Transgender soldier to fight forcible discharge

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Transgender soldier to fight forcible discharge

A former noncommissioned officer forcibly discharged from the military after sex reassignment surgery has filed an appeal seeking reinstatement, sources said Wednesday.

Byun Hee-soo, 22, filed the petition with the Army headquarters, the sources said, after a military committee ruled last month based on a medical examination that the staff sergeant is unable to continue to serve.

Byun underwent the transition surgery late last year in Thailand and has expressed a desire to keep serving in the military as a female soldier.

“In accordance with related regulations, Byun can raise such an objection within 30 days of the committee ruling, and it will take around three to six months before a judgment is issued,” an Army officer said.

Earlier this month, Byun got a court-ordered recognition of gender change to amend her birth certificate.

If the petition is rejected, Byun will bring her case to court, according to officials of the Center for Military Human Rights.

She was the first South Korean active duty officer to have sex reassignment surgery while in service. Currently, no specific regulations exist on how to handle cases of soldiers who have such operations while in service.

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