Culture

Oli London Faces Backlash After Coming Out as "Non-Binary Korean"

The British influencer is known to have undergone numerous surgeries to look like a K-pop star.

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Oli London – a singer and influencer known to have received numerous surgeries to resemble BTS‘ Jimin – is facing backlash after coming out as “non-binary Korean.”

“This is my new official flag for being a non-binary person who identifies as Korean,” the British creative took to Twitter to make the announcement with an image of the national Korean flag altered with the colors of the rainbow. “Thank you for the overwhelming support, it was so hard for me to come out as Them/they/kor/ean.” After a series of tweets including some referring to South Korea as their “homeland,” followers have criticized Oli’s behavior as offensive.

“Using they/them pronouns is completely normal and fine but using kor/ean as pronouns? That’s just mockery,” one user stated, while another added: “I’m very sorry, but as a person belonging to the non-binary umbrella, I am going to tell you something short. It’s okay if you identify as a non-binary person, but being Korean is not a gender, being Korean is being a native of Korea, if you like neopronouns that’s fine, only from my point of view you are making fun of them.” More members of the LGBTQIA+ community commented: “Kinda makes us neopronoun users look a bit like a joke and I feel quite invalidated.”

A South Korean user further expressed their frustration: “I can understand your passion and love for K-pop, Korea and your sexual identity, but we Koreans cannot welcome you because [the altered flag is] such an insulting image. Each national flag has its own meaning. To us, Taegeuk-gi (태극기) is a symbol of independence and unity.”

Responding to the criticisms, Oli posted a YouTube video to clarify that they are now using they/them pronouns, as well as “kor/ean” and “Ji/min” neopronouns. “I am Korean whether people accept it or not. This is how I identify, this is what makes me happy. This is who I am. It’s in my DNA,” they continued on Twitter to double down on identifying as “non-binary Korean.”

Apart from their coming out, Oli had continually been criticized for cultural appropriation and fetishization by objectifying the people and culture of South Korea.

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