Reports have emerged surrounding South Korea’s armed forces covertly using gay dating and hookup apps to target and out LGBT+ personnel.
At least one solider has allegedly already been arrested for engaging in homosexual acts according to the Military Human Rights Center of Korea (MHRCK), with the social purge aiming to oust gay men from the South Korean army. Quartz report that military officials are conducting an army-wide investigation following a sex-tape between two soldiers being released online.
The MHRCK released a series of screenshots of a conversation between two dating app users, revealing which military units they serve in and details surrounding sharing photos with one another. The centre accuses that the military coerced the soldier into unknowingly releasing details about themselves and ‘doxing’ themselves by another officer.
Military service is mandatory for all male citizens in South Korea. When enlisted, men are put through a ‘psychology test’ which includes several questions regarding the enlistee’s sexual preferences. Despite same-sex sexual activity being legal in the country, men who are found out to be gay in the army are registered as having a “behavioural disability” and may be institutionalised and imprisoned for up to two years.
Recent news emerging from Chechnya telling of gay men being rounded up, arrested and tortured in secret prisons reportedly also used gay dating apps to target and expose gay men.
The MHRCK have also exposed a leaked and recently introduced guideline from the High Army Prosecutors’ Office in South Korea that calls for a “strict handling of same-sex sex acts to prevent a proliferation of soldier-on-soldier sodomy.”
As of yet, there is no direct anti-discrimination law which includes prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
In a statement, the MHRCK declare that “if military personnel who served without any problem are forced to be dishonourably discharged and sent to prison due to their sexual orientation, it is hard to distinguish Korea from the worrisome countries where homosexuals are detained, tortured and executed.”