TV & Radio
Boy, 7, at school as girl
The Yomiuri Shimbun 2005/05/19
A 7-year-old boy in Hyogo Prefecture is enrolled and attends primary school as a girl since doctors diagnosed that he has gender identity disorder, sources in local education authorities said Thursday.
The local board of education said that after consultation with his family, it decided to accept the student, now in the second grade, as a female, in accordance with the wishes of the boy and his parents and the judgment of the doctor.
The Education, Science and Technology Ministry said it is extremely rare for school officials to accept the fact of gender identity disorder in a primary school student.
According to the local board, the boy developed symptoms of gender identity disorder when he was 5.
He came to hate being assigned to boys groups in the nursery school he attended and had repeatedly refused to eat for days at a time.
In January last year, before the boy enrolled in the primary school, his grandmother consulted the local board of education, after a medical specialist tested the boy and diagnosed gender identity disorder.
According to the sources the doctor advised the family that while it was not known whether the disorder would continue for life, it may be better for the boy to be given consideration as the occasion may demand, so that he could live his life easily.
His parents consulted with school and the board of education officials, and the officials decided to accept him at the school as a girl.
(May. 19, 2006)
Japan beats taboo by letting boy act as girl
Justin McCurry in Tokyo
Friday May 19, 2006
A seven-year-old Japanese boy with a gender identity disorder has been given permission to attend school as a girl in another sign that the country is relaxing its traditionally rigid attitude towards sexual identity. Local media reported yesterday that the boy, who has not been named, was diagnosed with the disorder before he started primary school in April.
He is said to have complained that he felt uncomfortable being a boy and asked his parents if he could have a sex-change operation. Japan's first such procedure took place in 1998, but patients must be aged 20 or over.
The school, in Kobe, western Japan, agreed to enroll him as a girl after consulting his parents and doctors in what is thought to be the first decision of its kind in Japan. According to reports, he will be allowed to use the girls' bathrooms and changing facilities, and to wear girls PE kit. Only his teachers have been informed of his condition.
An estimated 10,000 Japanese say they have some form of gender identity disorder - a belief that they were born the wrong gender and a wish to live, socially and physically, as members of the opposite sex.
In 2004 they won a significant victory when the law was changed to allow some transsexuals to alter their name and gender on official documents. A year earlier Aya Kamikawa became the first transsexual to enter politics when she won a seat on a local assembly in Tokyo.
Last year doctors agreed to relax the conditions for sex-change operations that had required patients to gain approval from a medical ethics committee. But the country's transsexuals say they have some way to go before they are fully accepted.
A 44-year-old who had fathered two children before changing sex recently failed to register her new gender after a court said it would "confuse" her sons, aged 12 and 14. The revised law allows only transsexuals who are over 19, single and childless and have undergone a sex change to change their official gender.
Boy enrols as girl in Japan
From: Agence France-Presse
From correspondents in Tokyo
May 18, 2006
A JAPANESE school board is allowing a pupil who is biologically a boy to enrol as a girl in a social breakthrough hailed by transgender activists.
The seven-year-old was diagnosed a year ago with gender identity disorder.
He has been admitted to the school as a girl, said Yukihiro Okano, deputy superintendent of education in the western prefecture of Hyogo.
"The child is very small now. We will deal with the case at various phases of growth to meet the person's needs," Okano told a news conference today.
The parents had asked authorities to admit the pupil as a girl because of the child's female behaviour.
The school has not observed any trouble related to the pupil, Okano added.
The case is groundbreaking in Japan, where it can be difficult to gain public understanding on the issue, said Ran Yamamoto, who heads an organisation supporting people with gender identity disorder.
"This person will go through adolescence and become more conscious about her body. How the person will go through that phase is a big question," she said.
"But the local community and her parents appear to have been very considerate of the needs of the child. That is very fortunate," Yamamoto said.
The pupil should receive monitoring and counselling, she added.
"It would be wonderful if those concerned could create a situation in which the person would be able to express her true self," she said.
In July 2004, Japan introduced a landmark law for transsexuals that has allowed hundreds of people to register under a different gender after sex change operations.
Previously such people had been obliged to present birth records that showed them to be of a different gender when they sought jobs or housing.
Japanese School Lets Boy, 7, Enroll as a Girl
Thursday, May 18, 2006
TOKYO — A young boy who believes he was born the wrong sex was allowed to enroll as a girl at an elementary school in southwestern Japan, a school official said Thursday.
The seven-year-old boy entered the school as a girl in April 2005 after he was diagnosed with gender identity disorder at age six, a spokesman for the local school board said. The Japanese school year starts in April.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to protect the identity of the boy and his school district, said the boy's name is listed with girl students and that he is allowed to join the girls' gym class and use the girls' bathroom. The boy, who's in the second grade, wears a girl's swimsuit at the school pool.
"At this point, we are relieved that the child was accepted into first grade and is being raised in a healthy manner," the official said.
The school is in the southwestern prefecture of Hyogo, about 270 miles west of Tokyo.
The school's decision is highly out of character for Japan's public school system, which is known for learning by rote and has little tolerance for children who don't fit in. Awkward children can be mercilessly bullied by other students.
The Tokyo Shimbun newspaper reported that the boy's name could be both a boy's or a girl's, and that he had preferred girl's clothing from a young age. The school has not told other parents about the switch, and it was unclear whether any of the students knew the boy's gender.
The school official said that there had not been any complaints from other students or from the boy's parents since his enrollment. He said the school district would watch his case closely and reassess the decision as the boy reaches puberty.
Katsuki Harima, a psychiatrist specializing in gender identity disorder at Tokyo Musashino Hospital, said the decision to allow the boy to enroll as a girl seemed appropriate, but would get complicated as he grew older.
Harima said the boy is not old enough to really determine whether he has the disorder. A boy who behaves like a girl does not necessarily mean he has gender identity disorder, and he could discover as he grows up that he wants to be male, Harima said.
"I am a bit concerned about the child's future," he added, saying he has never heard of a case like this before at an elementary school. "There will be problems."
Japan primary school accepts boy as girl
Updated: 2006-05-18 14:08
A Japanese primary school is allowing a 7-year-old boy with a gender identity disorder to take part in school life as a girl, an unprecedented move in this conservative nation, local media said on Thursday.
The decision marks a growing awareness in Japan of gender identity disorder, in which patients feel they are trapped in the wrong gender's body, although transgendered people and transsexuals still face widespread discrimination.
According to media reports, the boy in Hyogo, western Japan, was diagnosed with gender identity disorder before starting primary school after complaining that he felt uncomfortable with being a boy.
Based on the diagnosis and consultations with the boy's parents, the school is allowing him to participate as a girl, including using girls' bathrooms and attending swimming class in a girl's bathing suit.
Officials at the Hyogo board of education issued a statement neither confirming nor denying the reports, but saying they would protect the student's human rights and privacy.
Sex change operations have been legal in Japan since 1998 but are not permitted until patients become legal adults at 20. Preparatory hormone treatments are allowed from age 18.
In what was hailed as a major step forward, people with gender identity disorder -- whose numbers are estimated at more than 10,000, according to Kyodo news agency -- won the right in 2003 to change their gender on key identity documents under strict conditions.
Authorities had previously refused to allow gender changes except in the case of "mistakes."
Boy diagnosed as suffering gender disorder enrolled in elementary school as girl (Mainichi Daily News 2006/05/18)
KOBE -- In a rare move, a 7-year-old boy diagnosed as suffering a gender identity disorder has been enrolled in a public elementary school as a girl, the local board of education said Thursday.
The public elementary school situated in Hyogo Prefecture admitted the child as a girl in April last year at the request of the child's parents.
It is extremely rare that a lower-grade elementary school child has been officially recognized as a patient with gender identity disorder even though a special law enacted in 2004 allows adults with such a disorder to change their gender in their family registries.
The municipal board of education believes classmates are unaware of the child's physical gender. "When the child was enrolled in the school, all the teachers were informed of the situation, but we didn't report it to the prefectural board of education or the parents of other children. Classmates are apparently unaware of the child's physical gender," a board official said.
"We'd like to be fully prepared to respond if the child wants to return to his original physical gender in the future," the official added.
The child has apparently felt a strong identification with the opposite sex since his infancy, preferring to wear skirts and play with stuffed toy animals, according to the board of education. The child resisted when his parents attempted to persuade him to join his elder brother's baseball club, and was unable to eat for several days.
When the child's mother consulted a local hospital, a doctor in charge advised her to let the child do whatever he liked to do regardless of his gender. The child was happy after being allowed to dress as a girl when attending a nursery school and when wearing a bikini in a swimming pool.
To be enrolled in the elementary school as a girl, the child underwent an examination at an Osaka hospital where an expert officially diagnosed a gender identity disorder.
The parents then submitted to the school a medical certificate recognizing the child as a patient with a gender identity disorder. After the school and board met with the child's parents, the child was enrolled in the school as a girl.
The child uses restrooms for girls and undergoes medical checkups with girls, but has not caused any particular trouble. (Mainichi)
Thursday May 18, 1:58 PM
2ND LD: Japan school accepts boy with gender identity disorder as girl
(Kyodo) _ (EDS: ADDING INFO)
An elementary school in Hyogo Prefecture, western Japan, has accepted a 7-year-old boy with a gender identity disorder as a girl, and the pupil is leading a normal school life, a local education board said Thursday.
The second-year pupil was diagnosed before he entered school as suffering from the disorder, in which a person has a gender identity opposite to his or her biological sex, according to a board official.
The boy, who has loved stuffed animals and liked wearing skirts since before his school enrollment, has consulted with his parents if he can have his male genitalia removed, the official said.
In January 2005, the education board began to study if it could approve a request from the parents to accept the boy as a girl at school.
The boy was then diagnosed in a hospital in the neighboring Osaka Prefecture as suffering from gender identity disorder. A doctor advised the education board to prepare an easy place for the boy to lead his life.
Following talks with the parents from January through March, the education board and the school decided to treat the pupil as a girl, the official said.
Since entering school in April, the boy has undergone health checks with girls and uses girls' restrooms while attending swimming lessons in a girl's swimsuit, the official said.
School mates have been interacting with the boy as a girl.
His name is written in the list of girls in his class, the official said.
Teachers have been informed of the circumstances of the boy's entrance to school as a girl, but not to the boy's schoolmates and their parents.
Experts said it is unprecedented in Japan for a child to be diagnosed with the disorder before developing secondary sex characteristics and for a school to accept such a child as a member of the opposite gender.
An education ministry official said there are no known cases in which a boy with the disorder has been accepted as a girl at a school.
Schools should deal with students flexibly in accordance with their situations listening to the advice of doctors and experts, the ministry official said.
More than 10,000 people are estimated to be suffering from the disorder in Japan but detailed situations are not known.
A law came into force in Japan in July 2004 to allow adults with the disorder to change their official gender registrations under certain conditions.
Under the law, family courts across the country approved 208 out of the 249 sex-change registration applications made in a one-year period since the law took effect, a citizens group which supports people with the disorder said.
School enrolls gender-confused boy as girl
KOBE, Japan, May 18 (UPI) -- A Japanese elementary school has accepted a 7-year-old boy, diagnosed as suffering from a gender identity disorder, as a girl, local media reported Thursday.
It is extremely rare in Japan for such a young child to be officially recognized as having a gender identity disorder, even though a law enacted in 2004 allows adults with such a disorder to change their gender in their family registries, the Mainichi Shimbun reported Thursday.
The boy, in Hyogo prefecture in western Japan, was diagnosed with the condition before starting primary school. From early childhood he showed a preference for girls' clothing, toys and games, his parents said.
A doctor recommended he be allowed to follow his preferences.
In accordance with the diagnosis and at the request of the child's parents, the public elementary school allowed him to enroll as a girl.
The child uses restrooms for girls and undergoes medical checkups with girls, but has not caused any particular trouble.