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'Outing' by teachers puts LGBT students at risk in Japan

52 Comments
By Tomomi Miura

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In one case, a student with gender identity disorder who was registered male at birth told a supervising teacher of wanting to be included in the female group for a school trip.

This is getting ridiculous.

Do we really have to revamp all of society just to cater to this tiny minority of confused teenagers.

-6 ( +26 / -32 )

Japan has become infected with negative western attitudes toward gays. I went through junior high and high school in the early to mid 90s, and there was no problem. I was totally out and was a class leader.

-5 ( +18 / -23 )

There was an excellent episode of Kinpachi Sensei about 10 years ago that dealt with this very issue.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Gokai wo maneku

Have you got anything more factually based besides your assumption that "the west has made Japan more negative towards gays."

Your positive personal experience doesn't mean you can say an entire hemisphere is to blame for a problem.

15 ( +22 / -7 )

This is getting ridiculous.

Do we really have to revamp all of society just to cater to this tiny minority of confused teenagers.

What's ridiculous is that in the 21st Century, mentally and emotionally stunted people still think that treating ALL people equally, with respect and understanding, is somehow giving special treatment to a few.

Luckily, society usually advances, albeit slowly, as they die off.

9 ( +24 / -15 )

Do we really have to revamp all of society just to cater to this tiny minority of confused teenagers.

The same question was asked when the lower caste people of Japan became a part of the general society, and yet the discrimination continues today.

Choosing to live in a bubble of ignorance an bliss is no way for society to grow to accepting diversity.

14 ( +25 / -11 )

I understand teachers want to educate the other students about different people in our society but it's not the teacher place to tell gossip about other students private information. It's the same as leaking any of their personal information, if a student told the teacher their PIN for their bank account do you think the teacher would tell all the parents and students? No!

17 ( +20 / -3 )

Many Japanese teachers are so paranoid about criticism from students, parents and school administrators that they will steer away from almost anything that would seem to put themselves in a bad light or supporting a targeted minority. Has happened with bullying and now this with gay and LGBT students. Issues probably overlap. 'Safest' option for such chicken-hearts is to side with the other students.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

why is it always termed a "disorder"? some people are one way, some another

5 ( +16 / -11 )

Teachers certainly have a duty to inform parents of emotional and pastoral incidents and changes in their wards. If the child claims a risk of harm from the parent then they should use their discretion. But look, we teachers (trained and experienced ones anyway) are not social workers whatever society may think. I wouldn't betray a student's trust unless I thought their 'issue' had the potential to cause them har,.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

While I believe every possible effort should be taken for all students to feel safe and comfortable in school, the case of the student wanting to be in the female group for the school trip leaves me a bit nonplussed. It seems likely that if one of the "boys" was suddenly in with the girls it would have caused an uproar. Would it not be natural and expected for the teacher to explain and gain the understanding of the girls beforehand? Did the student think it was possible to just switch groups with no explanation?

10 ( +13 / -3 )

How can you treat people specially as they want without identifying them?

Im sure lots of boys would like to be in the girls group when they travel once that is an option. How do you justify to all that only one is allowed special treatment without disclosing the reason?if it's only 1 allowed people will figure out why whether it's announced or not.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

LGBT people of all ages are all individuals. So no one situation (in the classroom esp) will be the same.

Teachers could do with sensitivity courses and society as a whole could be less dismissive of LGBT people.

One day we shall overcome all this.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

A lot of people getting worked up over the student wanting to go with the girls, but there's not enough info here to comment. Perhaps the boys were going on a trip to a sports game and the girls were going to a museum? Perhaps the male student (who happens to have a gender disorder) preferred to go to the museum with the girls?

Sure, maybe that's not how it went down, but there's not enough info to get your knickers in a twist!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I am in fact in full support for LGBT but I am sorry to say that I don't want a male sharing an Osen bath/room with my daughter. I don't care what he thinks he is, the fact is that he is physically a male and should not be sharing an area where they would be undressing together with my little girl.

2 ( +10 / -8 )

In one case, a student with gender identity disorder who was registered male at birth told a supervising teacher of wanting to be included in the female group for a school trip.

But before the student realized it, the teacher had told the classmates of the situation. A number of the classmates' parents later complained to the school.

Okay, perhaps that's a problem. But how to address it?

Conduct a monthly gender identity survey to find out which students feel "female" and which feel "male"?

Send the boy with the girls without consulting the girls?

Ignore the student?

Ask the class and let them vote?

Tell the parents they can't complain when a boy identifies with being female and wants to camp out with their daughter?

6 ( +9 / -3 )

1 in 10 humans are gay or bisexual. fact. also animal world is maybe the same.

@garypen. you are right. this is not Georgian Britain, we have AI, self driving cars etc. we have to integrate as the world population expands.

to add to this problem, teachers work so hard, so probably don't have time to deal with such petty issues like racist, prejudice, discrimination etc.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

"Perhaps the boys were going on a trip to a sports game and the girls were going to a museum?"

If it's just a matter of the female and male groups doing different activities then it should be a matter of course that students can choose which they prefer. There's no real reason to separate these by gender (I do realize some activities in schools still are separated though, i.e. girls can't be on the baseball teams and go to the Koshien games).

I took this to be a case of an out of town trip with overnight stays and the student wanting to sleep in a room with girls. I could be wrong though as on second thought the article doesn't give enough information to know one way or the other just what the trip involved.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

But before the student realized it, the teacher had told the classmates of the situation. A number of the classmates' parents later complained to the school.

The Teacher in question messed up there.

That said, Sexual preferences should stay out of the Classroom and School. Kids are there to Learn, not to be pampered to.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

"girls can't be on the baseball teams and go to the Koshien games"

Just to clarify, I meant of course that girls can't go to the Koshien games as players. The can go as supporters etc.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Wait so a boy wanted to go on a girls' school trip, and the teacher is to blame for "outing" him? I have no problem with him wanting to attend the trip, but I think the other students would have noticed. So what's the teacher to do? Just bring along hideki and hope no one says anything? Ridiculous.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

But look, we teachers (trained and experienced ones anyway) are not social workers whatever society may think.

Naah, don't worry mate. We 'society' figured this out a long time ago.

Imo T&Q students have to be handled on a case by case basis as each 'confused' student may have a different level of maturity, understanding etc of their own sexuality, gender identity issues (if any). Age is also very important and teens (11-15yo) would obviously be a particularly difficult age-group, young kids (3-5yo) not so much perhaps.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

In one case, a student with gender identity disorder who was registered male at birth told a supervising teacher of wanting to be included in the female group for a school trip.

But before the student realized it, the teacher had told the classmates of the situation. A number of the classmates' parents later complained to the school.

I have sympathy with the story and would imagine that new teaching guidelines are required for teachers to deal with gender issues sensitively. When stories give anecdotal evidence like the above though, I wish they would do it with enough information to understand the point being made. From the above, It is not clear what included in the female group entails and whether it would be possible or realistic for the teacher to accept the request without informing the other students. Some parents complain about anything, so that in itself proves nothing.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Educator60

I took this to be a case of an out of town trip with overnight stays and the student wanting to sleep in a room with girls

And you could be right! But even then I'm sure there's a work-around, for example the student could participate, but sleep in a different room -if not with several students that accept and don't mind, then perhaps the teacher (if they're ok foregoing their personal space), or alone.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

In one case, a student with gender identity disorder who was registered male at birth told a supervising teacher of wanting to be included in the female group for a school trip.

No. Next question.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

The trip situation maybe needs some wider discussion, but only if the class member had been participating as a male until recently.. as far as any other mention of someones sexuality that should be the students decision.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Kiwiboy,

Having the student share a hotel room with one teacher would probably be inappropriate. Might be okay if it's a group room with multiple teachers. But that, or the other option you mention would entail the other students noticing or needing to be told so .... I can even imagine rumors starting up that the student did something wrong and is being punished, can't be trusted to share a room with other students etc if sharing with teachers. That could potentially have worse consequences for the student than if people knew of thd gender issues.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

According to what people are saying now, gender is fluid and can change on a daily basis. So anything that is decided today is up for debate again tomorrow. With all the sensitivity training and social issues like these I wonder how teachers can get any actual teaching done

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

One alone will not get righr against the group. The student's request was to be answered by indeed a social or medical staff, not the teacher who lacked common sense.

Sexual identity is a normative status in society that you can't delete by simple wish.

It is a necessary rule to avoid recurrent issues like this one.

Change sex first then your request will be accepted.

One will learn that at the end, the reason of the strongest (the group) is always the right one (against the individual).

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Are Japanese teachers really so naive? They have no business telling anyone.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

The people who do this, supposed ‘teachers’ are an absolute disgrace. They need reprimanding, punishing. Disgusting behaviour to bring division into a classroom. Hey teacher, leave them kids alone!

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Being freed from the restraints of ‘moral authorities’ in regards to sexuality --a very wide ranging spectrum, NO even wider than that-- it’s seeing more people, notably Generation Y and younger becoming much more open to the idea and practice of sexual fluidity, and that seems like amore natural state than those that are imposed by ‘society’. If you are a consenting adults, enjoy who you are.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Are Japanese teachers really so naive? They have no business telling anyone.

And how do you explain to the female students (you know, ones with XX chromosomes) should they stumble in upon the 'female' student changing and find themselves staring at the last turkey in the shop?

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

Educator 60

Having the student share a hotel room with one teacher would probably be inappropriate. Might be okay if it's a group room with multiple teachers. But that, or the other option you mention would entail the other students noticing or needing to be told so .... I can even imagine rumors starting up that the student did something wrong and is being punished, can't be trusted to share a room with other students etc if sharing with teachers. That could potentially have worse consequences for the student than if people knew of thd gender issues.

I can see how it might be inappropriate for them to stay with teacher. Guess it depends on their age too, also missing from the article. If they're a 22 year-old uni student it's less so than if they're a junior or high-school student.

I'm assuming that the other students already know about their situation, as I'm also assuming anyone who had gender issues but was secretive about them would opt to stay quiet and go with the boys so as not to stand out.

I guess my points are, 1) There's nowhere near enough info in the article for people to get their knickers in a twist over, and 2) There's surely some-way that a compromise can be reached that pleases all parties. If they're brave enough to voice their gender issues then good on them. Its a lot harder for them to voice their situation than it is for others to accept/try and accommodate it. Let me point out, there will be situations where its hard to accommodate it, but I think you'll find they're accepting of that fact too. But lets at least try if we can!

On a different note, a common area of concern for people seems to be that any guy can say he wants to be a girl and then sleep/bath with the girls. What a load of hogwash. I'd bet that not many straight males would feel comfortable stripping naked and bathing with a whole onsen of females - no matter how much they might brag to their friends about how great it'd be. Most people would feel a little self-conscious I think!

It's 2017. I think society can do a little better.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

"The nail that stands up must be hammered down." This is very true for the Japanese school system. Anybody who does not fit in accepted 'norm' of Japanese society has always been ostracized, ridiculed, segregated or made an example of. This can be because of academic achievement, race, size, character and sexual orientation. The more attention they pay to these kids the worse off they are. I had a college student come up to me and told me she was trains-gender and requested I treat her differently. My reply was, "So what?"

6 ( +8 / -2 )

A male student who requests to be included in the female group for a school trip has outed himself. He hasn’t been outed by the teacher. School trips in Japan are highly coordinated events involving large numbers of teachers, students, and parents. So if a male student suddenly announced that he wanted to be in the female group -- most likely sleeping and bathing with the female group -- the parents, teachers, and other students (particularly the females) would want to know why. And they would have a right to know. For Kyosei Net to expect otherwise is simply unrealistic, particularly in a densely populated group-oriented society like Japan.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@disillusioned - You should have announced her gender status to the entire class because that would be treating her differently than he other students. It's a win-win situation because you followed her request AND taught her a lesson at the same time!

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Daniel pointed out the issue: your difference is yours.

How do you know I am a woman or man, or what I am attracted to ? Why should other people care ?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

And how do you explain to the female students (you know, ones with XX chromosomes) should they stumble in upon the 'female' student changing and find themselves staring at the last turkey in the shop?

I'd be very surprised if her classmates didn't know. In my experience they know before the person in question tells anyone else.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

On a school outing, my daughter preffered to visit an SDF firepower review and climb Mt Fuji with the boys group, instead of visit a botanical garden and hot spring with the girls. There was no issue, and several boys opted to go with the girls group, and vice-versa.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Unfortunately, in elementary, middle and senior schools these students must be included in their original gender. If they stand up to pee they go with the boys. It's that simple! You can't have boy/girls using female toilets in schools. That's just ludicrous! You can't have boy/girls going on excursions with the girls either.

As for this 'outing' proposed by teachers, I can just imagine how it will go down. "Students, this is Yuki, he is a boy, but really he wants to be a girl. Don't make fun of him or her."

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Disillusioned.

Wrong, You and selected others can't. The vast majority don't care.

This morning I was in a Parco store there was ONE Toilet for both sexes with a small area(slide door) to change nappies.

Most small Izakaya, Ramen, etc shops only have ONE Toilet for everyone, family restaurants also are often uni-sex.

How would you handle it in a situation(private homes, etc) where no choice is available.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I can see another issue in some of these comments, and it has to do with being almost scared of how bodies look. Some people have insinuated that their precious daughter seeing a dongus would be the absolute worst thing ever. I do think it's kind of grotesque, and a bit of openness and body-positivity might get us a long way. Not saying we all have to be full-time nudists, just more open and honest about how our bodies are put together, and how little it actually matters.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

A male student who requests to be included in the female group for a school trip has outed himself. He hasn’t been outed by the teacher. School trips in Japan are highly coordinated events involving large numbers of teachers, students, and parents. So if a male student suddenly announced that he wanted to be in the female group

Not if the student only told the teacher in confidence. Nowhere does it say he announced to everyone:

"In one case, a student with gender identity disorder who was registered male at birth told a supervising teacher of wanting to be included in the female group for a school trip."

In cases like these, a teacher should recognize when it's an issue in over his/her head then find and consult with people who would know better how to proceed with the situation (one should always be aware that one has limitations)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

pacint: Most small Izakaya, Ramen, etc shops only have ONE Toilet for everyone, family restaurants also are often uni-sex.

Many places have uni-sex toilets. But they're not shared with someone else at the same time.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

 I'd bet that not many straight males would feel comfortable stripping naked and bathing with a whole onsen of females 

I volunteer to disprove that theory.

And doubletime if you would have asked me when I was 16.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

why is it always termed a "disorder"? some people are one way, some another

... and some people are one way but think/feel they are the other.

I'd bet that not many straight males would feel comfortable stripping naked and bathing with a whole onsen of females 

I volunteer to disprove that theory.

I too volunteer, so that we can make this study more statistically valid.

In one case, a student with gender identity disorder who was registered male at birth told a supervising teacher of wanting to be included in the female group for a school trip.

But before the student realized it, the teacher had told the classmates of the situation. A number of the classmates' parents later complained to the school.

Did the parents complain because of the outing or because a boy wanted to join the female school trip? Anyway, I hope the teacher told the boy that the matter would have to be discussed with the girls first.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

According to what people are saying now, gender is fluid and can change on a daily basis. So anything that is decided today is up for debate again tomorrow. With all the sensitivity training and social issues like these I wonder how teachers can get any actual teaching done

This is not remotely the point, nevermind the fact that gender identity and sexual orientation are completely different topics, psychologically or otherwise. Time to crack some books, or just give up.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

So, we have three changing rooms and three toilets, "MEN," "WOMEN," and "ETCETERA." Male bodies go in the first, female in the second and anyone who feels they don't belong in the first two can go in the etcetera group. Sorted.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

We get Male, Female, Handicapped/Wheelchair(unisex) and plain Universal all groups.

Recall the 70's travelling in southern Europe and often the only option was the plain squat toilet(unisex). Could be found from Spain over to Turkey.

If course back home we often had the outhouse(moveable) as it filled up.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I wonder if this "boy" expects to be allowed on the woman only carriage on the way to school.

Why does his right to feel like a woman trump the rights of all the other female passengers on the train who would be uncomfortable with his presence?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Anyway, I hope the teacher told the boy that the matter would have to be discussed with the girls first.

Uh-oh! Be careful there! People are going to think that you're viewing the opinions of real girls as more important than the opinions of pretend-girls!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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