Courts OK 52 sex-change registration applications

Family courts around the nation have approved 52 applications to change their officially registered gender since mid-July, when a new law took effect, according to a tally by a citizens’ group.

The Tokyo-based group, which supports people with gender identity disorder, said 100 applications had been filed with family courts nationwide by the end of November, of which 52 have been approved. No application has been rejected so far, it said.

“We are pleased that no application has been rejected,” the group said. “But we want the government to ease requirements for applications as soon as possible because many people are unable to file them due to the high hurdles.”

Nearly half the applications have been filed in Tokyo and Osaka family courts, and no applications were filed in 21 prefectures, the group said.

It is estimated there are more than 3,000 people in Japan with gender identity disorder.

However, it said the new law does not allow married people and those with children to apply for the gender registration change, and many people are excluded from the new system.

Under the law, people diagnosed by at least two doctors as having a different psychological makeup from their biological sex and a desire to live as the opposite sex both physically and socially can apply to change their registrations.

Applicants must be 20 or older, unmarried, have no kids, and no longer have functioning reproductive organs of their former gender following a sex-change operation.