K-pop star Holland (real name Go Tae-seob) is one of the first people to come out as gay in the entertainment industry in South Korea.
The 22-year-old singer from Seoul is making waves within Korean pop music since his debut earlier this year.
He’s also causing a stir with music videos featuring same-sex romances and diverse genders and sexualities.
But it’s one romance in particular that’s on everyone’s lips – a steamy gay make out sesh in one of his latest singles, I’m Not Afraid.
Holland exclusively told Gay Star News he was ‘nervous’ at first for the filming of the 15 second-long kissing scene.
He said: ‘Even though I was nervous, I just thought that I should listen to the director as much as possible and finish it all at once.
‘But it’s been filmed four times,’ he revealed – with a cheeky ‘lol’ at the end.
YouTube gave the music video an R-rating and Holland said he still doesn’t know why.
He said: ‘Maybe YouTube thought long homosexual kissing was inappropriate for children.’
Holland: ‘I’m not afraid anymore’
Holland released I’m Not Afraid earlier this month, then I’m So Afraid on Tuesday (17 July). It’s a two-part song he’s branding Holland Twin Single Volume One and Two.
In I’m Not Afraid, Holland sings about being free to be himself, as he’s happily dancing at a party with all of his friends.
At the end of the music video, he closes his eyes and the song ends.
Then in I’m So Afraid, he opens his eyes – wearing the same outfit from the last music video – and it cuts to a female dancer, running around the streets of the city.
It’s a stark contrast to the blissful, care-free vibes of I’m Not Afraid.
‘I’m So Afraid is talking about [the] fear of coming out,’ Holland explained. ‘The fear of being hated by one’s loved ones.’
In contrast, I’m Not Afraid is about not being afraid to stand ‘in front of the public anymore’ and ‘reveal that I am gay,’ he said.
The dancer is Holland’s ‘other self’ – a version of himself that he wishes would reflect on the outside.
He explained: ‘After the party, she shows her fears with dancing in the darkness. I wanted to show my inner side.’
Growing up gay in South Korea
Holland believes it’s incredibly tough growing up as LGBTI in South Korea.
He confided in a close friend about his sexuality and then the next day, students in his middle school started bullying him.
He told Gay Star News people threatened him with physical violence and even ‘sexual harassment.’
‘I was bullied at school,’ he said. ‘I was so afraid to die.’
He also contemplated suicide at one point but said seeing gay people in the English-speaking entertainment industry helped.
‘I thought I wanted to be that kind of person,’ he said. ‘And [now] I am achieving my dream.’
When asked what his message to his young Korean LGBTI fans is, he responded: ‘I tell my fans to always love themselves. It really matters.
‘Feeling good about yourself is very important. So you can be proud of being gay,’ he said.
And whether or not he’s dating at the moment, he simply said: ‘Come on! I am single and so lonely.
‘I’m waiting for a nice guy,’ he revealed.