South Korea’s First Queer Reality TV Shows Get Mixed Reception in China

Polarized views on queer representation persist among Chinese netizens

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11:34 PM HKT, Fri June 17, 2022 1 mins read

On June 16, South Korean online streaming platform Wavve announced that it is launching two new reality shows revolving around queer relationships. While the announcement was perfectly timed mid-way through Pride Month, eager viewers will have to wait until July for the programs, Merry Queer and Other People’s Love (or Men’s Love), which will reportedly be South Korea’s first reality TV shows to focus on LGBTQ+ romance.

While Merry Queer will feature queer couples and their experiences of coming out and navigating relationships and marriages, Other People’s Love will revolve around a group of queer men who have been invited to live in the same house in the hopes of finding love.

Wavve Queer Merry

Merry QueerOther People’s Love

According to a press release translated by K-pop news site Koreaboo, Wavve stated: “It will not only be fresh, but also be extremely fun. We are going to discuss and showcase social issues that we want the viewers to seriously think about and sympathize with.”

In recent years, East Asian entertainment has seen a surge of LGBTQ+ representation, such as boys’ love manga and dramas.

Earlier this year, K-drama Semantic Error, a gay romance between two college classmates, was well received in China and scored 8.5/10 on the Chinese review aggregation platform Douban.

Wavve semantic error

The two protagonists in K-drama Semantic Error

In China, the LGBTQ+ community enjoys more representation and acceptance in major cities like Shanghai, one of the country’s first and only regions to hold a pride parade — although that has been on an indefinite hiatus since 2020.

However, there is still some stigma surrounding LGBTQ+ relationships and censorship of queer content in China. For example, the country’s increasingly tight regulations on web series often target same-sex content, and a proposal was previously put forth to ‘prevent feminization of male teenagers.’

On that note, Chinese netizens have expressed mixed feelings about the two new South Korean reality series. Under a Weibo hashtag for the shows with almost 57 million views, some progressive netizens have shown their support. Others have done the opposite.

One user excitedly posted, “This is awesome!” while another wrote, “Please broadcast it immediately!”

“My roommate thinks [the shows] are disgusting… Guess I’ll have to watch them alone secretively,” lamented a netizen.

As for netizens who have been explicit about their homophobia, RADII refrains from reiterating their comments here.

Can Other People’s Love and Merry Queer help spread acceptance for LGBTQ+ communities within China and worldwide? Tune in to find out.

All images via Weibo

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