On Thursday, a court in South Korea has ordered the forceful release of transgender soldier Byun Hee-soo to be canceled.
Byun, who was discharged from the Army in January last year, has died by suicide earlier this 2021.
The ruling of the Daejeon District Court was in favor of the officer, which means the unfairness of the military’s decision.
Staff Sgt. Byun wanted to go on his military service as a woman but was abruptly cut when on leave in 2019, shortly after she received a gender reassignment procedure.
The ruling of the Army to discharge her was mentioned by the court. The Army cited her gender reassignment surgery made her disqualified mentally and physically and going on active service.
Transgender candidates, as stated by the South Korean military code, are unfit for military duty in peacetime.
The court argued that Byun should have been counted as a woman in identifying her service fitness. It said that the Staff Sergeant has informed the military of her status before filing for legal acknowledgment of the gender change.
Following the court ruling on Wednesday, there were reports that a project on transgender policy review will be unveiled by the South Korean Defense Ministry.
A research project is said to be tapped by the defense ministry, as reported by Yonhap News Agency on Thursday, and is set to start this year.
The need to perform policy research was recognized by Defense Minister Suh Wook earlier this year, particularly on transgender persons and military service.
The transgender soldier found it hard to be back on active duty. She filed an appeal on her dismissal in February last year, which was turned down by the Army after five months.
In the same year in august, Byun pushed an administrative lawsuit before the Daejeon District Court against the military. But before the first hearing, she was found dead at her residence in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province.
The administrative suit was pursued by her family after her loss.
The court’s ruling on Thursday, meanwhile, was a welcome development for a team working for Byun’s recall, The Korea Herald reported.
“Today’s ruling will remain in history and be remembered for a long time,” it said through a statement. “It will be remembered as a milestone in surmounting challenges of discrimination, a step toward a better world and hopes that touch minorities’ weary minds.”