Holland, K-Pop’s first openly gay idol, has topped this year’s “Dazed 100” list of cultural change-makers.
The Dazed 100 features 100 people and collectives whom Dazed feel are shaping the future of youth culture.
By going public with his sexuality, Holland has made LGBTQ representation both his personal and professional mission. He seeks to be an icon K-Pop fans can look up to and relate to.
After receiving over 30,000 votes from the public, Holland won first place in the Dazed 100.
His list of competitors included Stranger Things actor Sadie Sink, Russian model Sasha Trautvein, musician Steve Lacy, and teen actor Storm Reid.
Hollan’s debut music video for “Neverland” received both positive and negative attention.
“Neverland” is a ballad about finding a place where he can be free to love another man. Although the video received much praise, it also received a 19+ age restriction since it features a same-sex kiss between two men.
Although Holland’s debut music video has over 9 million videos, Holland has not been signed to a major entertainment company, due to his sexual orientation.
In a video interview with Dazed, Holland talked about growing up in a country where homosexuality is not widely accepted.
“Although at that time there wasn’t a single role model to look up to in Korea, I was very consoled by foreign celebrities. So I thought, ‘I want to be a famous person like them’… I’m working harder because I want to be a special person to my fans too.” — Holland
Holland says that while skinship is not free between heterosexual or homosexual couples, he has never seen a public display of homosexual affection.
Although his friends and family have accepted his sexuality, his school life was not without hardships.
Now, as a professional singer, Holland faces opposition from netizens. He receives his share of “malicious” comments, but says that most of the comments are supportive.
With his music, Holland hopes to bring comfort to fans who are experiencing similar difficulties.
Despite the obstacles he has faced, Holland’s Dazed 100 win proves that he has thousands of fans who will support him on his journey. For more, check out his full interview below.