Sexuality in South Korea
Sexuality in South Korea developed historically in line with the Confucian view of marriage. Thus, virginity was prized as in Chinese marriage. Homosexuality in South Korea has been strictly taboo for centuries up through modern times due to Confucian and, later, Christian influence.
The traditional lack of discussion of sexuality in Korean society resulted in young adults having very little related knowledge; nonetheless 17% of South Korean high school students are sexually active.
Prostitution in South Korea is technically illegal, but according to the Korea Women's Development Institute, the sex trade in Korea was estimated to amount to 14 trillion South Korean won ($13 billion) in 2007, roughly 1.6 percent of the nation's gross domestic product.
LGBT rights in South Korea have increased in recent times. Male and female same-sex consensual sexual activity is legal, but the Military Penal Code does not allow for consensual intercourse between homosexual adults; the constitutionality of this law is currently under review by the Supreme Court of South Korea. Transgender people are allowed to have sex reassignment surgery in Korea after age 20, and can change their gender information on official documents. Harisu is South Korea's first transgender entertainer, and in 2002 became only the second person in Korea to legally change gender.
General awareness of homosexuality remained very low among the Korean public until recently. Gay-themed entertainment in mass media and recognizable figures and celebrities such as Hong Seok-cheon coming out in public have increased awareness. Korean gays and lesbians still face difficulties, and many prefer not to reveal their gay identity to their family, friends or co-workers.
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- Choi, Hyung-Ki (1997-2001). "The International Encyclopedia of Sexuality Volume I - IV: South Korea (Taehan Min’guk)". The Continuum Publishing Company. Retrieved 5 September 2010.
- McGill, Bobby (March 14, 2003). "Changing attitude toward sex threatens South Korea: Growing promiscuity, lack of education may lead to increase in AIDS, experts say". SFGate. Retrieved 5 September 2010.
- US State Department Human Rights Report 2009: Republic of Korea
- Sex trade accounts for 1.6% of GDP. KWDI: Korea Women's Development Institute
- South Korea takes on prostitution: The country’s sex workers generate 1.6 per cent of total GDP MacLean's February 18 2010
- "Being gay in South Korea". GayNZ.com. Retrieved 2010-09-16.