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Japan court issues landmark ruling on transgender parent’s rights

Friday, December 13, 2013

TOKYO — Japan’s Supreme Court this week ruled that a toddler born to a transgender man and his wife through artificial insemination shall be regarded as their legitimate child.

JapanThe landmark ruling was the first by a Japanese court in the country where there are currently no laws that stipulate who shall be regarded as the father of children born through artificial insemination by donor.

Previous to the court’s decision, the Japanese Justice Ministry had determined that babies born to transgender people and their spouses through artificial insemination were illegitimate, with Ministry officials stating that “it is clear that there are no blood relations between them.”

The disparity however was that children born to men and women undergoing fertility treatments and were conceived through artificial insemination were recognized as the couple’s legitimate offspring.

In the case decided by the Supreme Court, a 31-year-old transgender man and his wife sought registration of their first-born son as their legitimate child at Shiso City Hall, but that city’s municipal government refused the application.

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His wife, also 31, had conceived with sperm donated by a third party. The boy is now 4 years old and the couple also has a second son who was conceived through artificial insemination.

The couple then submitted the same application in Tokyo, where the husband is legally domiciled. Officials refused to register the husband as the boy’s father after discovering on his family register that he was born female and underwent a sex change operation after being diagnosed as suffering from gender identity disorder.

Instead, officials deemed the child as illegitimate and left blank the space to record the father’s name.

On Tuesday, Justice Takehiko Otani ruled that the child and the husband are in a legitimate parent-child relationship, even though they do not have blood relations.

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Filed under: Asia

37 more reader comments:

  1. Great strides!

    Posted on Friday, December 13, 2013 at 7:11pm
  2. That is fantastic news. Been way to many news stories about bad and rights being taken away from LGBTQ peoples.

    Posted on Friday, December 13, 2013 at 7:16pm
  3. That’s wonderful!

    Posted on Friday, December 13, 2013 at 7:22pm
  4. I would love to go to Japan!

    Posted on Friday, December 13, 2013 at 7:25pm
  5. How beautiful.

    Posted on Friday, December 13, 2013 at 7:25pm
  6. That’s great!
    Sadly, it was when Japan became westernized that attitudes changed. Before the west (Christian missionaries) showed up, homosexuality and gender bending/changing was normal. In fact most samuri believed you can only love an equal-another samuri.

    Posted on Friday, December 13, 2013 at 7:32pm
  7. You said it perfectly.

    Replied on Friday, December 13, 2013 at 7:59pm
  8. I thought genderbending was still normal. :/

    Replied on Friday, December 13, 2013 at 10:45pm
  9. acceptance of being gay is happening in japan but it is mostly in urban areas...

    Replied on Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 3:00am
  10. *samurai

    Replied on Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 3:33am
  11. Acceptance of homosexuality is all over japan. They're just a very pruney country. It's considered embarrassing to even hold your significant other's hand.

    Replied on Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 3:34am
  12. The only thing illegal is marriage.

    Replied on Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 3:34am
  13. Excellent!

    Posted on Friday, December 13, 2013 at 7:34pm
  14. thums up

    Posted on Friday, December 13, 2013 at 7:42pm
  15. Rock on Japan!

    Posted on Friday, December 13, 2013 at 7:52pm
  16. Awesome!!! Japan is getting it right!!

    Posted on Friday, December 13, 2013 at 7:53pm
  17. FABOULUS

    Posted on Friday, December 13, 2013 at 8:02pm
  18. this is amazing

    Posted on Friday, December 13, 2013 at 8:02pm
  19. well @least the father is properly gendered .

    Posted on Friday, December 13, 2013 at 8:37pm
  20. Come on!

    Posted on Friday, December 13, 2013 at 9:04pm
  21. awesome

    Posted on Friday, December 13, 2013 at 9:22pm
  22. Great!!

    Posted on Friday, December 13, 2013 at 9:25pm
  23. *landmark ruling on parents’ rights

    Posted on Friday, December 13, 2013 at 10:45pm
  24. Hercules, Hercules, Hercules!!!!!!!

    Posted on Friday, December 13, 2013 at 11:40pm
  25. Yes yes good.

    Posted on Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 12:04am
  26. GREAT NEWS

    Posted on Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 2:48am
  27. :) Yosh!

    Posted on Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 3:05am
  28. All that Visual Kei fanservice really pays off

    Posted on Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 6:48am
  29. Finally! Some news that other countries aren’t all fucking barbarians like the Indians this week showed they are

    Posted on Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 11:48am
  30. Glad they finally got it right. Annoyed at the pain they caused until they DID.

    Posted on Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 1:50pm
  31. I hope we can see marriage equality in Japan soon! :)

    Posted on Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 3:22pm
  32. All right!

    Posted on Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 4:06pm
  33. well d country where sunrays hit first…progressive

    Posted on Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 6:10pm
  34. japan got this right. thank you.

    Posted on Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 9:31pm
  35. ♡♡♡

    Posted on Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 10:52pm
  36. Lovely news .The land of the rising sun ^_^ Love ya Japan

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 1:20am
  37. YEAH JAPAN! Australia needs to take notes!

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 6:31am