A Korean man has been found innocent after being accused of pretending to be a woman, even undergoing breast surgery, just to avoid serving in the army.
On July 11, a judge of the Seoul Central District Court declared man ‘A’ not guilty after being indicted on charges of violating military service laws.
It was previously revealed that ‘A,’ who had been called to serve as a public service personnel by the Military Manpower Administration following his physical examination, postponed his military enlistment and began receiving psychiatric treatment, citing gender identity disorder as the reason. ‘A’ also received female hormone injections and underwent surgery for breast implants.
‘A’ put in a request with the Military Manpower Administration to make a change to his physical examination ‘grade’ due to his gender identity disorder, but he was not granted an exemption. Ultimately, ‘A’ entered the army recruit training camp, but was sent home on ‘suspicions of gender dysphoria,’ leading the Military Manpower Administration to exempt ‘A’ from military duty.
However, when prosecutors got a hold of the case, they indicted ‘A’ on charges of passing himself off as a woman to avoid his mandatory service.
Prosecutors presented the court with a post on ‘A’s’ social media account, which stated, “I don’t want to go to the army,” as well as comments ‘A’ wrote, alluding to ‘masturbation’ and ‘erectile dysfunction.’ The prosecutors pointed out that the department of psychiatry judged ‘A’ as ‘normal’ during the initial physical examination for conscription, and ‘A’s’ medical record reads, “He does not want to become a woman.” They also based their charges on the fact that ‘A’s’ appearance and attire were that of a man at the time of the investigation.
However, the department of justice revealed, “There is considerable evidence that the defendant has gender dysphoria.” The court judged ‘A’s’ words on social media as being statements that any other person could have written, and were not enough to prove ‘A’ does not have gender dysphoria.
The court also stated that the ‘normal’ ruling of ‘A’ on the first physical examination may have been due to the fear of judgment against sexual minorities, while the statement found on ‘A’s’ medical record was made during a time of confusion.
On the claims of ‘A’s’ “manly appearance,” the court expressed, “[A] was unsatisfied with his large build and manly appearance, so he underwent cosmetic surgery numerous times. However, [A] felt a lot of psychological distress when [the surgeries] did not result in a womanly appearance. [A] was not able to dress as a woman for fear of becoming a target of people’s hate or ridicule.”
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