Published: Thu, January 23, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

Korean military decides to discharge transgender soldier:The Asahi Shimbun

Korean military decides to discharge transgender soldier:The Asahi Shimbun

Byun, a 21-year-old staff sergeant, recently underwent gender reassignment surgery to become female.

Byun's unprecedented case thrusts South Korea into the forefront of an issue that has been controversial in the USA and other countries around the world.

"I'll challenge the decision until the end, to the Supreme Court".

Speaking at the same news conference, rights activist Lim Tae-hoon said he will fight alongside Byun and others to transform what he called "our savage military".

Hui-soo said she had not expected to be forced to leave the army.

A military hospital, where the sergeant had registered for postoperative treatment, said he was disabled and could be discharged from the army due to the loss of genitalia from surgery. South Korea's military similarly does not preclude gay individuals from serving, but has been accused of rooting them out under a law banning sodomy, in some cases for consensual sex that took place off-duty and off-base.

In South Korea, being LGBT is often seen as a disability or a mental illness, or by powerful conservative churches as a sin, and there are no anti-discrimination laws in the country.

Activists say transgender people are likely to face harassment, abuse and insults, and many suffer from depression.

"I am more than qualified and effectively completed my duty", Edhi Park said, according to a 2019 report.

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"I can't resist feeling wretched at the military's vulgar mindset as they determined that the lack of a male genital is a physical disability", he said. "But my depression got too severe", she added. This follows last week's findings by a military medical team, which declared her "handicapped".

"I'm a soldier of the Republic of Korea", she said, her voice breaking.

It was after deciding to be forthcoming about her gender identity that she began excelling at her role as a tank operator, receiving high marks and earning awards, she said.

The soldier, who is in her 20s, had undergone the surgery while on a holiday in Thailand in November.

A South Korean transgender soldier who was dismissed for violating regulations following her sex change has threatened to sue the army following the move.

What has the military said?

A transgender soldier who enlisted as a man and underwent a sex change a year ago will be discharged from South Korea's army, with the military saying yesterday she had violated regulations.

Staff Sergeant Byun said becoming a soldier was her childhood dream and that she wanted to serve at the tense border with rival North Korea.

She expressed hope that all sexual minorities will be able to carry out their duties without discrimination, saying tearfully that she wants to be a great precedent. "I'm a mere individual, but I'd like to be a part of this change".

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