It was found that the family court allowed two intersex persons in their twenties, who were born as girls, but identified as male due to disorders of sex development (DSD), to change their gender status on the family registry without sex change operation in 2015 and 2016.
The family court’s decision is something we should celebrate because the inability to change gender status on the family registry had been a big obstacle for intersex people to alleviate gender dysphoria. For your information, people living with gender identity disorder (GID) are not allowed to change their gender status on the family registry without sex change operation, which a lot of people criticize.
Let me share some basic knowledge about how intersex people came to be recognized in Japan.
In 1996, one of the most famous gay rights activists, Fushimi Noriaki published a book titled “Queer Paradise. Welcome to the maze of gender”. In that book, Mr. Fushimi wrote about Hideo Hashimoto, a guy who made a support group for intersex people for the first time in Japan, which led to wider recognition of intersex in Japan. Mr. Hashimoto also published books about intersex people after that.
In 2003, Chiyo Rokuhana started a new manga titled “IS -not a man or a woman-”. The manga caught a lot of media attention and its TV drama was made in 2011.
We can not forget Sho Arai’s famous manga, “Seibetsu ga nai! (meaning I’m not a man or a woman, either!)”. The manga has been very popular since it was published in 2005. The author shared the author’s experience as intersex in a funny way. It’s going to be a movie soon.
On the other hand, it is true that some intersex people do not tell others that they are intersex and do not want to join in LGBTQ social movements together.
There is a page titled “Are we members of LGBT social movements groups?” on the website of Japan Intersex Initiative, a support group for intersex people launched in 2003. The website introduces a variety of viewpoints about regarding intersex as a part of LGBT. This problem needs more time to be solved.
In 2009, The Japanese Society for Pediatric Endocrinology established guidelines for diagnosing DSD. After that, Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare made a webpage for disorders of sex development.