as foreigners and Koreans. No relationship is simple, but I hope to create a space here that will provide an opportunity for thoughtful, respectful analysis of these issues.
I am excited to participate and I hope the excitement is reflected by the rest of the community. Though I have been writing and blogging for over a decade, this is my first real attempt to address Queer issues in a format like this and look forward to engaging the overall community with questions, concerns, thoughtful corrections, and respectful disagreements. We all have a lot to learn and share, regardless of our own background, and all that we need to make a conversation productive is respect.
That being said, welcome again to the Queer Corner. I look forward to seeing it grow.