The status of gay rights in North Korea is unclear due to the country's tendency towards secrecy regarding its internal affairs. Though homosexuality is not officially criminal in North Korea, the government condemns the practice as a vice caused by the decadence of capitalist society, and denounces Western gay culture as promoting consumerism, classism, and promiscuity.[1] "Violating the rules of collective socialist life" can be punished with up to 2 years imprisonment.[2] It is unclear as to whether this code of conduct is implemented to punish homosexuals.

North Korean defectors claim that homosexuality is simply not discussed in the country, and most have no idea of the existence of such sexual practices until leaving.[3] It is therefore estimated that most North Korean homosexuals are conditioned or coerced into marriage without fully comprehending their feelings.

During the 1960s, North Korean youth brigades would voyage to Cuba to harvest sugar cane as a gesture of solidarity, though relations became strained as the Cuban government deported some youth brigades for homosexuality.[4]

The official North Korean website claims that the country, having embraced science, recognizes a genetic basis for sexual orientation and has never oppressed homosexuals, unlike "many capitalist regimes around the world."[5] However, the website is often criticized for exaggerating the level of democratic and religious freedoms that can be exercised in North Korea, so it is unclear how truthful such statements about the treatment of homosexuals are.

See also Edit


  1. Global Gayz. Gay North Korea News & Reports 2005. Retrieved May 5th, 2006.
  2. Spartacus International Gay Guide, page 1217. Bruno Gmunder Verlag, 2007.
  3. The Marmot’s Hole (Google Cache). No gays in North Korea?. Retrieved May 5th, 2006.
  4. Pakistan Daily Times. Castro and Kim: Ill-suited comrades. Retrieved May 5th, 2006.
  5. DPRK FAQ. What is North Korea's stance on homosexuality?. Retrieved May 5th, 2006.

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