Japanese court rules surgical requirement to change gender on documents unconstitutional

Author: John Russell

A Japanese law requiring transgender people to undergo surgery in order to change their gender on documents has been declared unconstitutional.

As notes, a 2004 Japanese law mandates the absence of reproductive organs in order to change one’s gender on official documents, effectively requiring trans people to undergo surgery. The country’s Supreme Court ruled in 2019 that the requirement was “constitutional at this moment.”

Shizuoka argued that the law was both inhumane and unconstitutional. The court agreed with him, noting that the surgery required under the law would cause irreversible loss of reproductive function, raising questions about the law’s “necessity and rationality.” The court characterized the law as outdated and counter to efforts to create a more inclusive society amid growing acceptance of gender diversity.

“I want children to hang on to their hope,” Suzuki said following the ruling. “I want to see a society where sexual diversity is naturally accepted.”

The ruling sets a limited precedent. But a similar case before Japan’s Supreme Court could set legal precedent nationally. A decision in that case is expected in December.

In July, the country’s Supreme Court ruled unanimously that a government ministry cannot ban a trans employee from using the women’s restroom at work.

At the same time, Japan also remains the only country in the G7 group of countries that has not legalized marriage equality. According to Equaldex, there are no anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination protections in housing, conversion therapy is not banned, and nonbinary genders are not legally recognized. It describes Japanese adoption laws for LGBTQ+ people as “ambiguous.”

Actual Story on LGBTQ Nation
Author: John Russell

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