Photo: Staff Sergeant Byeon Hee-soo who is challenging her discharge from the military. Credit: Website of the Military Human Rights of Korea.
On February 1, the National Human Rights Commission of Korea 국가인권위원회 recommended the army to reinstate Staff Sergeant Byeon Hee-su 변희수, who was discharged after undergoing a gender transition procedure. The NHRC’s recommendation marks the first time that an organ of the South Korean government recognized transgender rights in the military.
The NHRC recommendation is not binding; the army maintained that Byeon’s discharge was consistent with its policy, and vowed to defend the administration litigation that Byeon had previously filed to challenge her discharge.