In an 84-page report, Human Rights Watch (HRW) details the unfair treatment of transgender people in Japan. Trans people are legally required to undergo surgical sterilization in order to qualify for a gender reassignment surgery.
The GID Act (Gender Identity Disorder Special Cases Act) in Japan states that trans people must be diagnosed with ‘gender identity disorder’ by two ‘respected medical professionals’ before they can apply for a gender reassignment surgery. A minimum age of 20 years old is also required and they cannot be married nor have underage children. Above all, the law prohibits them from having functioning genitalia.
The legislation is based on an outdated conception that regards gender identity as a ‘mental disorder’. The medical procedures are extensive, invasive, dangerous and irreversible, according to the report. The practice is also in stark contrast to international human rights laws and (internationally viewed as the best) medical practices.
HRW spoke with 48 trans people, as well as with lawyers, health providers and academics from 14 prefectures in Japan. With this report, the organization hopes to paint a picture of how the GID Act infringes on the rights of trans people in Japan. One respondent said the following regarding the required sterilization: ‘’I don’t want to have surgery, to be honest. ‘I feel pressured to be operated on – so terrible.’’
(Human Rights Watch)