National

Transgender woman with 8-year-old daughter sues over right to change sex listed in Japan's family register

Woman in Hyogo banned from doing so because she has a child who is still a minor

JIJI

A 52-year-old in Hyogo Prefecture has filed a claim challenging the constitutionality of a law that blocks people with children who are minors from changing their sex in the official family registry system maintained by Japanese authorities.

In the claim, filed Tuesday with the Amagasaki branch of the Kobe Family Court, a contract worker with an 8-year-old daughter sought to change her listed sex in the family register from male to female.

The woman has already relinquished custody of the girl. She had sex reassignment surgery this year.

“It’s unreasonable that I can’t change my sex (in the family register) because of my child,” the woman said at a news conference in Amagasaki after filing the claim.

A provision of the special law on gender identity disorder states that in order to change their sex on the family registry, an individual must have no child that is still a minor.

The woman claims that the law provision violates Article 14 of the Constitution, which ensures legal equality for all, and Article 13, which guarantees everyone’s right to pursue happiness.

According to the woman’s lawyer, Shun Nakaoka, such a condition for changing an individual’s listed sex is rarely seen in other countries.