Anger Towards aespa’s Karina Triggers A Debate On Idols “Queer Baiting”


The reveal of the relationship between aespa‘s Karina and Lee Jae Wook shocked some but has been well-received by many.

Lee Jae Wook aespa’s Karina

Some fans made lighthearted “jokes” following the relationship reveal, joking about how some other idols would be heartbroken to find out Karina was dating a man.

yeji and chaeryeong comforting ryujin after she read karina’s dating rumor article

— kar (@wowshinobu) February 27, 2024

aespa gay ranking:

1. ningning (+3)
2. giselle (+2)
3. winter (=)


4. karina (-1000)

— jan (@aescentre) February 27, 2024

However, some expressed genuine anger and disappointment at Karina for dating a man due to their assumption that she was lesbian. Some made points based on what they called “queer baiting,” or when something appears “gay” without actually being so for attention.

I think heterosexual stans will never understand that queerbaiting marketing is damaging LGBTQ+ fans. It feels like, when you thought that you’re being represented even slightly, you’re also being faced with grey areas while also forced to accept that it’s a fake representation.

— taj❆ (@katariyoo) February 27, 2024


— (@sanairl) February 27, 2024

First, fans responded that this thought process was bi-phobic outside of speculation about Karina’s sexuality. Biphobia is an aversion towards those who are attracted to those who identify as both male and female and has been a problem for many who identify as such.

Many have their queerness questioned when they are in a relationship with the opposite sex and have their attraction to the same sex erased.

I’m not saying Karina isn’t straight but isn’t it like harmful to the bisexual community to assume she is straight bc she is dating a man rn??? Suddenly everyone’s calling her for what??? Queerbaiting??? Because she’s close friends with women??

— NOR (@huapeach) February 28, 2024

Going back to Karina, many felt it was entirely inappropriate to be mad at assumptions about her sexuality that she has not shared. Many added that perceptions about idols’ sexualities can be harmful to make because of the expectations someone may put on them.

Some reflected that queer baiting is a term meant for fictional characters and that real people cannot do it.

like yeah its a well documented problem in the industry but sometimes you must admit that yall being disappointed that idols you decided were queer based on the time they held hands with a member is not the fault of queerbaiting but your overactive imaginations

— girlboss marcille truther (@oluwatoge) February 27, 2024

as a queer stan, y’all are weird as fuck & need to stop assuming idols sexualities and then call it queerbaiting when it’s not true and then being debilitated by that fact. Y’all fr treat celebrities like fictional characters that you can make headcanons about & project onto

— ♡ addie ♡ (@nanauzumakiii) February 27, 2024

queerbaiting is a term used for FICTIONAL CHARACTERS in different forms of media. these idols don’t owe you “representation” based on something you made up about them.
being touchy with friends (hugging, any kind of physical contact etc.) does NOT equal to queerbaiting.

— jo ❀ | studying (@GYVTTP) February 28, 2024

queerbaiting is such a harmful term, real people can’t queerbait. no one owes you their identity. If you want to feel more represented, support the openly queer idols more, try to create a safer environment for them. being disappointed over someone’s sexuality is not normal.

— cae (@strawkiwiberry) February 28, 2024

Regarding representation, fans cannot help but seek it out in their favorite idols. However, this representation must be based on stated facts rather than assumptions, and there are multiple openly queer idols.

Here Are Nine Openly Queer K-Pop Idols

 The debate has gone on since the announcement. 

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