Military service has been mandatory since 1957 in South Korea. It requires only Korean all male citizens to do a compulsory service. Having their first-ever transgender in the service stirred the nation, and had decided to dismiss the officer.
It was the first time in Korea to have a transgender officer when Sgt. Byun Huisoo, 22, came back in the military after the surgery. There were mixed opinions regarding this matter and it became a huge issue not only in Korea but all over the world.
Although the LGBT+ community has gained more acceptance throughout the world, Korea is still indifferent and is very conservative about such issues compared to other Asian countries. As of today, Korea has not legalized same-sex marriage- unlike Taiwan and Japan.
Sgt. Byun enlisted as a man back in 2017 and had already driven a military tank. After her gender reassignment surgery in November 2019, the army debated whether or not she should still continue to accept military training.
The army decided to discharge Sgt. Byun last January 22. The National Human Rights Commission stated that the ruling was referring to an act of discrimination over sexual identity.
“I can protect the nation as an excellent soldier regardless of my gender identity.”Sgt. Byu stated in a press conference in Seoul, January 22
What do you think about this issue? Do you agree with Sgt. Byun? Share your opinions below.