Official report on transgender rights released

Posted on : 2006-09-05 14:41 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
Toughest discrimination faced in school, military

An official report dealing with the human rights of transgendered persons was released August 4. The report, prepared by an agency set up to investigate the realities of life for South Korea’s transgendered, was made up of members of the Democratic Labor Party’s committee on sexual minorities and an alliance of transgender people. Rep. Roh Hoe-chan of the party presented the report to the National Assembly.

According to the report, transgendered individuals first experience shame, frustration, and contempt in the school environment, which reinforces and demands normative gender roles. Female-to-male (FTM) transsexuals, in particular, gave up their studies because of the national standardized school uniform, which includes a skirt. Many ran away from home. They endured psychological conflict and felt shame due to the reactions of their parents and teachers.

Kim, 36, said, "When I was a middle school student, I was severely abused by teachers for wearing men’s clothing. Several teachers abused me during the entire school day."

Physical changes, such as sexual characteristics and clothing of the opposite sex, induced discrimination and a sense of frustration. A 31-year-old FTM transsexual identified as Lim, said, "As my breasts began to get bigger, I came to shun school. Sometimes I bandaged my breasts."

Male-to-female (MTF) transgender victims experienced difficulties due to the problem of mandatory military service. Some felt serious shame because they had to get a physical check-up together with other males wearing only underwear. Others, after being teased by fellow soldiers, wanted to have consultations with their superiors, but they were just scolded with words like, "Why do you like men?" In some cases, rape victims could not exercise their rights because ’they are not females.’

Kim Il-lan of the agency stressed, "Those transsexuals often become objects of ridicule and targets of crime. It is urgent to take measures to understand their complicated situation and to live together with them." Rep. Choi Hyon-suk, member of the Democratic Labor Party and chairwoman of the committee on sexual minorities, said, "We will suggest a related law jointly with the ruling and opposition parties and prepare sociopolitical plans, including [changes to the] medical system."

To prepare the study, the agency since April has examined related documents, conduct

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