|Som Hein, 23, says she is confident about her relationship and bisexuality. She posted about her relationship on July 31, and received attention from the press and public, Monday. /Screengrab from Som Hein's Instagram|
By Jung Hae-myoung
Som Hein, a 23-year-old singer, came out of the closet and identified herself as bisexual, causing speculation about her motives in making the abrupt announcement.
She hinted at her relationship with her girlfriend on July 31 on Instagram, saying she had a pretty girlfriend. It was her Aug. 9 Instagram post that made her sexuality known to the public. In a photo she uploaded, she was kissing an unidentified girl on her cheek. She went on to post a picture of two hands holding each other with the caption "my lovely girl."
Her name topped the most searched names in nation's largest internet portal Naver.
She said in a media interview that her parents already knew about her sexuality.
"I came out because I'm in love, and feel confident about it. There is nothing wrong with it, and I didn't come out to draw attention," she said. Her Instagram message drew mixed reactions from internet users.
Some supported the singer, praising her courage, while some accused her of careless behavior. Some internet users raised suspicion about her real motives behind the sudden disclosure.
As her announcement drew a backlash from some people, Som warned of legal action against those who have malicious intent to spread false information about her.
Som made her first appearance on Mnet show "Idol School" in 2017. After a brief time in the spotlight, she dropped out of the show due to bulimia. Because of that, she said she had a hard time keeping up with the busy schedule.
After that she featured in some music videos, and made her first debut single album "mini radio" in May.
She was accused of being a school bully. She said she just watched her friend bullying a classmate when she was a third-year middle school student and gave a belated apology to the victim.
Some accused Som of disclosing her sexuality to draw attention, an allegation she denied.
In Korean show business, coming out is not common partly because of the negative effects on celebrities' reputations.
Hong Seok-cheon, a television personality, came out in 2000 and remains the main example of an out homosexual celebrity. In a recent media interview, he said he faced shunning, verbal abuse and discrimination for being the country's first openly gay celebrity, and described himself as wearing a barbed wire crown for over a decade.
Harisu, a transgender singer and actress, had surgery to become a woman in 2002, and married Chinese rapper Micky Jung. Kim Jho-Gwangsoo, a film director, had a same-sex wedding ceremony in 2013.