Japan Court OKs Sex Change without Surgery

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Hiroshima High Court

Hiroshima, July 10 (Jiji Press) — A Japanese court Wednesday ruled in favor of changing the sex of a transgender person on the family register from male to female without gender reassignment surgery, according to a lawyer for a petitioner.

Hiroshima High Court made the decision after the Supreme Court in October last year found a provision under a law on gender dysphoria to be unconstitutional because it effectively requires surgery to eliminate reproductive capacity as a condition for changing sex on the family register.

Meanwhile, the top court stopped short of ruling on another requirement, which makes it mandatory to have an appearance similar to that of the preferred sex, effectively requiring gender reassignment surgery. It sent the issue back to the high court.

In the day’s decision, the high court said that there is suspicion that the appearance requirement is unconstitutional.

The court said that whether gender reassignment surgery is necessary as a physical treatment for gender dysphoria varies from patient to patient.

The requirement poses an excessive restriction that forces people with gender dysphoria to take physically invasive surgery or give up on a legal judgment of gender change, the court said, referring to a suspicion of unconstitutionality.

As for the appearance requirement, the court said it would be sufficient if the external genitalia of transgender people cause no particular doubt.

Hormone therapy is usually given to people with gender dysphoria, the court said, adding that it has been medically confirmed that change occurs in the shape of the external genitalia after the therapy.

Regarding the petitioner, the court stated that feminization of various parts of the petitioner has been recognized.

The day’s ruling would have an impact on decisions on similar cases at family courts since the direction of judgment has become clear, said Kazuyuki Minami, a lawyer for the petitioner.

“My wish from the time I can remember has finally come true,” the petitioner said through the lawyer. “I’m very happy to be released from the difficulty of living due to the gap between the gender in my social life and the sex on the family register.”