A Japanese transgender man’s request to have his gender legally recognised has been rejected by the Okayama Family Court—until he agrees to be sterilised.
Takakito Usui immediately appealed against the decision, saying it was “unconstitutional”, and breaches his right to be respected as an individual.
“The law violates Article 13 of the Constitution because it requires (invasive) surgery that does tremendous damage to a person’s body and, therefore, is invalid,” Usui says.
The 43-year-old lives in the village of Shinjo and says the Family Court’s ruling is out of touch.
“The law is not fit to cover all cases because the circumstances surrounding people dealing with gender identity issues are widely varied,” he said. “I hear some people who underwent operations came to regret them.”
In response, the Court said, “It is interpreted that the operation requirement was based on the understanding that keeping the reproductive ability of the sex an individual was born as is not appropriate.”
Usui lives with his girlfriend Miyuki Yamamoto and is hoping to marry her, pending his appeal to the Hiroshima High Court.
In 2004, Japan passed legislation that says people suffering from “gender identity disorder” could change their gender, as long as they underwent sterilisation.
Usui says “The essential thing should not be whether you have had an operation or not, but how you want to live as an individual.”
The World Health Organisation called for an end to forced sterilisation in 2014, calling it a “violation of fundamental human rights”.