Chong-ro

A Space of Belonging for Young Gay Men in Seoul

in Boyhood Studies
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  • 1 University of British Columbia eliasjalexander@gmail.com
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Abstract

For young men navigating a sexual identity that lies on the periphery of culturally understood and politically acceptable discourses, places where one expresses such identities becomes necessary to foster a sense of belonging. Gay districts have existed as bastions of open self-expression, providing a sense of belonging in restrictive societal contexts. This is particularly true in South Korea. Through direct ethnographic engagement, this article analyzes the ways in which Chong-ro, one of Seoul's gay districts, reinforces identity to create a sense of belonging. Through methods of participant observations and semi-structured interviews with self-identified gay men, qualitative data was collected and analyzed. This article attempts to show how these places help formulate relationships that affirm young gay men's understanding of self, community, and belonging.

Contributor Notes

Elias Alexander is a graduate student in the Department of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. His involvement with the LGBTQ+ community in Seoul began in 2014, and he has conducted ethnographic research in South Korea since 2016. His research focuses on the intersections of culture, identity, sexuality, and space and place. Email: eliasjalexander@ gmail.com

Boyhood Studies

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