Trans woman who froze sperm before transitioning barred from being own child’s legal parent

In this stock photo, two women hold a baby as it touches both of their faces

A trans woman in Japan has been blocked by a court from being her own biological child’s legal parent.

According to Japan Times, the anonymous trans woman had frozen her sperm before beginning medical transition, and used it so that she and her female partner could have their second biological child together.

But on Friday (19 August), the High Court in Tokyo, Japan, ruled that while her daughter born before her transition was legally hers, she could not be the legal parent of her second daughter.

Her partner, who gave birth to both babies, is the legal parent of both of their children.

The family had already fought their case in a lower court, which ruled in February 2022: “There is currently nothing in Japanese law to recognise her parental rights.”

The trans woman appealed, but this week’s High Court ruling cemented the devastating decision.

Although legal gender change has been allowed since 2004, Japan still requires trans people to undergo psychiatric evaluation, sterilisation and surgery before their gender can be legally recognised.

In 2019, Japan’s Supreme Court unanimously upheld a lower court ruling that the requirement for sterilisation did not violate Japan’s constitution.

In their ruling, the four Supreme Court justices said that the law prevented “problems” in relationships between parents and children which could result in “confusion” and “abrupt changes” across Japanese society.

Japan is also the only G7 nation yet to legalise same-sex marriage.

Although the country has repeatedly voted for United Nations Human Rights Council resolutions calling for an end to violence and discrimination against LGBTQ+ people, it still has no law prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

According to a 2019 Human Rights Watch report, around 60 per cent of LGBTQ+ people have experienced bullying at school, and the proportion of people who have attempted suicide is about six times greater among gay and bisexual people, and about 10 times more prevalent among transgender people, than the general population.

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