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Court upholds 'sterilization' rule for gender change

80 Comments
By Dominique Faget

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Disgraceful.

3 ( +24 / -21 )

WTF? Why? This is monstrous!

2 ( +22 / -20 )

They said the measure was intended to prevent "problems" in parent-child relations that could lead to societal "confusion" and "abrupt changes" in society.

No, the intentions are to keep people in the dark ages here!

7 ( +23 / -16 )

Wow, Japan. Whatever your feelings on the gender issue, the idea of forced surgery is pretty damn frightening.

14 ( +25 / -11 )

any law that requires my genitals to look a certain way for any reason is just stupid what if I have surgery and the court doesn't like the way my genitals look do I have to do it again

8 ( +18 / -10 )

How about just sticking with male and female, like every other mammal on earth.

3 ( +38 / -35 )

Japan, leading the charge into the 20th century!

7 ( +21 / -14 )

No, really... I don't get the point of the people protesting this rule. Where exactly is the problem here? Dumbing it down for those not getting my question: naturally women can't have children with other women, they need men for that. The opposite is also true Where's the problem when ensuring this doesn't happen with a transgender?

-6 ( +18 / -24 )

Welcome to Japan 1919. What an absolute disgrace this is!

0 ( +23 / -23 )

Where's the problem when ensuring this doesn't happen with a transgender?

Forced sterilization of the citizenry.

Yoy don’t see the problem with that? Wow.

15 ( +28 / -13 )

They even forced people to do sterilization in the past and it finally stopped in 1996. So invasive Law before and still exist today in another form.

https://japantoday.com/category/national/update1-2-more-sue-state-over-forced-sterilization-under-eugenics-law

10 ( +19 / -9 )

Obviously no, I don't. My first question stands. We're not talking drag queens here, but persons choosing to completely change their gender, legally. Where's the problem with ensuring that this actually happend?

3 ( +16 / -13 )

How about just sticking with male and female, like every other mammal on earth.

You're conflating gender and sex.

-4 ( +18 / -22 )

My first question stands. We're not talking drag queens here, but persons choosing to completely change their gender, legally. Where's the problem with ensuring that this actually happend?

They want to change their gender, not their sex.

-6 ( +13 / -19 )

Chip star, show me a definition of legal gender where it is not defined as "one of the two sexes".

9 ( +20 / -11 )

Where's the problem with ensuring that this actually happend?

I'm not up on the nuances of transgender procedures, but from the sound of it, the law could force people to have procedures they do not necessarily need or want. The government can't be allowed to do that.

11 ( +21 / -10 )

For this act, taken straight from the nazi playbook, one wonders what the 'japan does no wrong' crowd really think. Wonders indeed.

-2 ( +15 / -17 )

Say what!!?

0 ( +7 / -7 )

any law that requires my genitals to look a certain way for any reason is just stupid

The government in no way “requires” people to mutilate their bodies. People who choose to cosmetically ‘change sexes’ to match their mental state do the mutilation voluntarily. It seems that what is required is that if a man wants the government to recognize him as a women, he must physically become a woman. That doesn’t seem to be too much to ask.

In order for such an artificial transformation to occur it would be impossible not to become sterile. Men do not have the DNA and chromosomes of a woman - and vice versa. If a woman whose mental state tells her she is a man but can conceive in the manner of a biological women she is scientifically not a man. Why pretend otherwise. Seriously, why is this not plainly obvious? It’s just science.

-1 ( +17 / -18 )

One more thing: in Japanese gender, if you wish is written as 性別. Which actually means:"distinction by sex". Nothing else.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

I am really starting to wonder if it is necessary to put a sex on Birth or any other documents. If all citizens are equal under the law, what purpose does it serve?

5 ( +16 / -11 )

So what happens when a transgender person gets a uterine transplant? Uterine transplants have been done with successful live births, there is no medical reason this can't be replicated on a transgender person although the birth would probably have to be in C-section.

Anyhow, Japan's human rights standard is so low, still stuck in the 1941 standard. When will Japan change.

-3 ( +11 / -14 )

Chip: They want to change their gender, not their sex.

So a transgender man is male by gender and female by sex? Therefore referring to that person as “her” would be technically correct.

2 ( +10 / -8 )

Great news

Japan can do no wrong folks

if people are going to claim to be one gender or the other, they had netter look the part.

If you change from woman to man (which is nonsense) we don't need "men" who can give birth in society.

I don't even know where or how to begin.

0 ( +10 / -10 )

Japan can be challenged at the international court. However, the court decision reflects the culture of people, so within Japan it is OK.

-9 ( +6 / -15 )

Enforced sterilisation. Disgusting.

2 ( +13 / -11 )

Luddite, it happened before.

-11 ( +4 / -15 )

Chip star, show me a definition of legal gender where it is not defined as "one of the two sexes".

Sex and gender are two different things. Sex is biological, gender is just a load of social stereotypes. People are able to procreate due to their biology, it doesn't stop them being transgender though.

-3 ( +11 / -14 )

I am really starting to wonder if it is necessary to put a sex on Birth or any other documents. If all citizens are equal under the law, what purpose does it serve?

Biology. You'd want your heathcare provider to know as it could effect your treatment.

So what happens when a transgender person gets a uterine transplant? Uterine transplants have been done with successful live births, there is no medical reason this can't be replicated on a transgender person although the birth would probably have to be in C-section.

There has been one utuerus transplant, to a woman, that resulted in a pregnancy. Putting a uterus in a man is not enough, there is a bit more to developing a foetus than just having a uterus.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

So when I read the news in Japan, I hardly ever hear news that someone from the LGBT had done something bad. Yet every other day you hear news of some straight parent either abusing, injuring or outright killing their kids. I’m pretty sure who needs to be sterilised.

-1 ( +10 / -11 )

I get the feeling most people are just reading the headline and becoming so enraged they cannot see the forest for the trees. The government isnt grabbing transgenders and forcing sterilization. This is about people who choose to go all the way to being legally recognised as another gender. Its one of the requirements for that recognition. Just like taking a Japanese name is a requirement for being legally recognised as a Japanese citizen.

-2 ( +11 / -13 )

I'm probably going to get slated for this: If you're born a man then you're a man; if you're born a woman then you're a woman. You can't pick and choose these things, and you certainly can't start trying to change state laws over it. Reminds me a bit of the Bill C-16 thing in Canada when people started trying to force others to address them as something they're biologically not.

-4 ( +13 / -17 )

And remember, it's not only requiring trans people to sterilise ourselves, we also have to do it entirely out of our own pocket. The system here pathologises us and forces us to get surgeries to sterilise ourselves that some don't even want, but it doesn't even insure us for the treatment of the sickness they say we have.

4 ( +12 / -8 )

It also requires the person to have "a body which appears to have parts that resemble the genital organs of those of the opposite gender."

Thing is a large clitoris isn't too dissimilar - visually/anatomically - from a very small penis (especially if you're very hairy 'down there'). Worth appealing i reckon!

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

Although I do see the intent of this law; requiring the criteria of no opposite sex reproductive capabilities to qualify for legal sex change status, there must be another way.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

This ruling doesn't force anyone to do anything. It simply states the criteria for changing gender on birth certificates. It is entirely voluntarily whether someone wants to meet the standard.

As usual, LGBTQ activists throwing a fit when they don't get what they want.

1 ( +15 / -14 )

The government shouldn’t have the right to EVER demand sterilization for anything.

Facepalm.

3 ( +12 / -9 )

Are the judges deciding a person transitioning from a man must have their ovaries removed? What are the long term health risks? Is this for the judges to decide?

This should be left to the medical professionals and the individuals who possess the parts.

Since when does the Japanese judiciary give a rats bottom about parent-child relationships. If that were something they actually cared about, they'd be ruling in favour of access for non-custodial parents and advocating for joint-custody.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

@taj

I think the judges are just playing it safe and not wanting to deal with the potential bureaucratic nightmare of a registered man giving birth to a child.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Chip star, show me a definition of legal gender where it is not defined as "one of the two sexes".

"As of August 31, 2017, Canadians can indicate that they do not identify as male or female on their passports." That is from Wikipedia but it is public information and easily obtained.

That is of course defining one's sex. I'd be curious to see how a legal definition of gender (which is identity based) would work in the 21st century. I don't know if I've ever met 2 people who are truly the exact same gender as we probably all have different ideas of what it means to be a man or a woman or other. That people do not fit into impossibly narrow definitions of what it means to be whatever society/cultures thinks they should be is not a failure of the person but of the classifications and perhaps language.

Ultimately, I always have to wonder what should give any person or group of people the right to tell others what to do with their own bodies and minds and why are so many people preoccupied with it. Ultimately I think we are all on a quest to find ourselves and be comfortable in our own skins and that should bond us together not divide us.

There is a lot more grey in this world than there is black or white.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

 Dumbing it down for those not getting my question: naturally women can't have children with other women, they need men for that.

Well, maybe so, but there are plenty of sperm donors out there!

1 ( +5 / -4 )

So, not trying to get into the morality of this, but just trying to understand how this would work.

If an individual who is born male, with male genitalia including testes, wants to transition to female and be officially recognized as female, they would need to have a vasectomy to meet the letter of the law. Yes?

Question: Do most individuals that are born male and transition to female in terms of gender generally have their male genitalia removed? I genuinely don't know, so a genuine question.

If an individual who is born female, with female genitalia and reproductive organs, wants to transition to male and officially be recognized as male, they would need to have their tubes tied or a hysterectomy. Yes?

Another Question: What do most individuals that are born female and transition to male in terms of gender generally do, regardless of the law?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Luddite

"I am really starting to wonder if it is necessary to put a sex on Birth or any other documents. If all citizens are equal under the law, what purpose does it serve?

Biology. You'd want your heathcare provider to know as it could effect your treatment.

I've never been to a doctor that didn't have me fill out forms where I could identify what the issues might be and information about myself. I pretty much always have to write out important medical information for my doctor before being seen. They don't use my sex from any document to make decisions without that additional information.

A notable exception is possibly in emergency situations. But emergency situations means that they're probably not checking your birth certificate or other documents, either.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

This ruling doesn't force anyone to do anything. It simply states the criteria for changing gender on birth certificates. It is entirely voluntarily whether someone wants to meet the standard.

As usual, LGBTQ activists throwing a fit when they don't get what they want.

This is true but perhaps the issue here isn't what defines a male or a female but that you can only choose A or B. There is probably a degree of misunderstanding all around here, I agree. It's not the ruling itself that worries me it is the further ignorance for the need for greater flexibility in terms of legal definitions of sex to accommodate people who don;t necessarily fit well into either category.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Why am I not surprised?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I agree with the courts decision.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

I make no claims to understanding this issue, but it occurs to me that the law might be intended as a way of stopping backdoor gay marriages.

The harder it is to change sex legally, the harder it will be for one member of a gay partnership to change sex so they can marry as heterosexuals. Like the current practice of some gays adopting their partner, they would do this to create a family relationship under the law.

I would also imagine that at least some of the people making the law have as little understanding of the issue as myself.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

Maybe it’s time to let the old ways die. Old ways really holding Japan back instead of encouraging progress. I’d say, youth revolution. Let the young ones decide their own future.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Forgive if I'm wrong, but the sex change surgery explicitly renders that individual incapable of bearing or fathering (as applicable). So as I see it, the main point of this ruling is to reinforce the legal stance that an individual will not receive legal status as a different gender until they have undergone the surgery (and by extension, rendered themselves infertile). Rather than being about forcing people to have the surgery (although it certainly presents them with very few options), this is more about telling people that self-identification makes no difference to your legal status. This in turn could have a significant impact on other areas, such as toilet usage, since it gives others the capability to cite this ruling when denying individuals in transition the use of the appropriate facilities. But to be honest, I'm not sure if this has even become an issue here in Japan yet.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Anyone need more proof that Japan is reverting to extreme right wing governance?

Government mandated sterilization is back in Japan after a 15ish year pause.

I dont understand trans people very well but forced sterilization of people undergoing their change is against global human fundamental rights.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

The harder it is to change sex legally, the harder it will be for one member of a gay partnership to change sex so they can marry as heterosexuals. 

This is not an option for gay people. They do not wish to be a different gender; following surgery they would be stuck in the wrong body. Furthermore, a gay man (for example) would now have a female partner, the opposite of what he feels naturally attracted to. It's hard to imagine any gay couple would make such a drastic, psychologically destructive change just to get married. The only place I have heard of gay people having sex changes is Turkey, where it is routinely used as an alternative to a lengthy jail sentence.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Basic human rights just never caught on in Japan...

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Babies are born with female, male, or indeterminate (one in 2,000) looking external genitals, and as high as one in 60 if other variations are included. It is the doctor who visually examines and declares a baby to be male or female – even for those with ambiguous genitalia. Doctors still operate on babies to ‘fix’ the problem and in doing so sometimes make mistakes – creating the wrong set of external genitals. And it is possible for gender to still be indeterminate up to puberty although sex is assigned at birth. It would really suck to require sterilisation – for example, removal of ovaries, for a woman who at birth appeared to be male or who was incorrectly made male and thus assigned to the male sex. Her choice here is to continue to be labelled male, even though she otherwise looks to be, and lives as a female.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I approve the decision.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Not a bad law. If you are a male and want to become a female, then lose that penis.

Then penal transplants from the men that gave up their penis can help women that want to be men make the transition.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Another Question: What do most individuals that are born female and transition to male in terms of gender generally do, regardless of the law?

Essentially, according to this law, a trans woman (assigned male at birth, gender identity is female) would have to undergo a vaginoplasty to change her penis into a vagina. This would render her infertile. Conversely, a trans man would have to have a phalloplasty to create a penis.

There are varying degrees of what trans people do to feel more comfortable with their bodies. Some simply acknowledge that they're trans and leave it there, not doing anything else. Some come out and live as their identified gender without any medical intervention. Some undergo hormone therapy (estrogen with testosterone blockers for trans women, testosterone for trans men) and live as their identified gender, and some also undergo surgical procedures, like vaginoplasty, phalloplasty, double mastectomy, breast enhancement (trans women do grow breasts naturally but some choose to have a breast enhancement), facial feminisation, etc.

Surgery isn't necessary to be valid as a trans person, nor are hormones - there are many reasons someone cannot or will not undergo those procedures. Speaking as a trans woman myself, I'm taking estrogen and testosterone inhibitors, and I'm saving up for a vaginoplasty. I won't be having a breast enhancement or facial feminisation surgery, but I'll probably choose to have a tracheal shave (remove the Adam's apple). I'm fortunate in that I come from the uk, where no surgery is required for trans people to change their recorded sex, and as such I have been able to change all of my documrnts in Japan to female through my passport.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

People will never be able to maximize their well-being until they stop disregarding the well-being of others.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

I'm probably going to get slated for this: If you're born a man then you're a man; if you're born a woman then you're a woman

I wonder how you would deal with people with Swyer syndrome? Those people with XY chromosomes but who are born with the appearance and organs of women? Or others who have other intersex bodies, such as hermaphrodites. How do you determine what sex they should be?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Just learn to accept your genitals. It's ok to have a penis.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

To be honest, I don't really understand why it even matters if someone calls them self a male/female or undetermined. If women and men are supposed to be equal how does it change anything? The answer is that men and women ARE NOT considered equal in everyones' minds. Perhaps there are people out there that don't care, but there are enough to make it a problem.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Jim Harper.

If you read my post, it is about one member of a gay couple having an "on paper" change of 性別 so that they can get married to someone of the same sex. They would not be changing their lifestyle or bodies or dress or anything. There would be no "drastic, psychologically destructive change" at all. It would be the same as married couples who get divorced on paper to game the benefits system, or pretending to be a couple to get a spouse visa, etc. etc.

The above is only an issue of course because the Japanese government does not recognize gay marriage. I support it myself, not least because the Japanese government should completely overhaul the way it looks at all families, heterosexual ones included.

fwiw, it sounds like the Olympics required male-born competitors to have surgery before competing as women until 2015. That's only four years ago, and shows how quickly LGBT issues are progressing. There are plenty of issues that have made no progress whatsoever in this period.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transgender_people_in_sports

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Ill never understand why anyone would want to support the mutilation of healthy genitalias.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Call me a prude, but my visceral thoughts on the issue are that as a woman I do not welcome the day when anyone with a penis can enter the woman's bath in an onsen provided they say "I identify as female"...what's to stop cis lechers from lying about it??

7 ( +8 / -1 )

fwiw, it sounds like the Olympics required male-born competitors to have surgery before competing as women until 2015. That's only four years ago, and shows how quickly LGBT issues are progressing. There are plenty of issues that have made no progress whatsoever in this period.

Interesting - wasn't aware. But it seems that for those men who wish to compete as women need to have absurdly low levels of testosterone for over a year, which presumably needs some medical intervention to achieve.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Call me a prude, but my visceral thoughts on the issue are that as a woman I do not welcome the day when anyone with a penis can enter the woman's bath in an onsen provided they say "I identify as female"...what's to stop cis lechers from lying about it??

No so much that you are a prude, but rather this is off-topic - we are a) talking about those who have physically changed sex as well as gender and b) this is about whether you have to be sterlialised before the state will recognise your sex change.

This has nothing to do with a man identifying as a woman and entering an onsen.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

All operations carry risks, not in the least such "sterilization" operations as being touted by the Supreme Court.

Being uneccessarily forced to undergo such an operation based on some percieved "confusion in society" notion by the geritocracy is entirely fallacious.

And they give themselves an "out" by declaring future decisions may change.

How Weak.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Incorrect. Other mammals have hermaphrodite individuals. Female marsupials have multiple vaginas- so they aren't like us. Some males have two penises so not like us.

Burning BushToday  07:27 am JST

How about just sticking with male and female, like every other mammal on earth.

>

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

No one is being forced to have any surgery. They are simply reserving recognition of a sex change to those who have had the surgery. A pregnant "man" with a "female" father is what they want to avoid, along with "last year I was male, now I'm female, so I want to change back".

Sex and gender are the same thing, no matter how many times you chant the mantra.

Japan is simply using the definition of sex that everyone has agreed on for the past...hundred thousand years? Good on them.

Let's work on getting gay and lesbian marriage legal, not this nonsense.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Transgender is pretty broad. It now encompasses those who don't conform to social norms for their gender (boy that likes playing with barbies, or girl who likes hanging with the boys) all the way to transsxuals (those wanting to change their sx organs). We should split this up. I think the big-tent term is dividing people. Even back in the 60s I don't think people had too much of an issue with "tomboys" etc.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

In Japanese gender = 性別

and sex = 性別

For all comments drawing a difference between gender and sex, you have to remember that gender is a Western social construct that has not taken hold in Japan. This story is about sex change. Because gender does not exist in Japan.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Fouxdefa:

There's a Canadian man who ID's as a six year old girl (trans-age) and an American who ID's as black (transracial). Oddly, these aren't accepted and those wanting mainstreaming of LGBT rights reject those that want the same rights. Shouldn't they be standing up for transage and transracials too? LGBTgraQI

2 ( +3 / -1 )

AgentX:

Believe it or not, Japan post ww1 (yes, they were allies in the war) championed racial equality, but the imperial powers rejected such "nonsense." Guess who they thought was superior?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

jansob1Today 07:17 pm JST

No one is being forced to have any surgery. They are simply reserving recognition of a sex change to those who have had the surgery. A pregnant "man" with a "female" father is what they want to avoid, along with "last year I was male, now I'm female, so I want to change back".

Of course no one is being "forced" literally to undergo surgery, but by stating that all persons wishing to be officially documented as another sex, must biologically , internally & externally have such an appearance. Which means one can only be documented by having surgery. So yes - it's a choice, to cut or not to cut. And the chances of your examples confusing society as the Sup Court put it, are so remote and would represent a fraction of a fraction of a single %. The world will not keel over tomorrow.

And you said, "...Sex and gender are the same thing, no matter how many times you chant the mantra..."

Well that's one opinion. It is still being discussed & debated, but modern English usage of the terms more often than not refers to Sex as being the biological decider and Gender as being a social construct based on behavioural, cultural social desires and characteristics. English being the dynamic language it is, allows for such fluidity, regardless of the meaning of words centuries ago.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

This is court protected good trans-fix preventing going back and forth.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Well say if someone who was born a female identified as a "male" but had birth?

A male giving birth would not make any legal sense.... Especially as there are legal rules pertaining to women only (period of not being able to remarry 再婚禁止期間 - for the purpose of determining father of child etc) .

0 ( +3 / -3 )

seek asylum as a gender bender in another country

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

@Cosmos1

seek asylum as a gender bender in another country

Indeed, this tactic would work in France or Canada citing this ruling.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

A male giving birth would not make any legal sense.... 

It doesn’t make any biological sense either but that doesn’t stop wacky people from believing it’s possible. Denial of basic science and common sense in the service of social justice is no vice.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Good, this rule will force those who want to change their "gender" to really evaluate about what they want before they make the decision , this will prevent the "i feel like men last year, but this year i feel like woman, so society and goverenment should treat me like woman now". This will prevent confusion too like "why there is a human with penis in woman bathroom" and vice versa.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I wonder how many women would be happy with someone who is a "woman" on the basis of gender identification but who has working male genitalia showing up in their changing room at sports centers and gyms.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

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