Are there gay people in North Korea?

Je Son Lee
Original Article:

Every week we ask a North Korean your questions, giving you the chance to learn more about the country we know so little about.

This week Michael from Phnom Penh asks:

I’m just curious as to gay and lesbian life and culture in North Korea. Is there in fact any existence of it?

Personally, I never knew anyone who was gay in North Korea, but I’ve heard a lot from grownups about things that happen in the military.

Unlike South Korea’s two-year mandatory military service, North Korean men are obligated to serve in the military for 10 long years. It’s tolerable for soldiers stationed on the military bases near neighborhoods. But soldiers who are stationed on military bases located in the middle of the mountains do not get to see women for 10 years.

In my older brother’s case, he says he hardly saw a woman during his 13 years of military service. He says he probably would have had to climb past seven-to-10 mountains to see a woman during military service.

That’s why senior officers have been known take charge of “pretty boy privates.” Some of them might have been gay. But others may have done so not because they were gay but because they didn’t have any women around for so many years.

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