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August 8, 2011

IconGroundbreaking lesbian drama airs in South Korea

South Korea’s first ever mainstream lesbian drama was aired by terrestrial channel KBS 2TV on Sunday. The show immediately generated controversy for its depiction of gay lives.

“The Daughters of Club Bilitis” depicts the intersecting lives of nine lesbian women from different generations, comprising three couples in their teens, 30s and 50s respectively.

Broadcaster KBS received criticism after picking up the drama, leading the network to classify it as suitable only for viewers over the age of 19. However, this did not prevent viewers from voicing their discontent on the programme’s message board before, during and after the broadcast.

Negative comments suggested that The Daughters of Club Bilitis was “a crime against humanity” that “will negatively influence the youth”. However, a number of viewers defended the broadcast, praising the acting, directing and script for the “brave” drama.

“There are LGBT persons around us,” declared a KBS representative in response to the controversy. “Just because a drama is LGBT-themed does not mean that it’s meant to purposely be stimulating, yet people still view it through those lenses. Because KBS is a public broadcasting network, there remains obstacles on airing dramas of such content. Still, we hope that people will view the drama for what it is: a drama”.

Public network KBS is the largest broadcaster in South Korea, with a status similar to that of the UK’s BBC.

You can watch a (Korean-language) trailer for The Daughters of Club Bilitis here.

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Ruth Pearce

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