Seoul Natl University student body presidential candidate comes out as lesbian

November 5, 2015
Kim Bo-mi's campaign poster provided by Seoul National University's election committee. (Newsis)

Kim Bo-mi’s campaign poster provided by Seoul National University’s election committee. (Newsis)

By Tae Hong

The lone candidate for student body president at Seoul National University, South Korea’s top institution, came out as a lesbian during a campaign meeting on campus Thursday.

Kim Bo-mi, 23, is a consumer and child studies major who if elected would become the university’s first openly gay student body president. She’s currently running unopposed.

“I want the world to be a place in which people who work hard do not suffer,” Kim said during her speech. “I want this to be a world in which no one has to fit under a label of what is ‘normal.’ I want this to be a world in which people can love themselves for who they are and in which they can live confidently. That’s why I am telling you. I’m a lesbian.”

According to South Korean outlet News1, Kim had the support of the 40-or-so students present at the meeting. When the full text of her speech hit the website of the university’s student newspaper, the Seoul National University Journal, Thursday, heavy traffic brought down the site.

Kim is currently vice president of the student body. During her time at the school, she has led a student effort to solve problems involving sexual harrassment and abuse by professors and has been active as a board member of the student council’s committee on student and civil rights.

“The fact that I’m a lesbian is just another piece of who I am,” she said. “The things I believe in, the things I’ve done as vice president, and the things I want to accomplish in the future — those things will not change.”

The slogan of Kim’s campaign is “Moving As One Toward Diversity.”

Gay rights activism has seen a sharp rise in South Korea in recent years despite a lack of representation in popular media — only one South Korean celebrity, Hong Seok-cheon, is openly gay.

A poll conducted to gauge South Korean citizens’ views on gay rights showed a nearly doubled increase in open-mindedness from 2010 to 2014 on homosexuality among people in their 20s, according to the Asan Institute.

The same poll showed an increase in same-sex marriage support from 16.9 percent in 2010 to 28.5 percent in 2014 among all citizens, and 30.5 to 60.2 percent among the younger generation.

“The image and the direction I envision for this school is of a space in which we can exist as ourselves, and as a society in which that in itself is accepted as beautiful,” Kim said. “That’s the reason I’m coming out today.”



  1. Craig Bartlett

    November 6, 2015 at 3:00 AM

    This is a major step forward for LGBT+ advocacy in Korea. I wish her nothing but success!

  2. Aiden

    November 6, 2015 at 3:57 AM

    I am thrilled about at candor and courage in a volatile country. May she continue to find love, support, and strength along her trailblazing journey!

  3. Rev Dr Renee DuBose

    November 6, 2015 at 6:47 AM

    Best wishes for your courageous journey! I hope your truth will inspire others and shine a positive light on who we are – as GLBTQ citizens of this global community!

  4. Simon

    November 6, 2015 at 7:20 AM

    Good on her..

    I wish more Koreans would stand up and make a noise.

  5. Chapsalduk

    November 6, 2015 at 7:22 AM

    Hell Chosun effect…out of the question.. End of the innocence. Without a doubt,this is damn situation of South Korea for now.

  6. Yvon Malenfant

    November 6, 2015 at 7:40 AM

    Very happy to see her take this bold step. May she rise up to success!

    Yvon Malenfant M.Div.

  7. Esther Leibowitz

    November 6, 2015 at 8:26 AM

    Wow. Courageous

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  9. Tony Lee

    November 6, 2015 at 10:14 AM

    Korean millennials are much more open to idea/lifestyle of LGBT compared to pre-millennials. I do not agree to this type of idea/life style, but I do respect people with different idea/lifestyle. I applaud this girl for what she did and I wish her nothing but the best and luck! Cheers!

  10. Chapsalduk

    November 6, 2015 at 10:27 AM

    Let me share this unbelivable issue with kakaotalk please, staff !!!

  11. samgyupsal

    November 6, 2015 at 10:57 AM

    Oh God..where r you? Can’t imagine the world those who fxxked up with man with man and woman with woman people lead the ordinary average human natures over the world…

    • mohamed

      November 7, 2015 at 9:31 PM

      i can’t understand what happen to the world everyone start to accept gay/lgbt rights !!! really the end of the world is coming very soon !! f*ck gays/lesbian shit !!

  12. revel05

    November 6, 2015 at 11:57 AM

    She’s so brave for coming out in a stupid homophobic society and i am proud of her. Koreans seriously needs to freaking educate themselves and become more open minded. Those comments in nate site about her coming out are so disgusting I can’t imagine even living in a society like that. Anyways I wish nothing but success for her. Fighting!

  13. Crystal

    November 6, 2015 at 11:07 PM

    This is a huge step forward for the GLBT community in Korea. I look forward to seeing 김보미 as leader at Seoul National University and whatever she chooses to pursue! She is already one of the bravest people in Korea! I hope she is received as warm from the Korean community. Good luck!

  14. Chapsalduk

    November 6, 2015 at 11:56 PM

    Shit!! U guys picture this.. Slut with girls with girls in her deep throat.. Disgusting,man!

    • Nozinan

      November 8, 2015 at 10:36 AM

      Are you really such a pig?

  15. AFD

    November 7, 2015 at 2:51 AM

    Incredibly brave, considering how homophobic and misogynistic Korea is in general. The truth shall set you free.

  16. Nozinan

    November 8, 2015 at 10:35 AM

    Towards a day when sexual orientation, like religion and race, or what you choose to wear on your head, are so irrelevant that they are non-issues in an election….

    We had a glimpse of that in Ontario Canada in 2014 in our provincial election. Sadly our (ex) prime minister hasn’t left the 19th century.

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