32 South Korean soldiers charged for being gay while serving in the military

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And there’s no sign of the investigation stopping anytime soon.

32 South Korean soldiers have been charged for being gay, following reports of one conviction last month, even though it is legal in the country outside of the military.

Able-bodied South Koreans between the age of 18-35 must serve in the military, and according to the law if any soldier “sodomy” or any other form of “disgraceful conduct” they could face up to two years in jail.

One of the soldiers, who would only identify himself as Sergeant A, told CNN: “They knew that I would not want my identity revealed so they made me cooperate in the investigation. The atmosphere was very oppressive and humiliating. I was scared.”

Many organisations have condemned the law after South Korea’s army chief of staff, General  Jang Jun-kyu, started a crackdown on gay soldiers in April, with reports saying that people were being tracked down through social media and dating apps.

Amnesty International called it a “gay witch hunt”, with their East Asia Research Director, Roseann Rife, saying: “President Moon Jae-in needs to send an unequivocal message that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity will not be tolerated, including in the military.

“It is long overdue for South Korea to repeal this archaic and discriminatory provision in the military criminal code, and get up-to-date when it comes to the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex people.”

Related: South Korean presidential favourite says he ‘does not like’ homosexuality

Words Matt Moore

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