Japan’s education ministry reportedly sent out a statement on Thursday urging schools to increase support for transgender students. The Japan Times reported that government officials have asked school boards in the region to allow children to use bathrooms and changing rooms they feel most comfortable with.
“This is a very important step,” Mameta Endo, a 28-year-old transgender man, told the Japan Times, adding that he had been discriminated against while in school. “I have seen a lot of friends who have been pressured to quit school… I hope this decision will help reduce the number of these students.
As of last summer, the Japanese school system had more than 600 students with gender dysphoria. About two-thirds of them were given “special consideration,” according to a translation of an Excite News article from June 2014. These policies mainly included letting children wear the clothes that best suited them and allowed them to wear their clothes. use nurses’ desks to change clothes before physical education classes.
News of the Education Ministry’s notice broke in early March, when the Asahi Shimbun announced that the government would require schools to do more to protect all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students. against harassment. The Education Ministry had previously only recognized students with gender identity disorder, but the Japan Times reported that Thursday’s notice called for accommodation of other sexual minority groups.
These decisions by the Ministry of Education correspond to what some see as a growing trend in the acceptance of LGBT people in Japan.
In November, Fuji Hokuryo High School in Yamanashi Prefecture held a “Gender Change Day” where uniform rules were lifted to allow men to wear skirts and women to wear costumes. More than 90 percent of the student body participated, according to Queer.hr.
Last month, Tokyo’s Shibuya district kicked off the process of recognizing same-sex marriages by passing an ordinance giving couples access to “partnership certificates.” CNN reported that the certificates, the first of which is due in July, allow residents in same-sex relationships to co-sign leases and have hospital visitation rights. “The goal is to achieve a society where everyone can live in hope,” Mayor Toshitake Kuwahara told reporters.