News (World)

Transgender woman in Japan denied parental rights to her own child

Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan - May 8 2016: Person holding rainbow poster Love Wins in Pride festivities.
Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan - May 8 2016: Person holding rainbow poster Love Wins in Pride festivities. Photo: Shutterstock

A trans woman in Japan was denied legal rights to her own daughter after an appeal to the nation’s highest court.

According to Japan Times, the unidentified couple, a cisgender woman and a transgender woman, conceived their second daughter with sperm preserved before the transgender partner’s medical transition.

While Japanese law recognizes the trans woman’s parental rights to her first child, born before transition, the country’s Supreme Court held it does not recognize her rights to the second, born after transition. No further details were immediately available.

Gender transition has been legally accepted in the island nation since 2004, but the law imposes strict requirements to change a gender marker, including psychiatric evaluation and removal of the sex organs, including sterilization.

According to reports, the transgender partner was legally permitted to change her gender on her family register four years ago.

In February, a lower court ruled: “There is currently nothing in Japanese law to recognize her parental rights.”

Friday’s high court ruling confirmed the lower court’s judgement.

The transgender woman’s partner, as birth mother, retains parental rights to both the couple’s daughters.

Japan has no laws on the books preventing discrimination against LGBTQ people, despite voting repeatedly for United Nations Human Rights Council resolutions calling for an end to anti-LGBTQ discrimination and violence.

It’s also the only G7 nation – a group that includes the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and the U.K. – to bar same-sex marriage.

After one court ruled in 2021 that the same-sex ban was unconstitutional, raising hopes for the LGBTQ community in Japan, another court overruled the decision in June.

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