In a national first, an openly transgender man has been elected as a councillor for the city of Iruma in Japan.
Tomoya Hosoda placed 21st out of 22 seats contested in the election and said: “It was a tight race, I still haven’t really processed it”.
The 25-year old told Stonewall Japan that he hopes to be a champion for LGBT+ rights as well as the elderly and disabled.
“Until recently, people have acted as if sexual minorities do not exist. We have many hurdles to overcome, but I hope to live up to everyone’s expectations.”
Hosoda came out as transgender while he was studying science at Teikyo University and began transitioning in 2015.
He has previously taken part in events for Out in Japan, a project that puts a spotlight on members of the LGBT+ community.
“For me, coming out is just the starting line,” Hosoda said in a profile for the project. “Some walls cannot be overcome by one person. But at such time, we have to work together and help each other out.
"By moving forward one step at a time and meeting all kinds of people, ways of thinking and values started to change.”
Hosoda is the second transgender person to be elected as a public official in Japan after Kamikawa Aya, a transgender woman who was elected in 2003 as a Tokyo municipal official.