In a landmark ruling, a Korean Court found a 28-year-old man guilty for robbing and raping a transgender woman last August. The 58-year-old woman found the man breaking into her home. He stole 100,000 won ($70USD) and then proceeded to rape her.
The Busan District Court convicted the man and sentenced him to three years in prison, but suspended his sentence for four years. The court also ordered him to complete 120 hours of community service.
Prosecutors originally tried to secure a five-year sentence.
Yonhap, the state news agency produced two stories (text and audio) on the legal milestone. Other media outlets like the The Korea Herald and The Chosun Ilbo have also generated coverage on the sexual assault case.
The verdict signals another milestone for transgender Koreans. In 2006, the South Korean Supreme Court ruled in favor of a transgender woman's request to amend her gender on official documents. The South Korean military reformulated its medical examination procedures, making transgender people eligible to serve.
Ha Ri-su, the famous transgender Korean singer and actress, was then able to apply for amended identification that reflected her gender.
She was also able to legally marry her partner, Micky Chung. The couple plans on adopting children in the future.
The National Human Rights Commission of Korea has played a leading role for ensuring transgender people among other minority groups are protected and upheld in law and policy.
In 2006, GLAAD met with a delegation from the top human rights group. We spent time with the delegation to provide resources and guidance for their national LGBT efforts.
Korea's continued progress for protecting all of its citizesn regardless of their gender identity is absolutely worth its weight in media coverage. Hopefully, these stories will propel similar advances in the region and around the world.