Jiae (ex-WASSUP) talks about dealing with biphobia (and homophobia) after coming out

Back in 2020, former WASSUP member Jiae came out as bisexual, revealing that she had a girlfriend. Unsurprisingly, things have not been all rainbows for her since, as people have harassed and criticized her as a result of this, so she went on Attack On Sisters to speak out about it and seek advice.

She revealed the circumstances of her coming out on Instagram Stories.

On the show, she shared, “I want to live an ordinary life. I love men and women.” She elaborated, “When I was 25, I dated a lot of men but it never lasted more than 3 months. I always felt something was missing and thought I was someone who can’t love. So I thought I should start dating women. I thought I don’t necessarily need to date only men. When I started dating my first girlfriend, I wanted to watch a queer movie. But in the comment section, there were so many negative comments.” Jiae continued to share, “I got so mad and I thought, why do women need to date only men and why do men only need to date women? So I posted on my social media (about my sexuality) out of anger. So that’s how I came out.”

She came out because of her frustration with homophobia, but then talked about how she faced criticism specifically for being bisexual, including from her girlfriend at the time.

The former Wassup member explained the difficulties she faced after coming out as a bi-sexual. She shared, “So I date men and women. So this happened when I was dating my previous significant other. She said to me ‘can’t you just say you’re a lesbian?’ She said I am giving men hope. But I distinguish whether you are a man or a woman. I like you as a person. So I was taken aback when I heard that.” Jiae explained that there is a stigma in South Korea that bi-sexual women are just women who are out there to have fun but ultimately will end up marrying a man. She shared that she is criticized by other sexual minorities for being bi-sexual rather than lesbian.

She also mentioned that she was discouraged by the perception people had of her after she came out, and that it was discouraging to feel that people’s opinions of sexual minorities would impact her work both musically and apparently at her regular job..

Ji Ae confessed that she feels like getting stuck in the middle because many LGBTQ people don’t accept her. Ji Ae said, “If I were an ordinary person, I think it would have been easier for me in work and related areas. After I stopped being an idol, some foreigners heard about the news that I came out and gave me good offers. I did a few solo fanmeetings and just before things went well, I got to know that the company I was working for is Christianity. No one told me about that. At that time, I thought if I joined this company I might get scammed so I decided to refuse.”

When asked for the reason she gathered her courage now, Ji Ae replied, “I keep saying that I’m bisexual, but I’m a coward who cannot reveal that at work. I think of doing Youtube and want to post something about bisexual relationships, but what if people at work see it? I’m working as a vocal trainer but I feel like I’m being fooled. I used to be very confident but my confidence keeps reducing.”

Jiae did make a comeback last year, though she did so without a company, and she worried about finding one after coming out.

The bright spot in all this is that she revealed her family was accepting of her, even if seemingly everybody else was not.

Luckily, Jiae shared that her family accepted her sexuality. She shared, “I told my mom I found out why I wasn’t able to date men. My mom asked, ‘why?’ and I told her ‘I am dating a girl.’ And my mom just said, ‘Oh that’s why you weren’t able to date men.’ And my siblings are also accepting. We would go on double dates.”

Yeah, all of that sounds horrific aside from her family, honestly. It’s hard enough as it is to be a sexual minority in Korea, but as a bisexual she was basically getting it from all sides, especially with the way gender wars and stuff like that are polarized in Korea. Like I can’t imagine how bad it must be to anticipate some backlash but think you might at least have allies on the other side of things and then getting attacked by them as well.

But as she said, hopefully just accepting the offer to talk about it on this show is a step forward in itself, at least in terms of self-acceptance. If it’s what she wants, I kinda hope to see her more often on variety and what not, as she clearly brings a unique experience to the table.


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