Yun Hyon-seok

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Yun Hyon-seok
Born(1984-08-07)August 7, 1984
Changjeondong, Byupyong street, Incheon, South Korea
DiedApril 26, 2003(2003-04-26) (aged 18)
Dongdaemun, Dongdaemun street, Seoul, South Korea
Cause of deathSuicide by hanging
Other namesYook Woo Dang, Seolheon, Midong
OccupationPoet, writer, Human right activists, Critics
Korean name
Revised RomanizationYun Hyeon-seok
McCune–ReischauerYun Hyŏn-sŏk
Pen name
육우당, 설헌, 미동, 동화, 안토니오
六友堂, 雪軒, 美童, 童花
Revised RomanizationYuk U-dang, Seolheon, Midong, Donghwa, Antonio
McCune–ReischauerYuk U-dang, Sŏlhŏn, Midong, Donghwa, Antonio

Yun Hyon-seok (Hangul윤현석; Hanja尹賢碩;[2] August 7, 1984 – April 26, 2003[3]) was a South Korean LGBT poet, writer and LGBT activist.[4] He committed suicide in protest against discrimination against homosexuals in South Korea.[5][6] During his life, he fought against social discrimination, racism and homophobia.

From the 2000s until his death, he was a controversial figure in the eyes of the public and fought against opponents of homosexuality and homosexual psychopath theorists. Throughout his school years, he had been pushed away from a similar peer group. In December 2002, he planned to leave school in order to attend Seil High School. From 1999 to 2003, he was active in the anti-LGBT discrimination movement, the LGBT rights movement, and homophobia opposition movement. In 2001, he debuted in literary world, involving himself in poetry, writing and columnist activities also, but mainly poetry. He received much discrimination and was the victim of prejudice, because of his sexual identity. In 2002, he joined the Solidarity for LGBT Human Rights of Korea, and was also a peace activist and a conscientious objector to military service. Up until his death, he wrote more poetry and prose, but his work was rejected, as he was gay.

After 2000 he was involved in a LGBT human rights, anti-discrimination, disability rights, and an anti-war peace movement.

On April 26, 2003, Yun drank two Korean distilled spirits and hanged himself,[7] as a result of the homophobia and closed-mindedness in South Korea. Because of his death, obscene words against homosexual and transgender individuals were revoked and protection was somewhat implemented through the South Korean Youth Protection Act (청소년 보호법[8]). He wrote under the pen name Yook Woo Dang (육우당,[9][10] 六友堂, home of six friends) and Seolheon (설헌, 雪軒) and was also known by his nickname Midong (미동, 美童, beautiful boy) or Donghwa(동화, 童花, Boy flower). His Catholic baptismal name was "Antonio".


Early life[edit]

Hyon-seok was born in 1984, at Bupyong, Incheon.[4] He was born into a devoted Roman Catholic family, and was baptised with the name "Antonio". His family were school teachers.[11] He was bullied throughout his school years, and eventually dropped out of Incheon High School in 2002.[12] As a result of this bullying, he often took tranquillisers, and sleeping pills.[13] In 1999, Yun was part of discussions and disputes on the Internet forums, and endured a great deal of homophobia until his death. Yun created an Interpia 98 homepage, but his website was visited by an internet terrorist, and due to personal attacks in 2002, he closed his homepage.

He awoke to his sexual identity during his time in middle school. He was recognized for his sexual identity problems, and as a result of this, he was picked on.[14] Later he was excluded by his peer group and his neighbourhood due to discrimination.[9] On October 8, 2002, he was sent to a psychiatric clinic by his family, despite his emphatic claims that he was not a psychopath.[4] He was dependent on green tea (녹차), rosary, tobacco, alcohol, foundation and hypnotics,[13] which became known metaphorically as his "six friends"[11] as Korean writer Kwak Byong-chan was based on his one nickname Yook Woo-dang,[15] which also means "six friends" in the Hangul language. In his last years of life, it was Yun's favorite phrase for the majority of his activity and content, and was used as a signature.

His family disapproved of his homosexuality and pressured him to be heterosexual, but Yun said, "I can't be heterosexual and don't want to be heterosexual.[4]" He was thoroughly isolated, about which he would complain in his diary. In October 2002, one diary entry from Yun said, "I do not think I'm abnormal. In this world born and living right-handed, also naturally left-handed is born and living. This road exists as also another road exists. Most persons use the well-worn path, but I have to go on a lone desolate path.[12]" He enjoyed reading, The Diary of Anne Frank and Thus Spoke Zarathustra.

Poetry and writings[edit]

During his adolescence, he tried to drown his pain in writing and also went to volunteer in orphanages and disabled groups. Some famous quotes from his works include the following:

"The world is hatred to like monster for we / So we living lurking place here and there / do you know, but this we is one of human. (Complain)[16]"
"Before you say, going to heaven to believe in Jesus Christ/ Pastor! begin with you first conduct. / after death, you when excuse see to Jesus?(one Pastor)[17]"

Another famous poem by Yun, "Reborn", reads:

"My soul was transform for the flower rain / after I went to your side / You are so insensibility to this me / Dear You please listen to My sweet soft whisper.[12]"

Yun hinted of the censorship present in South Korean society through his many works and stories. He often embedded satire within his poems, prose, novels and social criticism, yet still sang softly about love.

After completing elementary school, Yun wrote poetry and prose, but the majority of his work was given the notoriety to not be seen or read, due to his sexual identity. In his writings, he openly confessed his disappointment in prejudices and conventions, superstition and the remnants of blind faith, and the tradition of clinging to old customs, which strongly dominated the lives of many in South Korea.

"Possibly before die, never I will not get a good evaluation eponymous poet. A heterosexual and asceticism and moralism, formalism aim for this society, because I am only just heretic and deviants.[14]"

He harbored ill feelings towards South Korean political leaders due to the institutionalized homophobia rampant in South Korea, and because the majority of South Korean political figures were opposed to homosexuality, feeling that it violated traditional social norms and values.

He was deeply upset by the assertion by political figures that his work violated traditional Korean social mores, due to the conservative attitudes prevalent in South Korean society.[14]

LGBT rights movement[edit]

From March 1, 2000, he attended Seil High-school in Bupyeong-gu. However, in December 2002, he dropped out of high school. After leaving school, he moved to the Dongdaemun District in Seoul and became involved in the literary and LGBT activist scene. Due to the widespread criticism of the homosexual themes in his writings, especially by fundamental Christians, he was unable to write under his real name despite wanting to do so.[18][19] Instead he used the pseudonym Yook Woo Dang, a reference to the six objects he relied on most - green tea, cosmetic foundation, alcohol, tobacco, rosary beads and sleeping pills.

South Korean LGBT Flag

After the year 2000, Yun objected to the theory that HIV and related infections are directly transmitted by homosexuals, who were considered to be vectors for the virus. In his objection, he stated that the theory was a groundless assumption. Early on in the movement, he was a person who persuaded people that homophobia was unacceptable and fought against discriminatory objections to homosexuality on the internet. In January 2002, he became a long-distance activist. In January 2001, he joined the D Sijo(시조 詩調) poet club and W Sijo poet club,[14] with a rank as a student member. He continued his activity and contributed many writings, including poetry, to Sijo for a period of two years.[14] In February 2001, he joined and later worked for the organization Solidarity for LGBT Human Rights of Korea.[20] He also became a conscientious objector to Korea's conscription military service.[4] Yun emphasised that viewing homosexuality as sinful and denying acceptance for homosexuals as 'children of God' is wrong, whereas some Conservative Christian groups' ideology viewed it as anti-biblical activity.[21]

In autumn of 2002, Yun sought after more volunteers or full-time employees for the Solidarity for LGBT Human Rights of Korea.[4] His earnest desires were approved for March of the following year.[4]

Other activity[edit]

In January 2003, he was hired to work in a gay bar in Gangnam-gu, Seoul. However, due to anxiety, he soon retired from the job.[14] Afterwards, parallel with several part-time jobs, he committed to become a civil and human rights activist. On March 24, 2003, he became a full-time employee of Solidarity for LGBT Human Rights of Korea.[12] He participated in media censorship-opposition movements. Yun was repetitively insistent, particularly with some South Koreans who were intent on trampling many artists, entertainers and writers, even though pop culture was fresh with a variety of creativity and various artists. They were condemned in the name of morals and ethics.

Yun was an LGBT rights activist, and during this time participated in the abolition movement of LGBT and LGBT related media which was regarded as "youth Harmful media specified"(청소년 유해 매체). At the same time, he always attended anti-war and peace rallies in Jongro, Seoul.[9] Slowly, he became the leading representative in anti-war and peace movements as a guest speaker.[14] Additionally, he participated in an opposition campaign in Seoul which aimed to prevent the government from sending troops overseas to participate in the Iraq war.[4][9] On April 3, he was a determined participant in the Conscientious objection to military service(양심적 병역 거부).[9] Yun declared his refusal the wholesale slaughter of innocent peoples. Also, he participated in the sex worker rights movement and antidiscrimination movements, sex workers discrimination opposition movements. also with joint to Ableism objection movements.

Conflict with fundamentalist Christianity[edit]

South Korean fundamentalist Christians and some South Korean Christian denominations hated on homosexuality. For a long time, fundamentalist Christians and some Christian denominations believed that homosexuals and transgender individuals were "crazy". In the year 2000, Yun disputed with them. Yun insisted that homosexuality was not a mental illness and that it was personal taste. Although Yun was a devout Catholic, there was an immense amount of criticism by Christianity on homosexuality. It is known that he largely despaired.[22]

On April 2, 2003, the South Korean National Human Rights Commission of Korea Association made a formal announcement that the LGBT and LGBT-related media regarded as "youth Harmful media specified" was human rights abuse.[23] He was welcoming and at the same time condemning of some of the more Christian groups, while government agencies instigated that there was sexual corruption. Yun debated them by setting forth counterarguments and objections to contribute to daily newspapers. Two day later, some South Korean conservative Christian groups said, "Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed to the wrath of God for judgment of sulfur, sexual depravity because homosexuals. the Bible strictly forbids homosexuality. Commission has to withdraw the decision.[17]"; they argued that homosexuality disrupted the natural order and caused HIV infection.[24] On April 7, he said:

"Homosexuals is one of people, ye is dangerous psychopath also see to one of Human, anyway ye is Homosexuals is only see to non-human animals, demons?"[citation needed]

He vigorously protested, but his objections were viewed to still not be acceptable, so on April 13 he made a real name contribution to Hnagyeorye:[25]

i am activity of LGBT human right NGO. some Christianity group is opposition of cancellation of harmful media for LGBT. they reason to Homosexuality is Spread to youth, it's violated God's created order. The problem is they do not feel the slightest respect the human rights of homosexuals. thair is said of instigation "God's Judgment fire takes brimstone like Sodom and Gomorrah." also ADIS is only promiscuous people infected Homosexual and heterosexual regardless, their said to As if every homosexuals homosexuals is in pre-AIDS patients, I am at a loss for words. homosexuals and left-hander was burned at the stake in the Medieval Europe for davil. weak peoples was sacrificed to because prejudice and obstinate. I declare off to weak peoples sacrificed for prejudice of Christians. Think first homosexuals is one of personality for previously whether criminal discrimination.[25]

On April 11, he withdrew from Catholic society, causing a backlash of Christian fundamentalist homophobia,[4] which was later taken back in the following two days.[4] Afterwards, he prayed daily, with a desire for homosexuals to not be discriminated by his God.[4] Yun Hyon-seok was determined to commit suicide from this point, due to the anger and hatred against many homosexual Christians.


In April 2003, Hyon-seok and other human-rights activists were making preparations for a May Day meeting.[9] For a long time, he was a devout Christian, despite the criticism from other Christians because of his sexual identity. Yun had been disappointed for a long time, but he was devoted to his religion.[4][9] He had immediately suffered homosexual discrimination and contempt. On 26 April 2003, he committed suicide at Dongdaemun street in Seoul by hanging himself.[26] On April 26 at 3:00 pm, Yun was reported to have been drinking alcohol. Two days before his death,[14] Yun created a six-page suicide note.[27]

On 3:00 pm of that day, Yun's suicide note described the discrimination against homosexuals in Korean society.[28] He bequeathed ₩ 340,000 and the Rosary.[13] His suicide note read:

"I am unencumbered. After death, I say unabashedly outspoken to you, that say OOO is Gay,[12] and I do not need any more sadness, and pain does not anymore.[22] [...] if after I die, I can give to hypocrite Christians perception, my death is never not sad.[12]"
"Thoughtless prejudice and world equals was one people, how some more people murdered, it's how cruel and anti-Bible, inhumane.[29]"

The letter concluded with: "I believe My Father God will accept me![30]"

Beside his corpse lay some waste paper and two bottles, leading us to believe that before his death, he had been drinking Korean distilled spirits.[14] Another keepsake of his was the Cross and pictures of the "Holy Mother".[31]

He was 18 years of age.

On April 27, upon discovery to a member of SLRK, his dead body was cremated in Byupyong crematorium. His ashes lay in state at Incheon Family Park Memorium (인천 가족 공원). A posthumous collection of his work was published in 2006.


Yun left a will, to continue to fight against prejudice and discrimination.[32] In his will was written:

"My lovely brothers and sisters! Everyone's efforts to change the world.[21]"

On April 29, 2003, in the wake of his death, the South Korean government's designated obscene slang words towards homosexuality were removed.

Yun's death was intentionally ignored and disregarded by some homophobic Christians of South Korea. On April 29, the annulment of the prohibition for LGBT and LGBT-related media regarded as "youth-harmful media" was decided.[8] It was abolished a year after his death.[33] On April 21, 2006, one part of his poems and prose was published at the three-year anniversary of his death as a tribute in Seoul.[33]


  • Yook Woo Dang: 《Let My Spirit Rain Down as Flower Petals》(육우당: 내 혼은 꽃비 되어) (2013) [33]
  • 《Diary of Yook Woo Dang》(육우당일기 六友堂日記, unpublished)


In addition to "Yook Woo Dang" he also used the pen name "Seolheon" in reference to pre-modern Korean poet Heo Nanseolheon (허난설헌, 許蘭雪軒).[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Electronic literary society BBS (2016-03-03). ""내 혼은 꽃비 되어" 고 육우당 3주기 추모행사 개최 및 추모집 발간" (in Korean). News. Retrieved 2016-05-13. 2003년 4월25일 스스로 목숨을 끊은 동성애자 고 ‘육우당’(당시 19살) 10주기 추모기도회가 시작됐다. 사회를 맡은 ‘동성애자인권연대’(동인련) 활동가 정욜(35)씨는 이 자리에 모인 100여명에게 감사의 인사를 건네면서도 ‘보안’ 당부를 잊지 않았다.
  2. ^ Electronic literary society BBS (2016-05-21). "维基盘点知名大作家-六友堂" (in Chinese). zh.wikipedia. Retrieved 2016-05-13. 六友堂(朝鲜文:육우당,1984年8月7日-2003年4月26日),韩国男同性恋作家、诗人及人权活动家。
  3. ^ “주님, 육우당 형제의 눈물을 닦아주소서” (in Korean)
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l 나의 일곱번째 친구는 누구입니까 The Hankyoreh 2013.04.26 (in Korean)
  5. ^ 한 번도 ‘우리의 이름’으로 장례를 치르지 못했어요 (in Korean)
  6. ^ 10대 동성애자 '사회적 차별비관' 자살 The Hankyoreh 2003.04.28 (in Korean)
  7. ^ 10대 동성애자 '사회적 차별비관' 자살 한겨레 2003.04.28 (in Korean)
  8. ^ a b 청소년유해매체물에 '동성애' 삭제키로 Archived October 3, 2013, at the Wayback Machine Ohmynews 2003.04.29 (in Korean)
  9. ^ a b c d e f g 어느10대 동성애자의 자살 The Hangyeorye 21 2003.05.08 (in Korean)
  10. ^ 청소년 동성애는 비행이라고?
  11. ^ a b 나의 일곱번째 친구는 누구입니까 Hamgyeorye 2013.04.26 (in Korean)
  12. ^ a b c d e f "가식적인 기독교에 깨달음을"…어느 10대의 죽음 프레시안 2013.04.21
  13. ^ a b c "슬퍼 맙시다. 다시 떠나보내지 맙시다" Archived March 24, 2014, at the Wayback Machine Ohmynews 2003.05.04 (in Korean)
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j 죽음으로 마감한 ‘커밍아웃’ The Sisajournal 2003.05.15 (in Korean)
  15. ^ 지상에 천국을 일군 한 동성애인의 꿈 Hangyeorye 2013.05.21 (in Korean)
  16. ^ “동성애는 사람이 사람 좋아하는 문제… 이상한가요” The Seoulnews 2013-04-23, 29 (in Korean)
  17. ^ a b 10년전 기독 청소년 ‘육우당’이 왜 목을 맨 지 아십니까? 미디어오늘 2013.04.27 (in Korean)
  18. ^ [특집| 차별금지법 논란]‘차별의 범위’에 무슨 내용 담겼길래? wikly Kyonghyang 1024 (in Korean)
  19. ^ 교회는 성(性)소수자를 향한 차별과 혐오에 침묵할 것인가? Catollic news 2010.04.22 (in Korean)
  20. ^ 또 한 명의 게이가 자살하기를 바라는 건가 medias 2010.11.02 (in Korean)
  21. ^ a b 한 동성애자의 죽음을 통한 절규 인권운동사랑방 No.2325, 2003.04.29 (in Korean)
  22. ^ a b 소년의 자살 10년 지났지만…동성애 따가운 시선은 여전 The Hangyeorye 2013.04.24 (in Korean)
  23. ^ 신앙인의 고뇌 담은 동성애자 이야기 발간 가톨릭뉴스 지금여기 2010.12.08 (in Korean)
  24. ^ 동성애자 천주교 형제의 죽음, 그후 6년 변한 건 없다 Archived January 28, 2015, at the Wayback Machine 오마이뉴스 2010.04.22 (in Korean)
  25. ^ a b 동성애자도 인권 존중해야 약자희생 모는 편견 곤란 Hangyeorye 2003.04.13 (in Korean)
  26. ^ Queer Rights Activists in South Korea Step Up Efforts to Support LGBTQ Youth
  27. ^ "죽은 뒤엔 거리낌없이 말할 수 있겠죠":20살 삶을 마감한 한 동성애자의 '절규' Archived December 16, 2014, at the Wayback Machine Ohmynews 2003.04.29 (in Korean)
  28. ^ "사람이 사람을 좋아하는 게 왜 문제가 되나요?" Archived December 14, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  29. ^ 그의 바람은 꽃비 되어 저항으로 다시 피어나리니 chamsesang 2008.01.30 (in Korean)
  30. ^ 내가 믿는 하나님은 나를 받아줄 것이다. 당당뉴스 2007.10.29 (in Korean)
  31. ^ 무지개 깃발 휘날리며, 성소수자로 연대하다 가톨릭뉴스 지금여기 2012.11.23 (in Korean)
  32. ^ '무지개를 휘날리며 앞으로 나아가다' Archived October 2, 2013, at the Wayback Machine Ohmynews 2004.04.26 (in Korean)
  33. ^ a b c “내 혼은 꽃비 되어” 참세상 2006.04.26 (in Korean)


External links[edit]