Gay Former TV Personality Is Writing A Book About Life In the Closet

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Gay Former TV Personality Is Writing A Book About Life In the Closet

Hong Seok-chun, the Korean television personality who created nationwide controversy two months ago when he admitted that he is a homosexual, is writing a book about his stormy past.

"After the confession, more than 10 companies offered to publish my autobiography. Since then I've been busy working with one of them," Mr. Hong said.

"The story revolves around the love affair with my ex-boyfriend," he continued. "Despite the rumors, he is not a comedian or a high school student. You'll soon find out all about it."

Characterized by camp gestures that might have given the game away in another nation, Mr. Hong had starred in several television programs, including Munwha Broadcasting Corporation's sit-com, "Three Friends."

That is, until his homosexuality was disclosed to the public. Discussion of his sexuality in the National Assembly's annual parliamentary hearings prompted the confession. Mr. Hong was then unceremoniously fired as the presenter of a children's television show.

"I have taken the opportunity to represent homosexual minorities and to discuss openly how we can improve our treatment," said Mr. Hong. "However, it appears my efforts are hopeless, partly because many members of parliament have refused to discuss the issue, saying it is degrading to them."

Lee Ji-hye, manager of the Citizens' Coalition for a Democratic Media, has condemned Mr. Hong's dismissal. "Banning his TV appearances is an encroachment on his personal rights," Miss. Lee said. "I could understand if he encouraged homosexuality or idealized it in his program. But, in a sense, it's a good idea to let the public know the truth."

Korea still considers homosexuality a taboo, unlike some countries in which it is discussed and accepted.

"For me as an actor, being on TV was everything, but it's over. I made up my mind not to cry, get bitter or feel miserable any more," Mr. Hong said. "I feel that I must adapt socially for the sake of others who are considering coming out of the closet. After my story is published, I'm planning to visit New York to study screenplay writing, and later I want to turn my life into a cinematic movie. My hope is to live a life like Rupert Everett."

Mr. Hong said he was impressed by the British actor's dignity when they first met a few years ago. Since then Mr. Hong has tried to follow his example. "He is very open about his personal life and does as he pleases."

Ultimately, he said, that's what he dreams of for himself in the future; to be open about his orientation and help liberate other gay actors in Korea.

by Kim Jae-seon

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