UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Narrative case study : unheard life story of a senior gay Korean man Kim, Shin-Young


Research exploring the experiences of senior gay Asian men who grew up in Asian culture has not been conducted yet even though they are supposed to have unique needs and challenges different from those in Western culture. The present study examines how one older gay Korean man constructed his life through Korea’s historical events and rapid social and cultural changes. In order to understand the unheard life story, in-depth interviews with one senior gay Korean man living in Seoul, South Korea were conducted and the narrative was interpreted and analyzed by a holistic-content approach. The findings of this study reflect on the man’s unique way, acquired through his life experiences, of balancing a homosexual life and a heterosexual life, especially between his personal desire and family responsibility. In the two disparate worlds, the gentleman pursued true love and adapted himself to changing of patriarchal values as well as aging instead of insisting on the time-honoured cultural heritage. The senior man faced challenges and changes in his later life with a positive attitude and wisdom he acquired through experiences in his early life. The findings derived from this study reinforce the social constructionist perspective that sexual identity is fluid, and prove that the notion of binary opposition from the white model is not well applicable to the notion of fluidity of sexuality in Asian culture. The understanding from this study suggests developing online services guaranteeing confidentiality for senior gay Korean men and approaching the minority group’s challenges on family level rather than individual level. These suggestions can be applied to senior gay men who grew up under Confucianism and patriarchism.

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