SEOUL, Jan. 26 (Korea Bizwire) — The state human rights watchdog said Thursday it has asked the health minister to devise guidelines for the hospitalization of transgender people.
The National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK) said it has made the recommendation after receiving a petition from a trans woman who unsuccessfully tried to be hospitalized in a female ward two years ago.
The trans woman wanted to be admitted to a Seoul university hospital in October 2021 due to drug allergy.
But the person was informed she had to be hospitalized in a male ward because she was listed as male on the resident registration.
At that time, the trans woman received hormone therapy but had not undergone sex change surgery nor corrected her legal gender, according to the commission.
The petitioner eventually gave up hospitalization after arguing with the hospital and filed a complaint with the NHRCK, claiming discrimination based on gender identity.
The hospital told the rights watchdog that its patient rooms are operated separately for men and women by medical law and it has no separate guidelines on the hospitalization of transgender patients.
It added that two transgender patients other than the petitioner were hospitalized in 2021 and all of them used a single room at their own expense.
The NHRCK has concluded the petitioner was treated unfairly and recommended that separate guidelines are needed regarding transgender people’s use of medical institutions.
“It is inevitable for medical institutions to classify inpatients according to specific criteria. But there are also people who are difficult to distinguish based on these criteria alone and do not belong to any particular gender,” the commission said.
It noted trying to classify people as male or female based only on legal gender runs counter to the basic principle of equal treatment.