Human Rights Watch Urges Japan To End Forced Trans Sterilization

"Forcing people to undergo unwanted surgeries to obtain documentation is contrary to [the country's] reputation as a champion of LGBT rights."

Human Rights Watch (HRW) recently issued a report urging Japan to end forced sterilization of trans people in order to obtain legal recognition.

As of 2003, trans people in Japan must "permanently lack functioning gonads" before they can be legally recognized with the correct gender markers.

The practice has been widely condemned by human rights organizations around the world, including the UN, who called "sterilization surgeries as a prerequisite to enjoy legal recognition of their preferred gender" a human rights violation.

Government officials in Japan have defended the policy, citing a need for "objectivity and certainty" in determining whether people were actually transgender and deserving of legal verification.

Recently, the Japanese government has taken positive steps toward improving LGBT rights on the island nation, including multiple municipalities in Japan legalizing marriage equality. The city of Iruma even elected Tomoya Hosoda, a trans man, to its city council.

But the country's continuation of this policy is "contrary to [its] reputation as a champion of LGBT rights," HRW says.

"The government should urgently revise [this law] to end forced sterilization," HRW wrote.

The report was released late last month as a part of the UN's 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign.

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