In a historic decision, South Korea’s supreme court ruled on Thursday that transgender individuals’ have the right to change their legal sex status, even if they have children who are minors.
The ruling stems from a 2019 case in which a woman was denied the ability to change her legal gender status in a family and appellate court solely because she had underage children, NPR reported.
“This ruling addresses only one of the many discriminatory requirements in the guidelines, but it can be an important step towards the depathologization of legal gender recognition processes in South Korea,” Jihyun Yoon, director of Amnesty International Korea, said in a statement.
“The government must ensure that legal gender recognition is not contingent on psychiatric diagnosis, medical treatments such as forced sterilization and genital reconstruction surgery, or other abusive or discriminatory requirements such as marital status or not having children. Instead, it must be a quick, accessible and transparent administrative process based on individual self-determination.”
The court’s decision only applies to single transgender parents with underage children, not married individuals with children.
There is no law on legal gender recognition in South Korea, meaning individuals must apply for a decision via the courts in accordance with the “Guidelines for the Handling of Petition for Legal Sex Change Permit of Transgender People,” according to Amnesty International.
But the ruling is part of trans individuals’ right to pursue happiness, which is guaranteed by South Korea’s constitution.
“This decision by the Supreme Court opens the door for more recognition of transgender rights, but there is still a long way to go given the high level of discrimination and stigmatization LGBTI people face in South Korean society,” Yoon said.
Featured Image via Getty