South Korea’s first transgender soldier found dead
Published: 11:37 AM, 4 March 2021
Byun Hui-su, the first transgender soldier of South Korea; Photo: Collected
The first transgender soldier of South Korea, who was discharged from the military last year for having gender-reassignment surgery was found dead in her residence on Wednesday, authorities said.
The transgender soldier named Byun Hui-su, 23, was a staff sergeant before being discharged after she had the operation in Thailand while “on leave”.
Her body was found by firefighters at her home in the city of Cheongju, south of Seoul, after a mental health counselor called emergency services to report that she had not been heard from for several days, reports Yonhap news agency.
There was no immediate word on the cause of her death.
Byun, who had expressed hope of continuing to serve in the military’s female corps, had been pursuing a lawsuit contesting her dismissal, with a hearing expected in April, according to a spokeswoman for military advocacy group Center for Military Human Rights Korea that had worked with her. – reports CNN.
Meanwhile, the defense ministry “classified her removal” and a military panel ruled last year that she would be “compulsorily discharged.”
Later, she appeared at a press conference to plead to be allowed to serve, wearing her fatigues and saluting the gathered journalists and cameras.
“I’m a soldier of the Republic of Korea,” she said at that time.
Confirming her death to AFP, Police said they were investigating her death.
Byun Hui-su’s death already triggered an outpouring of grief and calls for South Korean MPs to pass an anti-discrimination bill.
“The whole Korean society bears responsibility for her death,” said a poster on Daum, the country’s second-largest portal.
Source: AFP, CNN, Yonhap