Japan court does not recognize transgender woman as mother after transition

A Japanese court ruled on Friday that only a child born before a trans woman undergoes a surgical and legal transition can be legally recognized as her child, while a child born after her transition cannot be, media reported.

Japan, where many LGBTQIA+ people still don’t come out to their families, requires anyone who wants to legally change their gender to have surgery to remove the sexual organs they were born with, a practice heavily criticized by human rights groups.

The trans woman, who was assigned male at birth, had two daughters with her partner using preserved sperm before her transition, public broadcaster NHK and Kyodo news agency reported.

Four years ago, she was legally allowed to change her gender on her family record, according to reports.

Although her partner was recognized as the girls’ legal mother for giving birth to them, the trans woman’s request to be recognized as a mother was not accepted by a Tokyo family court in February.

The court said that “there is currently nothing in Japanese law that recognizes her parental rights,” a decision the woman appealed.

On Friday, Tokyo’s supreme court ruled that she could be recognized as the mother of the daughter born before her legal gender change, but not the second, born after.

No further details were immediately available.

Japan remains the only country in the Group of Seven not to recognize same-sex marriage.

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