National / Crime & Legal

Sex change plaintiff wins damages over golf course snub

Kyodo

A businesswoman in Shizuoka Prefecture who changed her registered sex from male to female due to gender identity disorder has won a damages suit with a golf course operator that refused her membership based on the sex change.

The Hamamatsu branch of the Shizuoka District Court on Monday ordered the members-only golf course in the city of Kosai to pay ¥1.1 million in damages to the 59-year-old plaintiff, who had demanded a total of ¥5.88 million.

The plaintiff runs a company in Shizuoka Prefecture. Following legal procedures, she changed her sex from male to female in her family registry in 2010. She filed a membership application to the golf course in 2012 but it was rejected because of the gender change. No reasonable explanation was provided, according to the plaintiff.

In handing down the ruling, presiding Judge Kenjiro Furuya said it is illegal for the golf course to reject membership based on a sex change.

Lawyers for the defendant had insisted that the golf course has certain levels of freedom in selecting its members, citing freedom of association stipulated in Article 21 of the Constitution.

The judge said, however, “the psychological damage the plaintiff suffered is immense and can’t be ignored.”