If You Want a State-Legal Sex Change in Japan, Just Agree to Get Sterilized

Japan is ready to extend rights to transgender people, but there’s a catch.  If you want to get recognized as being a male when you were once a female, or vice versa, you just have to agree to one thing, you must agree to be sterilized.  If you already have kids, sorry, you don’t get the ‘legal’ recognition.

Japan Forces Sterilization on Transgender People

In Japan, transgender people who seek legal gender change must appeal to a family court under Law 111 of 2003 that, when passed, represented a watershed moment in Japan, opening up public discussion on sexual and gender minority issues.

However, the procedure is discriminatory, requiring applicants to be single and without children under 20, undergo a psychiatric evaluation to receive a diagnosis of “Gender Identity Disorder” (GID), and be sterilized.

The law requires applicants to “permanently lack functioning gonads” before they can be legally recognized, which amounts to forced sterilization, a practise condemned by health and rights bodies across the globe, including the United Nations World Health Organization. In 2013, the UN special rapporteur on torture noted that transgender people being “required to undergo often unwanted sterilization surgeries as a prerequisite to enjoy legal recognition of their preferred gender” was a human rights violation, and called on governments to prohibit the practise.

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Paul Gordon is the publisher and editor of iState.TV. He has published and edited newspapers, poetry magazines and online weekly magazines. He is the director of Social Cognito, an SEO/Web Marketing Company. You can reach Paul at pg@istate.tv