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Japanese high court rules that gender status change is allowed even without surgery

In Japan, a high court ruled that a transgender woman should be able to change the sex assigned to them at birth in their family registry without the need for them to undergo gender affirmation surgery, which is currently required by law.

Photo by Satoshi Hirayama from Pexels.com

In Japan, a high court ruled that a transgender woman should be able to change the sex assigned to them at birth in their family registry without the need for them to undergo gender affirmation surgery, which is currently required by law.

The country’s 2003 law on gender dysphoria is actually specific before changes can be made to a transgender person’s assigned sex and gender markers at birth, i.e;

  • The person should have no reproductive glands, or have their functions of reproductive glands permanently removed; and
  • The person should have a body resembling the genital organs of the opposite gender.

Although Japan’s Supreme Court already made a ruling on the aforementioned first requirement, recognizing that this is unconstitutional, it has yet to rule on the second requirement.

This time, with the high court’s ruling, it is expected to put more pressure on the government to revise the law already.

The petitioner in this case was assigned male at birth, but identifies as a woman. While she did not undergo any form of surgery, but the high court concluded that she met the law’s “appearance requirement” anyway, particularly since she uses hormone therapy so that she now has more stereotypically feminine features.

“(The law) gives them a tough either-or choice of having the surgery, thereby eliminating the right not to damage one’s body, or eliminating the right to enjoy the legal benefits based on their gender identity,” stated the ruling.

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