Transgenders in Japan must still be sterilised before changing gender

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Tokyo, Jan 25 (IANS) A court here has upheld a law effectively requiring transgenders in Japan seeking to legally change their gender to be sterilised, the media reported on Friday.

Takakito Usui, a transgender man who wants to change the gender listed on his official documents, had appealed to the Supreme Court seeking to overturn Law 111, which requires applicants to “permanently lack functioning” reproductive parts to qualify for gender affirmation, CNN reported.

The Court unanimously rejected Usui’s case on Thursday, ruling the 2003 law constitutional.

“It is unthinkable in this day and time that the law requires a sex-change operation to change gender,” Usui’s lawyer Tomoyasu Oyama told CNN on Friday.

“When the law was established 15 years ago, LGBT people had to make a bitter decision and swallow the conditions to pave a narrow way for official change of gender. With this decision, I hope lawmakers will change the law to support the wishes of the LGBT community.”

The court initially said the law was intended to prevent “problems” in parent-child relations which could lead to societal “confusion”, and avoid “abrupt changes” to society.

About 7,000 people have changed their gender registration under the law since it was first passed.

Suki Chung, Asia Pacific campaign manager at Amnesty International, told CNN that the ruling was “a blow for the recognition of transgender people in Japan. It is a missed opportunity to address the discrimination transgender people face”.

Requiring sterilisation has been widely denounced by LGBT groups in Japan and around the world.

In a 2017 report, Human Rights Watch said the law “remains a stain on Japan’s record”.

–IANS

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