The Korea Herald


Late transgender soldier to be laid to rest at natl. cemetery

By Yonhap

Published : June 5, 2024 - 20:23

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Sergeant Byun Hee-soo (Korea Herald DB) Sergeant Byun Hee-soo (Korea Herald DB)

A transgender soldier who died in an apparent suicide in 2021 after forcible discharge will be laid to rest at a national cemetery in the central city of Daejeon, a veterans ministry official said Wednesday, after a state panel recently recognized her as having died in the line of duty.

In March, the state review committee affiliated with the defense ministry recognized Sergeant Byun Hee-soo's death as an on-duty one, overturning a previous classification and allowing her remains to be interred at a national cemetery.

"After further procedures, such as a background check, it was concluded that there were no reasons to disqualify the interment at Daejeon National Cemetery," the official said.

Byun had undergone gender reassignment surgery in 2019, two years after voluntarily enlisting, and expressed her desire to keep serving in the military as a female soldier. But the Army decided to discharge her in January 2020.

She later filed a suit over its decision to discharge her against her will but was found dead at her home in March 2021.

In December 2022, the Army classified her death as a "general" one, but the National Human Rights Commission recommended the defense ministry the next month to review the decision, leading to the state panel's decision earlier this year. (Yonhap)