Protestant South Korean sex reassignment surgeon: ‘I’ve decided to defy God’s will’

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

A leading sex reassignment surgeon in South Korea has spoken about his experiences helping transgender people as a devout Protestant, saying he has made it his mission to correct what he calls “God’s mistakes.”

61-year-old Dr Kim Seok-Kwun, known as the “father of South Korean transgender people,” spoke to the Associated Press about why he chose to “defy God’s will” by offering transgender people life-saving surgeries.

He said: “I’ve decided to defy God’s will. At first, I agonised over whether I should do these operations because I wondered if I was defying God. I was overcome with a sense of shame.

“But my patients desperately wanted these surgeries. Without them, they’d kill themselves.”

Dr Seok-Kwun has so far conducted over 320 sex reassignment surgeries over the past 28 years, which is considered to be the most by any single doctor in the country.

He said his pastor objected when he first started doing the surgeries in the 1980s. However, he added he has now come to feel that his work is about correcting God’s mistakes.

“Some people are born without genitals or with cleft lips or with no ears or with their fingers stuck together. Why does God create people like this? Aren’t these God’s mistakes?” Kim said. “And isn’t a mismatched sexual identity a mistake, too?”

Reverend Hong Jae Chul, president of the Christian Council of Korea, called Dr Seok-Kwun’s remarks “cursed and deplorable.”

He added sex reassignment operations “are a blasphemy against God and make the world a more miserable place.”

It is legal to be gay in South Korea. However, recognition of LGBT citizens are limited. Efforts to include protection of sexual orientation in the Anti-Discrimination Act have been controversial and thus far unsuccessful.

The country does not legally recognise same-sex marriages.