Tag Archives: Coming to You

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Fierce Love

Coming to You

by Christie Robb

Writer/director Gyuri Byun’s Coming to You is a monument to the love and support families can provide for their children even if it takes the older generation a minute to get there.

The Korean documentary follows Hankyeol, a person who is gender-fluid, but pursuing a legal identification change from female to male. This requires the partnership of his mom, Nabi. (In Korea, up until 2019, this process required filling out 18 different legal documents—including parental approval regardless of the child’s age. So, even if you’re an adult in your 30s.)

Sharing the spotlight is Yejoon, a gay man, and his mom, Vivian. Initially, Vivian thought Yejoon would be better off living abroad for the rest of his life rather than living in a homeland that lacks same-sex marriage rights.

Right now Korea isn’t a super-friendly space for the LGBTQ+ community. But PFLAG (an international organization dedicated to support, education, and advocacy for LGBTQ+ people and their loved ones) and other groups are working to change that.

Coming to You, a documentary years in the making, illustrates the challenges and struggles of parents in a conservative society when they find out their kid doesn’t fit society’s expectations for who they are and/or how they behave. A society that can be hostile and violent. Homophobic. Transphobic. A society where suicide is the leading cause of death of people aged 10-39 (BBC).

But, it’s not all struggle. There’s hope and joy here, too—changes in the legal system, evolving attitudes after challenging conversations, fierce love and devotion. Support. Allyship. Love.

Centered on the mothers’ journeys to acceptance, the film could have benefitted from a deeper exploration of the children’s experiences. A few more interviews with them would have really strengthened the project.

But the moms are raw and honest, flawed but trying. And the extent they are willing to listen, love, and change to support their kids is just beautiful.