Gay North Korean defector finds love in lockdown

Jang Yeong-jin's incredible life story. Picture copyright BBC

The pandemic has played havoc on everyone’s love lives. For some, suddenly living together spelled the untimely end of their relationship, for others it was the making of it. 


For Jang Yeng-jin who is reportedly the ‘only openly gay defector’ to escape the communist nation and Kim Jong-un’s iron grip, it meant finding love and a potential husband.


Escaping North Korea in 1998, Yeng-jin didn’t even know what homosexuality was, let alone that he himself was gay. He told The Guardian that the nation has ‘no concept of homosexuality’, that there was no hope for LGBT people or even recognition that they exist.


After coming out he was duped out of all his savings by a con artist who convinced him to marry him and then in 2015 he released a memoir about his time in North Korea as a gay man. 


It wasn’t until last year that he decided to go on an online dating site and within months he had met American Min-su and moved to America to be with him during lockdown. Min-su has since proposed and the pair plan to marry.


It’s stories like this that fill us with hope that there’s someone out there for all of us, should we wish it.