Lionesses make history as South Korea's "first openly LGBTQ+" K-pop boy band

K-pop’s newest boy band claim to be making history with their debut single, 'Show Me Your Pride'.

Screenshot from Lionesses, LGBTQ+ K-pop boy band. Sitting room scene with four men wearing cat masks waving hands in front.
Image: LIONESSES (라이오네시스) 'Show Me Your Pride' Official MV

A new “openly LGBTQ+” boy band, Lionesses, have hit the K-pop scene and are making waves with their debut video.

The band released their debut single Show Me Your Pride, earlier this week with an out and proud video.

The video shows the quartet wearing cat masks to disguise their identities. At the end of the video, one of the members removes his mask in a display of solidarity with Korea’s LGBTQ+ community.

The video was produced in conjunction with the South Korean activist organisation, Beyond the Rainbow Foundation under their Ivan City Queer Culture Fund. The fund specifically aims to support and encourage LGBTQ+ representation in South Korean culture.

Whilst there are other LGBTQ+ solo acts such as Aquinas, Holland and Kwon Do Woon, LGBTQ+ representation in South Korea remains poor. 

There are currently no anti-discrimination laws protecting LGBTQ+ people in South Korea and social stigma is commonplace.

Last year, South Korea’s LGBTQ+ community experienced a rise in anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric, when a gay club in Seoul was connected to an outbreak of Coronavirus.

These instances emphasise the timely importance of the K-pop band’s arrival. As the groups lead singer Bae Dam-jun, told Taiwan News, “When each LGBTQ person fights against the world, we can be strong. Our music conveys the message, ‘When we are struggling, we will be your group. Together with the group, we can overcome’”.

In explaining the origins of the group’s name, he explains, “The team’s name, means ‘lioness of the savannah plains.'” He continues, “It is easy to think that the apex of the African ecosystem we have seen through the mass media is a male lion with a rich mane, but in the end, the ruler of the plain is actually a lion. It’s a group of lionesses who are in charge of hunting the herd”.

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