Two Incidents

After seeing the Gay Pride March in Hongdae on Saturday, I was wondering about the situation of gay people in Korea. Then I read this. It made me think of two situations that came up with one of my favourite classes.

1. A while back, I asked the kids to discuss the idea of whether parents should raise their sons differently from their daughters. Most of them said that it wouldn’t be fair, as men and women are equal and should be treated as such. A lot of them brought up gender identity as an argument, but one group had a guy who insisted that if his son wanted to be raised as a daughter, he would let him. While this brought up some laughter, this seemed to be more due to the way he expressed it.

2. When explaining the word commuting, I used a example of visiting a friend who lived in Seoul every weekend. When I used the pronoun ‘he’ the class immediately wanted to know if said (fictional!) person is my boyfriend, is he Korean, is he South African… As this class seems to remember things better if they can relate it to a real person, I embroidered.

“He’s… Australian.”
“Oh! Teacha, is he handsome?”
“I think he is.”
*cheering* “Love story, teacha! Tell us, tell us!”
“No. No. It’s not a love story. Stop that.”
“Tell us, teacha!”
“I can’t. There’s no story. He’s… he’s gay.”
*silence*
“Oh. Okay. Does he have a boyfriend?”
“Um… no. He doesn’t.”
*resounding sympathetic sounds*

I’m not sure if it’s because my students have been exposed to more foreigners, or more foreign culture, or whatever, but there. I thought I’d share that.

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