Seok-cheon dealt with death threats, began binge drinking and smoking, and holed himself up at home. No one would answer his calls anymore, he said. His family begged him to change his mind.
With his career in ruins, he opened a restaurant where, he said, drunk customers would often stumble by just to yell slurs at him. He thought he would have to leave the country for good.
Faith in humanity — restored?
He still fields basic questions from media: No, not all LGBT people are transgender. No, sexual orientation is not contagious. And running Google Translate on the source site paints a less roseate picture, but what's remarkable is that the supportive comments are universally upvoted and the puerile ones marked down.
Talk about East Asia and it's hard to not stumble over the "c" words: Confucian, conservative. And there's truth there sometimes; the parental obsession in the region with marrying off children is not just a tired ethnic joke. But as Seok-cheon has shown, ancient traditions can progress with the haste of the young — even, yes, in a matter of a brief decade or two. He thinks a younger, more internet-savvy generation will lead the change. No one's asking him to change anymore.