AAS-in-Asia, July 2019, Bangkok: Queer(ing) K-Pop Idols: Digital and Transnational Fandoms

holland narc
Openly gay indie K-pop idol Holland (left) has played a crucial role in promoting LGBT issues to the global Korean Wave fandom

I have organised the following panel with Michelle Ho. If you are attending the AAS-in-Asia Annual Conference in Bangkok, July 1-4, please do come along!

EXOL-Q: An unofficial fan club for K-pop group EXO comprising LGBT fans


Wednesday, July 3, 2019 

8:30am to 10:15am 
Venue: TBA 

Michelle H. S. Ho, National University of Singapore
Thomas Baudinette, Macquarie University

Chung-Kang Kim, Hanyang University


Recent years have seen a growing interest in Hallyu (Korean wave) and Korean popular culture, with a strong research focus on masculinity and women audiences in its production and consumption across Asia. However, less attention has yet to be paid to the marginalized groups of K-pop (Korean popular music) artistes who openly identify as LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) and LGBT-identified consumers of K-pop music and idol performances both within and outside South Korea. This panel explores the lives, media representations, and transnational fandoms of K-pop idols via a queer theoretical approach. Collectively, all four presentations interrogate K-pop idols and fandoms situated variously within and beyond Korea, Japan, and the Philippines using textual analysis and (digital) ethnography. Taking the case studies of male-to-female transgender idols Harisu and Choi Han-Bit, Michelle Ho explores their digital presence and fandom on social media. Thomas Baudinette argues that young Japanese gay men’s K-pop fandom is important for enabling the development of their queer identity. Alona U. Guervarra examines how Filipino queer teens’ reception and participatory fandom of K-pop provide avenues for promoting global Hallyu, gender equality, and safe spaces. Employing online observations, Jee Won Lee traces various tensions between international LGBT fandom of the heterosexual K-pop idol group BTS (Bangtan Boys) and the Korean LGBT community’s resistance towards such celebratory discourses. Contributing to Asia being constantly in motion and on the rise, this panel considers current debates on LGBT issues, politics, and individuals traversing Asia by charting the transnational flows of K-pop.


Transgender K-Pop: Male-to-Female Idols and their Digital Fandoms
Michelle H. S. Ho
National University of Singapore

“Don’t look at them like some silly girl”: Japanese gay men’s negotiation of female K-pop fandom in Japan
Thomas Baudinette
Macquarie University

From Vice Ganda’s K-Style Fashion to Queer Teens in K-pop Cover Groups: Hallyu Reception by Filipino LGBTQ (2012-2017)
Alona U. Guevarra
Ateneo de Manila University

“LGBT loves K-pop”: Issues on LGBT fandom of K-pop and its potential
Jee Won Lee
Seoul National University

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