Understanding the 5 percent minority
I was born in 1414 and killed at the tender age of 22. My death was so unfair and undeserved that my soul still wanders around this world. After my title was taken away and I was expelled from the palace 575 years ago, my own father strangled me to death. He had suggested that I kill myself, but when I refused out of fear and despair, he murdered me.
I admit that I made small mistakes. I sent clothes and shoes meant for my husband to my family. But shouldn’t even the most strict palace rules sometimes be bent in the name of filial piety? Sometimes I went into the bathroom of my maids and peaked at the street to see people outside of the palace. I would also ask my maid to sing me some love songs. But what did I do that was so terribly wrong? I was only 20, and I am envious of young girls these days. My small misdeeds would mean little today.
The one sin I committed was having special affection for Sossang, my handmaid. I honestly loved her and also slept with her. In all my life, I never had feelings for men.
Researchers have found that about 5 percent of the population is attracted to members of the same sex because of genetic qualities with which they are born. I have heard that there are many people like this who suffer from discrimination and are still in the closet. They are struggling and suffering even today. Imagine what I went through. I suffered terrible insults for simply being who I was. Others are still suffering that fate today.
Now, the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education is drafting a regulation against discrimination based on sexual orientation in schools. I am glad the proposed policy has offered a chance to discuss homosexuality seriously. In the Occupy Wall Street movement, 99 percent of the population has risen up to denounce the top 1 percent. But the effort to understand the 5 percent is still limited.
Don’t expect too much, too quickly. Even in the West, there is discrimination based on sexual orientation that the It Gets Better Project sprung up to fight.
I have waited 575 years, maybe I’ll have to wait another couple more decades.
*The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo
By Noh Jae-hyun