Court Makes It Official - He's Now a Woman
Request by transexual Ha Ri Su, familiar to Korean drama fans, to change gender is finally granted
[SEOUL. KOREA] - The law in South Korea has finally caught up with what fans of transexual singer-actress Ha Ri Su have accepted all along: it has recognised her as a woman.
The Inchon district court has granted her request for changing her gender and name on the family register.
Born Lee Kyong Yop in Songnam, a town south-east of Seoul, she would be allowed to change her name to Lee Kyong Eun legally.
The court said in a ruling: ''Considering that Ha has been socially recognised as female after her transgender operation, it is appropriate that we regard Ha physically as a woman.''
The court also said the decision was made to protect her dignity as the Constitution guarantees the right of an individual to pursue happiness.
The 27-year-old Ha got her name Ha Ri Su by adapting the English term ''hot issue''.
She has used her 35-24-35 figure to launch a lucrative modelling and show business career.
Ha is familiar to Korean drama fans here, having acted in the hit drama serial Winter Sonata.
After breast-enhancing surgery in Japan in 1998 and a sex-change operation, she started singing in a nightclub, where she was talent-spotted.
She cut two albums - Temptation and Liar - and became a successful model.
A television commercial she did for a cosmetic company turned her into a household name.
Her Adam's apple had came into full view in some scenes, shocking viewers who had thought that she was a woman.
But her career has not been all smooth sailing. In October, US distributors decided not to use her as a model for their game, Warcraft 3.
The straight-talking entertainer, who said her father has not really accepted that his only son has become a woman, is unfazed by the focus on her transsexuality.
She has been quoted as saying: ''I dont want to face people and be dishonest about who I really am.
''I won't be able to hide it well.
''So, it's better to make it clear from the start.''