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'I will continue to fight': South Korea's first transgender soldier vows to oppose dismissal

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on January 22, 2020 - Duration: 01:19s

'I will continue to fight': South Korea's first transgender soldier vows to oppose dismissal

South Korea's first transgender soldier said on Wednesday she would sue the military after it announced it would dismiss her for undergoing gender reassignment surgery last year.

Emer McCarthy reports.

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'I will continue to fight': South Korea's first transgender soldier vows to oppose dismissal

Byun Hui-su-- South Korea's first transgender soldier, said on Wednesday (January 22) she would sue the country's military after it announced it would dismiss her for undergoing gender reassignment surgery last year.

(SOUNDBITE) (Korean) SOUTH KOREA'S FIRST TRANSGENDER SOLDIER, BYUN HUI-SU, SAYING: "It was an extremely difficult decision to let my base know of my identity, but once I did, I felt much better." A staff sergeant, she is stationed in Gyeonggi Province, north of Seoul.

Byun had the operation in Thailand last year while on leave, and expressed her hope of continuing to serve in the female corps.

She said she would pursue a lawsuit against the army, all the way to the country's highest court if necessary.

The army said in a statement that while it will make efforts to protect soldiers' human rights and prevent discrimination, the surgery left Byun unable to continue to serve.

The case has triggered debate over the treatment of transgender troops and soldiers from the wider LBGT community in the country, which requires all able-bodied men to serve for around two years.

Byun said she still hopes to serve in the military in the future.

(SOUNDBITE) (Korean) SOUTH KOREA'S FIRST TRANSGENDER SOLDIER, BYUN HUI-SU, SAYING: "Apart from my gender identity, I want to show everyone that I can also be one of the great soldiers who protect this country."

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