South Korea decides the future of a transgender servicewoman

POHANG, SOUTH KOREA - APRIL 02: South Korean marines participate in landing operation referred to as Foal Eagle joint military exercise with US troops Pohang seashore on April 2, 2017 in Pohang, South Korea. South Korea military troops held for joint annual military exercise with the U.S. drawing criticism from North Korea, arguing that these training exercises will worsen the standoff over North Korea's nuclear weapons program. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

South Korea is to decide whether a military officer who transitioned into female last year will be allowed to keep serving. Transgender people are currently not allowed to sign up to serve in the South Korean military, but the current law says nothing about those people who began their transition after assigning to the forces and whether they could remain there when the transition process is complete. And this gap in the law can be used in favor of such people in future if the country takes the woman’s side in this particular case. The trans woman – who has not been named and is currently spending time in a military run hospital – was not drafted into the army but signed up of her own accord. Under South Korean law, all able-bodied young men aged between 18 and 35 must serve at least 21 months in the military, otherwise they will be imprisoned. But the woman, who was already on hormones but remained legally male back then, wanted to serve and she still wants to.


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