South Korea's first transgender soldier posthumously wins case against the army over her 'illegal' discharge

After undergoing gender confirmation surgery, Byun Heesoo, South Korea’s first transgender soldier was fired.
In March, she was found dead in her apartment. Reports suggest that she committed suicide.

A court ruled her dismissal illegal and ordered that the army revoke the wrongful discharge.

Loading something is loading. Click Sign up to receive marketing emails and other offers from Insider.

Pink News reported that South Korea's first transgender soldier won a case against the army for her "illegal" dismissal.

On Thursday, the Daejeon District Court ruled that it was illegal for the army's to forcibly dismiss Byun Hee Soo, a former staff sergeant who was a tank driver for the South Korean army after she had been confirmed as female by a gender scan last year.

According to reports, the court also ruled she was clearly a woman by law and ordered the army to revoke the wrongful discharge.

According to Reuters, Byun was fired from the military after she decided to have gender confirmation surgery in Thailand while on leave last year. After the surgery, Byun expressed her desire to return to the female corps.

South Korea bans transgender individuals from joining the military. She submitted a petition to be reinstated in July 2013, according to ABC News.

Vice reported that military officials claimed that the loss of her male genitalia was a sign of a mental and physical disability.

Byun protested the dismissal at the time and promised to "challenge" the decision until the end. In August 2020, she launched a legal fight arguing that her treatment by the army was not constitutional.

In March 2021, she was 23 years old when she was found dead in her apartment. Although there are no reports on the cause of her death, it is believed that she committed suicide. Her family assumed the case of the soldier who died.

Korea JoongAng Daily reported that the South Korean army said it respected the decision, but has yet to decide if it will appeal.