SKorea sex change doc: I correct ‘God’s mistakes’

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In this March 18, 2014 photo, Dr. Kim Seok-Kwun, 61, talks with an unidentified patient at Dong-A University Hospital in Busan, South Korea. Dr. Kim is a pioneer in slowly changing views on sexuality and gender in the country, where many have long considered even discussions of sexuality a taboo. As Dr. Kim begins what will be 11 hours of surgery meant to create a functioning penis for a Buddhist nun, he is well aware of the unease his work creates in this deeply conservative country. The devout Protestant known as the “father of South Korean transgender people†once wrestled with similar feelings. “I’ve decided to defy God’s will,†Kim said in an interview before the nun’s recent successful surgery to become a man. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

In this March 18, 2014 photo, Dr. Kim Seok-Kwun, 61, talks with an unidentified patient at Dong-A University Hospital in Busan, South Korea. Dr. Kim is a pioneer in slowly changing views on sexuality and gender in the country, where many have long considered even discussions of sexuality a taboo. As Dr. Kim begins what will be 11 hours of surgery meant to create a functioning penis for a Buddhist nun, he is well aware of the unease his work creates in this deeply conservative country. The devout Protestant known as the “father of South Korean transgender people†once wrestled with similar feelings. “I’ve decided to defy God’s will,†Kim said in an interview before the nun’s recent successful surgery to become a man. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

In this March 18, 2014 photo, Dr. Kim Seok-Kwun, center, operates a sex change surgery at the operating room at Dong-A University Dr. Kim is a pioneer in slowly changing views on sexuality and gender in the country, where many have long considered even discussions of sexuality a taboo. As Dr. Kim begins what will be 11 hours of surgery meant to create a functioning penis for a Buddhist nun, he is well aware of the unease his work creates in this deeply conservative country. The devout Protestant known as the “father of South Korean transgender people†once wrestled with similar feelings. “I’ve decided to defy God’s will,†Kim said in an interview before the nun’s recent successful surgery to become a man. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

In this March 18, 2014 photo, Dr. Kim Seok-Kwun wears a mask before entering the operating room at Dong-A University Hospital in Busan, South Korea. Dr. Kim is a pioneer in slowly changing views on sexuality and gender in the country, where many have long considered even discussions of sexuality a taboo. As Dr. Kim begins what will be 11 hours of surgery meant to create a functioning penis for a Buddhist nun, he is well aware of the unease his work creates in this deeply conservative country. The devout Protestant known as the “father of South Korean transgender people†once wrestled with similar feelings. “I’ve decided to defy God’s will,†Kim said in an interview before the nun’s recent successful surgery to become a man. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

In this March 11, 2014 photo, Harisu, South Korea’s most famous transsexual entertainer, speaks during an interview in Seoul, South Korea. Harisu, Dr. Kim Seok-Kwun’s best known patient, said in an interview that the pain she felt after her 1995 male-to-female surgery “was like a hammer hitting your genitals.†But days later, when she left the hospital, she felt reborn, comparing her transformation to the Disney film “The Little Mermaid,†where a mermaid gives up her fish tail in exchange for human legs and eventual happiness. Kim is a pioneer in slowly changing views on sexuality and gender in South Korea, where many have long considered even discussions of sexuality a taboo. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

In this March 11, 2014 photo, Harisu, South Korea’s most famous transsexual entertainer, listens to questions during an interview in Seoul, South Korea. Harisu, Dr. Kim Seok-Kwun’s best known patient, said in an interview that the pain she felt after her 1995 male-to-female surgery “was like a hammer hitting your genitals.†But days later, when she left the hospital, she felt reborn, comparing her transformation to the Disney film “The Little Mermaid,†where a mermaid gives up her fish tail in exchange for human legs and eventual happiness. Kim is a pioneer in slowly changing views on sexuality and gender in South Korea, where many have long considered even discussions of sexuality a taboo. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

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BUSAN, South Korea (AP) — As Dr. Kim Seok-Kwun begins surgery to create a functioning penis for a Buddhist monk who was born female, he is well aware of the unease his work creates in this deeply conservative country. The devout Protestant known as the “father of South Korean transgender people” once wrestled with similar feelings.

“I’ve decided to defy God’s will,” Kim, 61, said in an interview before the monk’s recent successful surgery to become a man. “At first, I agonized 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.”

Kim is a pioneer in slowly changing views on sexuality and gender in South Korea, where many have long considered even discussions of sexuality a taboo. He has conducted about 320 sex change operations over the past 28 years, widely believed to be the most by any single doctor in the country.

Kim said the monk, who underwent 11 hours of surgery, did not want to be interviewed for fear of offending Buddhist believers at his temple. The doctor said the monk has been taking hormone therapy and has been living as a man for a long time.

When Kim first started doing the surgeries in the 1980s, his pastor objected. Friends and fellow doctors joked that he was going

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