Panel recognizes late transgender soldier as dying on-duty death

The late Byun Hee-soo salutes during a press conference in Mapo District, Seoul, Jan 22, 2020. Yonhap

A state review committee on the deaths and wounds of service members has recognized a transgender soldier, who died in an apparent suicide after forcible discharge from service, as having died in the line of duty, defense officials said Thursday.The committee affiliated with the defense ministry made the decision last Friday on Byun Hee-soo, who died in 2021 after being forcibly discharged the previous year, and the ministry notified her bereaved family of the decision Thursday.Byun underwent 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 compulsorily discharge her in January 2020.

She later filed a suit over its decision to discharge her against her will but died in an apparent suicide in February 2021. The Army then classified Byun’s death as a “general death.”The committee ruled that although personal factors played a role in the death of Byun, the main cause was depression caused by her forced discharge, according to the officials. Its decision is expected to pave the way for Byun to be buried in a national cemetery, they 스포츠토토존 added.

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