Tuesday 21 November 2017

It's been a pretty great week for LGBTQ rights in Japan

By Prudence Wade

Sapporo looks set to become the first city to officially recognise same-sex partnerships between LGBTQ couples.

Thanks to a new initiative being launched by the city of Sapporo and the election of the first transgender man to public office, it’s been a positive week for the LGBTQ community in Japan.

Sapporo looks set to become the first city to officially recognise same-sex partnerships between LGBTQ couples. The programme will begin in May, according to the Japan Times.

In April 2015, Shibuya Ward in Tokyo became the first place to recognise same-sex partnerships as equivalent to marriage. While some other municipalities followed their example, Sapporo will be the first major city to make the move.

It’s a positive move for same-sex couples, but it’s by no means everything. Couples are given “proof of partnership” (meaning they are entitled to the benefits of family members, such as becoming recipients of life insurance money), but it’s up to corporations to comply as it isn’t actually enshrined in law.

This isn’t the only positive move for the LGBTQ community. Last weekend, 25-year-old Tomoya Hosoda became a councillor for the city of Iruma – reportedly the first transgender man elected to public office in the world.

According to Stonewall, Hosoda came out and transitioned when at Teikyo University’s Department of Clinical Laboratory Science, and changed his name and gender in the family registry in 2015.

Tomoya Hosoda

Tomoya Hosoda updated his profile picture.

Hosoda said: “Until recently, people have acted as if sexual minorities do not exist. We have many hurdles to overcome, but I hope to live up to everyone’s expectations.”

Stonewall says that Hosoda is the second transgender politician to be elected in Japan and the first transgender man to be elected in the world. He has said that he not only plans to fight for LGBTQ rights, but also for the rights of the disabled and the elderly.

Press Association

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