K chose to resign from the military while being investigated as part of a campaign to ferret out gays soldiers in the army in 2017. It was an emotional experience for K to see Byun being forced to leave the military at midnight of the very day she’d so bravely held a press conference in which she’d tearfully begged for a chance to defend the nation as a soldier. “The army is still unable to embrace LGBT people,” K observed.
The hunt for gay soldiers in March 2017 was brought to light by the Center for Military Human Rights Korea (CMHRK), which explained that the orders had been given by Gen. Jang Jun-kyu, chief of staff for the army. The army launched an investigation into gay soldiers for their breach of Article 92-6 of the Military Criminal Act, which prohibits sexual relations between soldiers of the same sex, leading to the arrest of an army captain that April. While some 40,000 Koreans submitted a petition calling for the captain’s release, 23 gay soldiers were booked on criminal charges, with nine of the cases going to court. Prosecutors concluded that 11 other soldiers were probably guilty, but gave them a suspended indictment without taking the cases to court.
Homosexuals are also targets in the navy. When one homosexual soldier told a barracks counselor about having consensual sexual relations with other soldiers, the counselor filed a report about the conversation, triggering an investigation by the military police. The soldier was eventually given a suspended indictment