Soju Love was born in Seoul and raised around Daegu in Korea. Their father worked for the Korean army, and for the beginning of their life they spent growing up in Korea’s military bases. Around 10 years old their parents moved from Korea to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, which became a huge culture shock for Soju.
“It was so different. I remember before moving here my brother was showing me books of Europe, and telling me ‘Oh this is where we are going to be moving to’. I was super excited, because I was looking at Paris and places in Germany, and then I get here and it was all cornfields and nothing for me, and I was extremely sad.”
They moved to Rockford, and Huntley, IL shortly after that. At this point it was extremely hard for Soju because they didn’t speak English, and they had to adapt to a completely different way of life that revolved around the Caucasian majority.
“I just remember as a kid everyone just telling me ’No’. They would say ‘Don’t do this and don’t do that, or don’t go there”, Soju says, “And I remember one time when I brought my lunch to school and my mom made me Korean food. I was really excited and I opened it up and everyone at the lunch table was like ‘Ewwwww!! That smells! No Stop! Put it away!’. I remember coming back to my mom and saying “Don’t make me lunch again’.”
From this incident, Soju felt shame and submerged themselves in the sea of white Mid Western culture, and decided to reject their Asian heritage. It wasn’t until high school, where they began to study and embrace their culture, .. and this is where the first crack of the closet door began to happen.
Coming out wasn’t an easy thing by any means for Soju. Born into a tight knit conservative Korean Catholic family, Soju immediately rejected their sexuality when they realized how they were feeling. To further not allude to their sexuality, Soju separated any instance in where they would become implicated by their homosexuality.