Health Weird

Trans woman files complaint against military over surgical castration

Lee Tae-hoon
Written by Lee Tae-hoon

A South Korean transgender woman Wednesday lodged a human rights complaint against the military for forcing her to undergo genital surgery in order to be exempted from military duty.

The 22-year-old trans woman went through a mandatory medical checkup for the draft in 2012. She submitted a medical report that confirms a “crisis in sexual identity” and documents on her cross-sex hormone therapy to apply for a military exemption.

The Military Manpower Administration (MMA), however, rejected it, saying she would need to present convincing evidence that she would never be able to become a man again.

She had no choice but to undergo an orchiectomy and was exempted from the military duty in October 2013.

“The MMA demanded her to come up with an irreversible proof, obviously referring to the surgical removal of testicles,” Yun Da-rim, secretary general of the Korean Sexual-Minority Culture and Rights Center, told the Korea Observer.

“Those who receive military medical checkups are in their early 20s and many of them simply cannot afford to have genital surgery. Can you imagine how much an ordeal a transgender woman has to suffer to live with male conscripts?”

Yun argued that trans women should be exempted from their compulsory military duty without undergoing genital surgery as no measures have been taken to protect the rights of sexual minorities in the barracks.

In 2013, the court ruled that transgender individuals should be allowed to change their legal gender status without genital surgery.


Comments from Naver

soul****: Whether one removes the penis or not, he or she must do their military duty.고추를 떼든 안떼든 군대 보내야지...


maxc****: She is living as a woman. Of course she must remove her testicies. Have you seen a woman with testicies?성전환했으면 불알도 당연히 적출해야지, 불알달린 여자 본적있냐?


imco****: What the Fxxx…Who forced you to undergo an orchiectomy? Why don’t you just shut up your mouth and do your military duty.ㅋㅋ시바...누가 고환적출 수술 받으라고 강요했냐? 아닥하고 군대 댕겨오면 되잖아.


lull****: Wholly crap! LOL. So what will you do if one does a transgender cosplay in order to dodge military duty and lives as a man later with his penis again?  이런 미친~~ㅋㅋ그럼,군대가기 싫어서 트렌스젠더 코스프레 좀 하다가 면제받고 다시 거시기달고 남자로 살면 어쩌냐?


blue****: Don’t you think soldiers will be in danger if these (trans genders) go to the military?근데 쟤네들 군대가면 군인들이 위험하지 않냐???


kje8****: Should I say she is selfish or a psycho?이기주의자라고 해야되는건지 정신질환자라고 해야하는건지..


sjrr****: Okay, you don’t want to remove your penis. And you don’t want to do your military duty. What a fxxxing free rider.성기제거도하기싫다 군대도가기싫다 존나 날로먹으려하네

roqh****: This is happening because there are too many people who dodge their military duty illegally with fake medical certificates.허위진단서로 인해서 불법 군면제를 받은자가 많으니까 이러는 거잖어.


About the author

Lee Tae-hoon

Lee Tae-hoon

Lee Tae-hoon is publisher at The Korea Observer. He previously worked for the Korea Times and Arirang TV. You can reach him at

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