About I’m Here with You:
The majority of LGBTQ people in South Korea hide their true identities from their colleagues, friends and their families. Despite a recent surge in LGBTQ activism, Korea remains a very conservative country, and those who come out face being disowned by family or dismissed from their employers. Many Koreans still express bitter hostility toward LGBTQ people, while others simply deny their existence. The Korean military actively hunts down gay soldiers, going so far as to mount sting operations using gay dating apps. And when someone does come out, parents and family members often choose to ignore the truth.
This project literally and metaphorically represents sexual minorities living in Korea who are forced to hide their sexual identity. The LGBTQ individuals photographed—all facing away from the camera—remind us of how Korean society continues to neglect and refuse to accept them. By creating these images, my intent is to both implicate the viewer in the nation’s larger refusal to acknowledge the identity of LGBTQ individuals and, more importantly, to spur us all to take action and change this attitude once and for all.
Gowun Lee is Korean born who studied, lived and worked in New York City for 10 years. She met a homosexual Korean teenager while she was visiting in Korea for her previous project called “In your words”. He came out to her; she was totally stranger to him.That was his first time to came out to someone. She decided to do her project “I’m here with you” in Korea so she moved to Korea from New York and has been working on this project for 2 years.