A South Korean court convicted a man
Wednesday of raping a transgender woman, a landmark decision in a
country that does not recognize homosexual rape, reports the AFP.
The 28-year-old man was sentenced to
three years in prison but the court suspended his punishment for four
The transgender woman, 58, was raped
last August when the man broke into her home in the southern city of
She is one of the more than 70,000
South Koreans estimated to have undergone the difficult
sex-reassignment therapy, completing her transition in 1974.
The Republic of Korea remains a
conservative country, where South Koreans treasure sacrifice over
personal liberties. Being gay is not illegal, but carries a heavy
social burden. Similarly, transsexuals often face difficult
In its decision, the court gave heavy
weight to the idea that the victim was a woman because she had
maintained regular sexual intercourse with her partner.
A 2006 South Korean Supreme Court
decision upheld the right of transgender people to alter their gender
on official documents.
The man has been ordered to do 120
hours of community service.