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Transgender woman hits bureaucratic brick wall in Japan

43 Comments
By Sara Hussein

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43 Comments
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If a person has decided that they want to called a different name, or be referred to as a different gender - or live their life in a way that has no direct bearing on how you live yours - because it makes them happier or more comfortable, why would you want to stop that?

Why would you take what limited time you have being alive and use it to make others feel less comfortable?

That's the actual problem.

5 ( +25 / -20 )

Why is it that why it comes to transgendered people this is such a sensitive area; however, when it becomes a racial thing where someone feels they identify more as another race, suddenly it’s all negative. Are transgendered and transracial not the same thing?

1 ( +17 / -16 )

“a 45-year-old American, who has three children with her Japanese wife Midori.”

Huh? The 3 children must be adopted then. Or they “conceived” the 3 when “she” was a he.

1 ( +19 / -18 )

Not what s(he) wants, no doubt - but it seems that the easy solution is to reissue the residency card with the sex unchanged.  This would leave the US documents (passport) and Japan documents (residency card) out of sync.  But I don't see an issue with that - with the possible exception of when travelling back into Japan.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

but elin essentially divorced her wife when she became transgender since the marriage was registered between elin's former name and midori. i just don't get why elin expects her marriage to remain legal since japan doesn't recognize gay marriage. fine, change your gender, be happy but don't expect your life to be exactly the way it was before if you chose to live in japan.

8 ( +20 / -12 )

It's pretty simple I think.

Just let people live the life they want to.

The absolute last thing we need is Government trying to tell us not only 'How' to be but also, 'Who' to be.

Just stamp the papers and fill in the required forms already.

0 ( +18 / -18 )

Very interesting. As far as I have lived here, as long as I seem to be a man I am treated as one, so if she appears to be a woman, what is the benefit of being legally recognized as a woman?

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Japan family law badly needs revision.

This is a very unusual and complex case, so it will probably need several stages of reform before the law can properly recognize this couple. Ultimately, that should be the goal though. All families should be allowed to live as they please.

3 ( +13 / -10 )

"We've effectively broken the system," said McCready

It's an interesting case but I'm not sure it really breaks the system or opens up a can of worms. There are obviously plenty of legal marriages which are recognised overseas but not in Japan. For example, if a man from Saudi Arabia attempts to register his 4 wives in Japan, he will also 'break the system', so to speak. Other examples of unrecognised legal marriages would be marriages between siblings or those where one of the partners is below the Japanese age of consent.

In this case, I think the key is to determine what the legal effect of transitioning actually is. If the law were to recognise that McCready has always been a woman since birth (but trapped in a man's body), than I think it's fairly uncontroversial to simply annul the marriage. It's a marriage that should never have been registered because everyone was labouring under a fundamental mistake as to McCready's actual gender. It only becomes complicated if the law starts saying that McCready was legally a man up to a certain date, and then she became a woman.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

I dont know why someone would complicate their life like this to the point where the government has to be involved. The "science is real" climate change people somehow quickly become anti science whenever someone starts bring up X and Y chromosomes.

As others have said there are many things that affect many people that need to be fixed before an individual situation that was not necessary to be raised to a public and government awareness.

3 ( +15 / -12 )

It's pretty simple I think.

Just let people live the life they want to

Yep. I couldn’t care less. It doesn’t negatively affect or inconvenience me in the slightest.

The reasons why it bothers people are invariably unpleasant.

4 ( +17 / -13 )

I said to myself, just read the article, don't look at the comments.

9 ( +15 / -6 )

Midori and the children are wonderful people, sticking together as a family unit like this.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

I said to myself, just read the article, don't look at the comments.

I say that every day....

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Sex is not something that can change. Gender might be.

All the hormone therapy in the world will not change a man into a woman as it is chromosones, not clothes and long hair, that determines sex.

If and until chromosomes (not genes) can be interchanged, and the Y chromosone can be removed from trillions of cells, then sex cannot be changed.

6 ( +13 / -7 )

Sadly, there are people who are confused about which binary sex they are. And though they are confused, there is no need for the rest of us to be confused.

4 ( +15 / -11 )

I can deal with people who genuinely have gender disorders and struggle to be the gender they are. However, when somebody introduces themselves to me and straight away says, "I'm gay" or "I used to be a man" that is when I have issues with it. I really don't care about your sexual or gender preferences, but it gets under my skin when these people start wearing it as a badge and demanding special treatment for it. You are who you are! How many heterosexual people do you know that would walk up to some one and say, "Hi! I'm straight! Please understand my gender and sexual preferences." ???

7 ( +16 / -9 )

I used to be more understanding of the feelings of transgender people. That was before I tried to wrap my head around the twisted arguments that transgender “activists” come out with. They have jaded me on the issue

Still, my own former self wishes Elin best of luck.

3 ( +12 / -9 )

I would welcome changed laws which recognize same-sex marriage. That two blokes or two ladies are married would not bother me in the least, nor cause any change to my life, or to any life other than their own. Marriage provides legal rights, taxation implications, etc., and I am no better off by them being restricted, and no worse off if they are not restricted. But until the law is changed, they need to role with it, and I suspect they have now for several years. In this case, I see no issue with her(him) living as a woman, adopting a name, and saying they are married – as indeed they are.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

i believe that you should have the right to love who you love and be with who you want to be with.

However, what I do not agree with is that you want to reject who you are and want to be someone else and we should all change to accommodate your self image issues.

9 ( +17 / -8 )

However, what I do not agree with is that you want to reject who you are and want to be someone else and we should all change to accommodate your self image issues.

Nobody's asking you to change your gender, just a bit of respect for those who do.

-7 ( +9 / -16 )

Despite the minuses I still think Midori and the children should be getting at least an equal amount of the limelight here. For letting go and accepting.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Why do the haters here think that they deserve love and happiness any more than anyone else? How does Elin’s situation affect you in any way, shape or form?

And no-one is ‘forcing’ you to do anything. You don’t have to address her as ‘she’ or ‘her’ if you don’t want to. It would simply be a nice, understanding thing to do.

1 ( +11 / -10 )

I am puzzled why so many people mind others' business and cannot accept there could be different ways of life.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

Why try to make others admit to something they have no interest in acknowledging. The couple went through the marriage ceremony to indicate each was no longer an available partner, reproduced children, provided a basis for inheritance. Thus fulfilling the marriage concept. Why care what others think.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Human beings with same opportunities and rights in the society, we are nothing to jugde people's sexuality.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

One can easily live their life however they want privately. without having to call attention to themselves or trying to change the rules for everyone to suit their individual situation.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

BlacklabelFeb. 21  11:06 pm JST

One can easily live their life however they want privately. without having to call attention to themselves or trying to change the rules for everyone to suit their individual situation.

The person in this article is not seeking attention. She is trying to cope with a cornelian situation without creating any social unrest.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

DisillusionedFeb. 21 07:17 pm JSTI can deal with people who genuinely have gender disorders and struggle to be the gender they are. However, when somebody introduces themselves to me and straight away says, "I'm gay" or "I used to be a man" that is when I have issues with it. I really don't care about your sexual or gender preferences, but it gets under my skin when these people start wearing it as a badge and demanding special treatment for it. You are who you are! How many heterosexual people do you know that would walk up to some one and say, "Hi! I'm straight! Please understand my gender and sexual preferences." ???

Non-straight identity is not a badge, it's a reality. Such people should be accepted as such. God doesn't make junk. The issue is that these types shouldn't be 'closeted' in secret or in seclusion or disenfranchisement anymore. They're not 'forcing' themselves or 'their ways' on anyone.

They're not 'demanding special treatment' here. They just want to be acknowledged and accepted as what they are, without fear of getting beat up or killed. Is that 'special treatment'? I don't think so.

The other night I went and saw a terrific performance from Ladysmith Black Mambazo in a theater and ran into a lesbian couple holding hands. Nobody gave them any trouble or dirty looks. We were all there to see a band, not judge or badmouth 'different' people. Everybody had a good time.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

It's pretty simple I think.

Just let people live the life they want to.

The absolute last thing we need is Government trying to tell us not only 'How' to be but also, 'Who' to be.

Just stamp the papers and fill in the required forms already.

Nah, that would be too simple and require common sense.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Hmm, so they are lesbians now?

0 ( +5 / -5 )

@Disillusioned

I somewhat agree why does it matter what race people are or sexuality or gender they identify as... and I hope one day we will get there, however judging by even the comments we aren't there by a long shot yet.

If it was a non-issue there wouldn't be a story, but there is so clearly it still is.

Its funny (not ha ha funny) how wound up people get over what people want to identify as, who cares... doesn't effect me un anyway, and the slippery slope arguments all but defeated....I suppose now that the majority of people, often begrudgingly not wanting to look like A-holes, accept that some people are gay but they need something else to be faux morally outraged at.

Even more so when people try and get all "sciencey" about it... well he can't really be a women and so on when actual people involved in the study of gender and sexuality will tell you its a spectrum mentally and to some degree on occasion physically, but meh, doesn't suit the I don't like it cause its different, it feels weird to me, "what about the kids" (Kids don't give a rats.. they just need loving caretakers) all hidden under a narrative of faux moral outrage.

Hope its resolved quickly and probably quietly because lets stay out of other peoples lives and just get on with being better people ourselves.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Ms. McCready is in the perfect position to challenge the law, and I admire her for taking it on. I genuinely hope she and her wife win the battle. This potentially could force Japan to recognize same-sex marriage as well as force them to recognize that families with transgender parents are natural, normal, and healthy. It's inhumane and a violation of human rights to force sterilization on transgender people who want to live as their authentic selves. At the very least, the court battle will bring about awareness of the problem, which helps bring about acceptance. Even if they lose this particular battle, they still will have made inroads that eventually will win the war. If there is a fundrasier for their legal fees, I would happily and proudly donate.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

First - I am confident most people don't care. Being gay, pan, trans etc etc - nobody cares, you live your life go for it... but

This person lived until 40 ish as a man. He found a woman - married her - had children - got permanent residence in a foreign country as a man etc. Now over the last year or few (unsure of time period) has decided to cause all of these difficulties for her/himself and their family... Just seems ... man I don't know - they just wanted attention in the media? Taking advantage of this generations 'struggle'?

Also - seems to be some smugness 'We've Broken the system'. .. good for you ma'am.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

I am totally okay with equal rights etc. I support same sex marriage. However I still cannot comprehend this whole Transgender thing. So a transgender has to dress up like a woman to be legally recognized as "WOMAN" so  wearing Skirt, Make up, High heels? Are these all the validation of being a legit WOMAN? How about women who don't wear skirts? women who don't wear make up and have short hair? Women who don't wear high heels and dress up like men? If a man thinks that he is  a woman inside and insist of wearing women clothing can this person still considered as TRANSGENDER and can legally claim to be a woman despite of still dressing up as a man? And how about those people who are not financially capable of sex transplant? Please enlighten me.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

So if a salaryman in suits who thinks he is a woman but doesn't feel like dressing up as a woman insist to stay inside the "WOMEN'S ONLY CARRIAGE" and WOMEN'S SIDE OF THE HOTSPRINGS" , should we give him (or her) the rights to be there? As I said I am totally okay with equal rights, but everyone has to adjust for now  as the world hasn't adopted to it yet. To force the whole world to adjust to you right here right now is very narrow mind thinking as the people who oppose to gay rights etc.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Japan is very right wing, liberal ideologies may not sync well here unfortunately

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This person lived until 40 ish as a man. He found a woman - married her - had children - got permanent residence in a foreign country as a man etc. Now over the last year or few (unsure of time period) has decided to cause all of these difficulties for her/himself and their family... Just seems ... man I don't know - they just wanted attention in the media?

Ask Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner about that. Bruce was a man in his 60s when he changed gender. I have to ask: why now? That's what really gave those stupid politicians in America another excuse to neglect their duties and tell people what restrooms they can use.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

A lot of people here claiming angrily that people are born either a man or a woman and that’s that, chromosomes XX or XY don’t lie! Well it’s not that simple, firstly it is worth understanding that biological sex and gender are two separate factors in all of us. Often with transgender people we are talking about their gender being misaligned or different to their biological sex at birth. Biological sex is the bit conservatives are often obsessed over about the body and the genitals, what is (typically) determined by chromosomes XX or XY. Gender is more about the brain and cognitive aspects, despite what you may believe the brain is also largely involved in you feeling like a man or a woman. Since the brain activity is somewhat “invisible”, it’s very easy for society to dismiss that side because it requires trust in the person experiencing it or a better understanding of the science than looking in your underpants. However, even if you want to disregard the role of gender in determining someone as a he or she (which is not appropriate) and only focus on sex chromosomes and genitals. There are actually biological cases of males born with male genitalia but XX chromosomes where the X chromosome is containing the SRY gene, as opposed to the Y chromosome. Then there are other cases of women born with XY chromosomes. In Swyer syndrome, individuals with one X chromosome and one Y chromosome in each cell, the pattern typically found in boys and men, have female reproductive structures. There are also numerous cases where babies are born with ambiguous genitalia due to similar such features or anomalies in their biology. If all this ambiguity occurs around biological sex then it’s not a huge leap to guess these ambiguities and unique patterns can also occur for the subject of gender. So before we angrily shake our fists at trans people for wasting resources or being selfish for asking society to accommodate their unique issues, just think for one moment how hard it must be to always have to swim against the tide. Not by choice, just by the cards you got dealt. Then think how easy we have it just to be born as a majority and then perhaps we can spare a little bit of effort and compassion to accommodate trans people into society with kindness.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Thanks to Giles for that informative and sensible contribution. Much appreciated and in stark contrast to being told you're mentally ill, not normal or being equated to paedophiles.

Haven't read a better and more informed comment on the topic here.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Gays are born with genes that lead to same-sex attraction as they develop in the pre-teen and teen years. It's rare but natural. What Giles has posted could be true since it's concerning an even smaller minority.

Throughout history 'deviants from the norm' have been scorned and persecuted because they're not understood. However, there have been a few exceptions. For instance, the Navaho Nation fully accepted the idea of the Nadahl (sp?).

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Giles Mitchell

Not by choice, just by the cards you got dealt. Then think how easy we have it just to be born as a majority and then perhaps we can spare a little bit of effort and compassion to accommodate trans people into society with kindness.

Do you think Japanese women should allow Transgenders to be in the onsen with them? Or maybe the solution is to just get rid of anything that seperates Male and Female..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The main brick wall is due to US post world war writing of Japan's constitution which states "Constitution. Article 24 of the Japanese Constitution states: "Marriage shall be based only on the mutual consent of both sexes and it shall be maintained through mutual cooperation with the equal rights of husband and wife as a basis." ... The wording defined marriage as a union of husband and wife." Because the rule on marriage is only between a man and a woman within their constitution, it makes the situation more complicated to approve. For the last 18 years, Japan viewed their marriage as between a man and a wife so it was deemed approved. That is why they had a registry and no issue with having children. When she made the hard decision to undergo the hormone therapy and change her identity, then the marriage became more complicated because the Marriage registry is under her previous name. There are no rules in Japan law about a person who changes name and gender on the registry. If they make a ruling in favor then it will set precedent, if they do not rule in favor, it could reverse any progress in Japan for decades. as of 2018, they have began to make strides in the LGBT community against discrimination, rights, and violence. So conclusively, US screwed them up specifically post WW2 US.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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