South Korea transgender soldier to sue over dismissal

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A transgender soldier in South Korea says she will sue the army after it dismissed her for violating regulations following her sex change.

Byun Hui-soo, 22, joined the army as a man panan but had gender reassignment surgery last year after suffering from gender dysphoria and mental health issues.

She accused the military of "deep-rooted intolerance" of sexual minorities.

South Korea remains conservative on matters of sexual identity.

Ms Byun's case has led to debate over the treatment of transgender soldiers as well as those from the wider LGBT community.

During an emotional 45-minute appearance, the staff sergeant said she had wanted to stay in the army after her operation, which took place in Thailand in November.

"I will continue to fight until the day I can คาสิโน remain to serve in the army. I'll challenge the decision until the end, to the Supreme Court," she said.

She had not planned on having gender reassignment surgery, she said, but was recommended to do so by doctors at a military hospital where she was sent after suffering mental health problems. They arose from gender dysphoria - defined as distress from the internal conflict between physical gender and gender identity.

"It was an extremely difficult decision to let my base know of my identity, but once I did, I felt much better," she said.

"I thought I would finish serving in the army and then go through the transition surgery and then re-enter the army as a female soldier. But my depression got too severe," she added.

Ms Byun said she had not expected to be forced to leave the army. Her superior officers had visited her in hospital and had been discussing where she would be redeployed after her treatment, she said.

They had suggested she could become a role model for LGBT people in the armed forces, she said.

"Apart from my gender identity, I want to show everyone that I can also be one of the great soldiers who protect this country," she added.