90% of transgender job-seekers experience problems in Japan


Around 90% of transgender job seekers have experienced problems when applying for jobs in Japan, according to a survey.

In a poll of 241 LGBT+ people taken last year, respondents cited the gender box on applications and standardised CVs as problematic.

Researchers carrying out the study for the nonprofit organisation ReBit asked people to choose the most appropriate answers from a list of job-hunting problems they have encountered.

The most common answer among transgender people was discomfort at how to fill in the gender box on their “rirekisho” – resumes with a standardised format – and on preliminary application forms.

The survey also found that around 40% of gay and bisexual people with experience looking for employment had experienced negative encounters during the process, including being asked questions related to their sexuality at interviews.

Specifically, HR staff or interviewers had asked questions or made statements based on the assumption that the respondent was not a member of the LGBT+ community.

LGBT campaigners attend a Pride event in Tokyo, Japan

Members of the LGBT community attend the annual Tokyo Rainbow Parade (Martin BUREAU / AFP)

Around 95% of the respondents said they had felt the need for support during their employment search.

ReBit head Mika Yakushi told The Mainichi newspaper: “There’s a big role to play there for support organisations that people depend on. There is a need to raise staff awareness and promote learning about this issue through creating manuals and running study sessions.”

Last year, a study found almost half of LGBT+ people are closeted at work.

The research, conducted by the Human Rights Campaign, found that 46% of LGBT+ employees in the US hide their sexuality at their place of employment.

This represented just a four percent drop from HRC’s 2008 Degrees of Equality report, which was created before Barack Obama’s presidency, before same-sex marriage was legalised across the US and before transgender rights became a prominent issue in the civil rights struggle.

The study found 53% of LGBT+ workers have heard jokes about lesbian or gay people at least once in a while at work.

In a separate survey of 1,000 UK workplaces, 43% of employers said that they are “unsure” if they would hire a transgender person in their workplace.

Out of the 1 in 3 employers admitting they are “less likely” to hire a transgender person, just 8% said that they believe they should have the same rights to be employed as a cisgendered person, in a survey carried out by Crossland Employment Solicitors.