For this week’s Flashback Friday, we bring attention to the former K-Pop group Lady.
Lady were active from 2005 to 2007 and were signed to Logi Entertainment. Lady formed via tryouts when they were expected to be a three-member group. Prior to debut, another member was added.
The now four member group made up of Sinae, Sahara, Binu, and Yuna was unique as it was hailed as the first transgender idol group in Korea. In 2005, they released the singles “Attention” and “Ladies Night.” While they are currently looked back upon fondly by current international audiences, during their tenure, Lady were not well-received by the Korean public.
According to their bio, Lady formed following the rise of Harisu, a Korean transgender vocalist. During the time of their artistic emergence, pushing the sex appeal envelope was considered a popular trend. Because of this, Lady started off with and maintained a sexy concept.
Lady, unfortunately, had average vocals at best, so this was an issue along with being transgender in a conservative country. Prior to debut, the group received little training, so vocals were not as refined as they could have been. In favor of training, trying to ride the popularity of Harisu was more of a priority. However, the group did experience acceptance and mild popularity in Japan and China, so they did leave behind something as their legacy.
Conversely, during Chinese promotions, accusations surfaced suggesting Binu became transgender in order to avoid mandatory military service; this did not sit well with people. Following the accusations, the group went on hiatus.
In addition to this controversy, their label released a photobook titled Women Reflect! that featured the scantily clad and topless Lady members in an effort to drum up interest. Naturally, this didn’t go over well.
Following their singles and photobook, Lady went on a long hiatus and were rumored to have disbanded in 2006. In early 2007, Logi Entertainment released an official announcement of their disbandment was made on their Daum cafe explaining why they disbanded. The statement read:
The transgender group Lady, with Sinae, Sahara, Binu, and Yuna, had a one-year run since April 2005. After a year of activity, the group discussed dissolving in August 2006. The reason for the group’s termination was due to the prejudice they experienced. This [prejudice] restricted their stage and broadcast performances. Emotionally, Lady suffered during the span of their activities.
From the beginning, Lady had great endeavors, but in the end, the prejudice of people was stronger than their will. One of the members was criticized for circumventing mandatory military service by becoming transgender.
Lady also toured in Japan and China where they experienced an unexpected positive reaction, but it was difficult for them to tour overseas. However, Lady’s album Attention was very popular in clubs in those countries.
Since their disbandment, Lady members disappeared into obscurity, as did their label. The person who inspired them, Harisu, experienced larger success and is still considered active even though her last MV was in 2012.
Lady weren’t the only transgender group. In Thailand, Venus Flytrap are still active. They debuted in November 2005 following Lady.
Only time can tell if we’ll see another group like Lady in the K-Pop industry again. Currently, N.O.M (Nature of Man) pushes the envelope of sexuality by blurring the lines of feminine and masculine living.