K-pop superstar BTS/Courtesy of BigHit Entertainment

Let’s focus on the boy band’s songs, not sexual orientation

In late May last year, a host of a Mexican TV show called BTS members gay, which generated much hate from the fans of the K-pop band that debuted in 2013.

Earlier this month, an Australian TV network aired a show where an interviewee implied that there must be a gay one among the seven members.

In the face of great uproars, the two TV stations officially apologized. But the thing is that the world does not stop asking whether some BTS members are gay.

If the seven boys do not tell us, we cannot know for sure, and they have never made a clear statement about their sexuality.

But people continue to make guesses, and Suga has been the “usual suspect,” because of his past remarks.

Just after the idol group’s debut, it had an interview with a Japanese magazine called Oricon Style.

Asked what Suga notices first when he looks at a girl, he said that he focuses on “personality and atmosphere.” The rapper also said that he doesn’t have an ideal type and it’s not limited to a girl.

This prompted debates about his sexual orientation. Some said that it’s Suga’s coming out while others countered that it’s a just translation error while Suga is in fact straight.

Again, we cannot tell for certain because any BTS members or the band’s agency, BitHit Entertainment, remain silent on the issues.

Observers point out that even if some BTS members are gays, the chances are that they would not reveal the facts.

It takes a lot of courage to come out as gay or lesbian, and that is especially the case in Korea.

Back in 2000, actor Hong Seok-cheon disclosed his sexual orientation in a magazine interview. Then, he struggled to deal with the aftermath.

Hong lost his jobs at TV programs, and his friends shunned him. His parents even suggested that the family commit group suicide.

In particular, scandals ended careers of many K-pop idol stars overnight. Against this backdrop, it would be very tough for them to be open about their sexual orientation.

Despite such debates, most BTS fans seemingly don’t care much about the issue. Their rationale: “We don’t know because they don’t tell us, therefore, let’s not assume anything. Just enjoy their music.”

And that appears to make sense.

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The publisher studied Korean history in Seoul and management of business administration in the United Kingdom. He has 20-year experiences in the media business. Kim can be reached at or 82-2-6956-6698.