Posthumous Victory for S. Korean Transgender Soldier as Court Tells Army to Annul Dismissal

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10/07/2021

SEOUL (Reuters) – A South Korean soldier who committed suicide earlier this year after being dismissed by the army following gender reassignment surgery won a posthumous victory on Thursday, as a court told the army to recognise her as a woman and annul her dismissal. Staff Sergeant Byun Hui-su had wanted a transfer to the military’s female corps after undergoing the surgery, but was dismissed in January 2020 on grounds that gender reassignment rendered her “disabled” and unfit for service. Byun went to court seeking reinstatement, but she took her own life in March before the case was resolved. Regardless of her death, the outcome of the case is expected to hold implications for the military’s policy on sexual minorities. The Daejeon District Court said that as Byun’s changed gender was already legally recognised, the army should have used standards applied to women to determine her fitness to serve.

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