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Meet the four Lionesses: K-pop’s first-ever open LGBTQ+ boy group

K-pop group Lionesses (Image via @lionesses.official/Instagram)
K-pop group Lionesses (Image via @lionesses.official/Instagram)
Afreen Khan

Lionesses is a four-member K-pop boy band that aims to be “a lighthouse” for young LGBTQ artists in South Korea. The group made their debut with the single Show Me Your Pride on November 2, 2021 when they stepped into the K-pop industry to write history.

The extreme marginalization of the LGBTQ+ communities is an open secret. There are only a handful of open LGBTQ+ K-pop idols currently active. Throwing a stone into the calm ocean is the newly debuted group, Lionesses.


K-pop group Lionesses release their debut single Show Me Your Pride and garners support from fans

"Let me see your pride. Because you’re the one who shines like stars," says the description and lyrics of Lionesses Show Me Your Pride. The song talks about the fears of being in a closet, the blatant and undying discrimination, and finally, stepping out of the closet to embrace oneself.

Lionesses is made of four members - Damjun, Foxman, Kanghan and Lee Marlang. There's not much the group has revealed about themselves yet, except that Damjun and Foxman previously worked at K-pop management companies.

Damjun revealed the meaning behind their name to TW News. He stated that it's inspired by the real leader of the savannah, the lioness. The lion is publicized as the head or King of the jungle, but it's the lionesses who are in charge of hunting, says Damjun.

"We tend to think that the carnivore at the top of the food chain in the African ecosystem, which we often see through the media, is the male lion with the thick bushy mane. But the ruler of the plains is actually the lioness. It’s a group of lionesses in charge of the hunting of the troop,”

Having been out-and-about embracing their orientation, Lionesses has already taken a massive leap of faith. The group did have their inhibitions in debuting openly, which might also be why Damjun is the only member who reveals his face.

Lionesses' Foxman (Image via @lionesses.official/Instagram)
Lionesses' Foxman (Image via @lionesses.official/Instagram)

Lionesses also touched upon queer acceptance and discrimination in South Korean society. Even though progressive thoughts are taking over the conservative ones, there’s still an entire journey left for LGBTQ+ people to take on. Foxman shared the group’s hopes of being able to make the path a bit easier for them.

“I think Korean society is still very conservative — although it’s much better than before — and I think our perspectives and perceptions will change more in the future.”

Meanwhile, the music video for Show Me Your Pride has garnered supportive comments on YouTube. People are also praising the lyrics, and many shared that the song resonates with their emotions. It seems like Lionesses have taken a step in the right direction for being people’s “lighthouses.”

Other openly LGBTQ+ K-pop artists currently active are the soloist Holland and R&B singer MRSHLL. Many former idol group members also came out as LGBTQ+ such as Wa$$up’s Jiae, Xeno-T, and Topp Dopp member Hansol.


Edited by Danyal Arabi

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