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K-Drama Welcomes A Transgender Character

BY Julie Jones | Jul 23, 2014 11:26 AM EDT

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There have been plenty of cross-dressing k-drama characters. Mostly they were women who dressed up as boys. Moon Geun Young played one in "Painter on the Wind." Ha Ji Won was The Jackal before she became an empress in "Empress Ki." Yoon Eun Hye played a waiter in "Coffee Prince."

And there have also been a few k-drama characters that dressed up as women. The fledgling shoe designer played by Lee Jang Woo in "I Do I Do" decided to walk a mile in women's shoes before creating shoes women could walk in.

But it's hard to recall a k-drama character that felt as if they were born in a body of the wrong gender. Cha Seung Won recently played a hardcore detective who dressed in women's clothes and wanted to transition to a woman's body in the film "Man on High Heels." Lee Na Young played a transgender character in Kim Ki Duk's 2008 film "Sad Dream." And Ahn Yong Joon will soon be seen as a transgender character in the 2014 film "Half."

But now a new k-drama features a transgender character. The writer and director of "It's Okay, It's Love" have said they want to change viewers' perceptions of therapy in general. One way to do that is to have a drama in which several characters visit a therapist to deal with various mental health issues. "It's Okay, It's Love" portrays such characters in a sympathetic light.

Actress Lee El will play a man who undergoes surgery to become a woman. But even after she realizes her dream of having a woman's body, things don't go as smoothly as she expected. She visits Ji Hae Soo, a psychiatrist played by Gong Hyo Jin, to explore her feelings and come to terms with her new identity.

"It's Okay It's Love" is the story of Jang Jae Yeol, a charming mystery writer and radio disc jockey who suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Played by Jo In Sung, this character goes to Ji Hae Soo for help with his problems.

But he is not the only patient she sees. Lee Kwang Soo's character will come to her to cope with the problems caused by his Tourette's syndrome. And so does Lee El'

Lee El is currently starring in the MBC daily drama "Mother's Garden." She also appeared in the dramas "Level 7 Civil Servant," 'The Princess' Man" and "Wild Romance," as well as the film "The Insiders."

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