Progress is slow for Korea’s transgenders – By Sung So-young

The camera zooms in on the chest of a woman in an elegant black dress before panning up to slowly reveal her beautiful face and long, wavy tresses. Next, the camera focuses on her masculine-looking hands; then comes a close-up of her dark red lips and smoky eyes, before her bulging Adam’s apple is shown. At the end, the actress bursts into laughter.

With the 30-second commercial, the nation’s first transgender entertainer, Harisu, made her television debut a decade ago, knocking down a once impenetrable barrier for one of the most repressed minority groups in the country.