ARTICLE: “Why Transgender People In Japan Prefer To Be Told They Have A “Disorder””
content warning: pathologization / medicalization of being trans; non-binary erasure; death mention (below)
while i don’t agree with everything in this article (from how things are presented or worded to more factual things), this article is still representative of the sad truth that i’m continually navigating as a non-binary person in Japan.
from the way that trans people themselves here actively embrace and rally behind Gender Identity Disorder (GID) not only as a medical condition but as an identity to how pathologized & medicalized literally everything surrounding being trans is here and how that can make things especially difficult for non-binary / Xジェンダー people, even when interacting with people in the trans community which is full of transmedicalism. the blatant non-binary erasure (dare i say enbyphobia) demonstrated by the head of the largest trans / GID organization in this country illustrates that perfectly in this article.
“I reject the notion of self-selection of gender,” said Ran Yamamoto, head of the organization gid.jp, which claims around 1,500 members, making it the largest organization of its kind in Japan. (Yamamoto rejects the term “transgender” and considers herself a “woman with GID.”)
“There is a reason why there is a separation between man and woman … I don’t know if God chose that or nature chose that,” she said. People with GID whose “disability compels them to change” their gender have a right to demand access to public toilets and other accommodations, she said, but for those “who do not have as much of a need, then gender should not be blurred.”
“To freely pick and choose without a medical condition — that’s not right,” she said.
Ran Yamamoto’s stance on things is by no means representative of that of people in general, of course. there are a lot of people here who would and do disagree with the above. even so, as the article illustrates, Japan’s history with trans people and general gender non-conformity is so different from, say, America’s… even though this may still be the case for some in America today, it’s much more common in Japan for a GID diagnosis to still be a matter of life or death for people.
so yeah, the very thought of reforms being made to the ICD (International Classification of Diseases) which would erase the term GID all together and Japan being obligated to follow suit…? yeah, there is negativity here about that. more stuff from The Outside (namely The West) being forced onto Japan… the negativity and backlash is real, not just from Japan’s medical community but also from the trans community itself. that said, there are doctors here who have already been on board with the idea that being trans is not a disorder. reforms to the ICD will help these doctors who have had to do things ‘under the table’ or otherwise circumnavigate Japan’s embrace / enforcement of GID. there’s also the fact that reforms to the ICD will also help a lot of trans and non-binary people as well, so…
perhaps the thing that pains me the most about this article is how it upholds doctors and Japan’s medical community as the saviors of the trans community in Japan, saying things like “…in Japan, where doctors have been responsible for transforming transgender people from eccentrics on the margins of society to fully fledged citizens” and “The doctors had done what trans people never managed to do on their own:…”
…fuck you. :’)
anyway, while this article, like most, is Problematic and i take real issue with some of the things in it, there is also a lot of (sad) truth in it as well, so…. signal boost but huge content warning for those who can’t stomach the pathologization or medicalization of being trans + non-binary erasure.