TV & Radio
性転換 埼玉医大が中止 担当の教授定年
Saitama Medical Univ. stops sex-change ops from May
Sunday May 13, 2007
(Kyodo) _ Saitama Medical University says it has stopped conducting sex change operations for those who suffer from gender identity disorder since the start of this month after a professor in charge of them retired.
At least 30 patients were to receive the surgeries at the private medical school by October, but the schedules were forced to be canceled.
Saitama Medical University is the nation's pioneer having provided sex-change operations since 1998 as legitimate medical procedures.
While there are believed to be more than 10,000 GID patients in Japan, Toshio Yamauchi, the university president, said Sunday, "We want to resume the practice as soon as possible."
Takao Harashina, who was in charge of the operations until the end of March as head of the plastic surgery department, had agreed with the university that he would continue to provide the operations as a specially appointed professor after his retirement, but the university "reneged on the promise at the end of March," he said.
Harashina said he managed to perform surgeries on the patients who had booked the operations for the month of April before leaving the school.
"We were going to ask him to stay as a visiting professor, but we could not come to an agreement with him," said Yamauchi. He added that the department has not been able to provide surgeries because a staff member has had health problems in addition to Harashina's retirement.
The university has performed over 350 sex-change surgeries to date, including the formation of sex organs and the removal of breasts, according to Harashina.
The Japanese Society of Psychiatry and Neurology approved the practice after setting guidelines in 1997. Schools offering the operations include Okayama University and Sapporo Medical University.
Saitama Medical University stops sex-change operations
BY KANAKO IDA, THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
Japan's leading hospital in sex-change operations has stopped offering its services, leaving a cloud of uncertainty hanging over the treatment of patients suffering from gender identity disorder.
Saitama Medical University called a halt to the operations after professor Takao Harashina, a surgeon specializing in plastic surgery, retired at the end of April.
University President Toshio Yamauchi said it had become impossible to assemble a team of experienced doctors to perform sex-change operations.
Gender identity disorder, the condition in which people do not identify with the sex they were born with, is slowly beginning to win social recognition in Japan.
The suspension of operations at Saitama Medical University could jeopardize the hopes for the treatment of the nation's estimated 10,000 patients, experts say.
The university's plastic surgery department has canceled the nearly 60 sex-change operations it was scheduled to perform between May and October.
Yamauchi said the university hopes to resume sex-change operations as early as possible, emphasizing that its policy to offer the medical treatment remains unchanged.
Three years ago, it became possible for people diagnosed with the condition to change their sex on family registers by applying to family courts.
Applicants must undergo sex-change operations and fulfill other conditions before applying for the changes to registers.
Several other universities, including Okayama University and Kansai Medical University, perform sex-change operations, but the number of operations carried out by those institutions is limited.
The change from woman to man is particularly difficult. The procedure requires advanced technology and experience, experts noted.
Saitama Medical University carried out the nation's first legal sex-change operation in 1998.
The treatment of people suffering from gender identity disorder was formally introduced after the Japanese Society of Psychiatry and Neurology compiled guidelines in 1997.
The guidelines call for patients to first receive psychotherapeutic and hormone treatment and, when necessary, to undergo sex-change operations.
So far, 357 patients suffering from gender identity disorder have undergone sex-change operations at Saitama Medical University, according to Harashina.
About 60 percent have undergone relatively simple operations to remove their breasts.
But 21 people have had male sex organs attached.
Toshiyuki Oshima, director of the Japanese Society of Gender Identity Disorder, said Japan should have its own treatment center for patients.
Oshima, a professor at Kyushu International University, said doctors who can perform sex-change operations are limited. He also noted that such operations are not covered by medical insurance.
Operations done overseas can involve considerable difficulties due to language problems as well as issues during post-operation medical care, he added.(IHT/Asahi: May 14,2007)
埼玉医大がSRSを中止 / Japan's Saitama Med cancelled all SRSs
毎日新聞 2007年5月13日 20時30分
Thousands rally in Rome against gay rights law
By Deepa Babington
Sat May 12, 11:09 AM ET
Tens of thousands of people gathered in Rome on Saturday for a rally to protest against a proposed law that would give greater rights to unmarried couples, including gays and lesbians.
The draft legislation, which requires parliamentary approval, has divided Italy's ruling coalition, angered the Catholic Church and roused passionate debate in the country.
Waving banners and dancing to the sound of tambourines, Catholic faithful kicked off the "Family Day" rally outside Rome's St. John in Lateran cathedral with a host of conservative politicians in attendance.
"From the rally comes a message today: to hold a dialogue to respond to the needs of the family, which is one of the principle priorities of the nation," said Public Education minister Giuseppe Fioroni, who came to the rally with his son.
"Today's rally is a large participation of the people that merits attention."
The rally's organizers, who handed out millions of flyers ahead of the event and plastered the city with posters, say as many as 250,000 people will attend.
Just a few neighborhoods away at Piazza Navona, hundreds of gay rights supporters held a smaller counter-demonstration. A third event on Saturday is a prayer vigil by gay Christians in defense of the rights of gay families.
Prime Minister Romano Prodi's government has sponsored the bill to give more rights to couples who are not married, or not allowed to marry, on practical matters like welfare and inheritance.
The Church has attacked it as an assault on family values and considers it a 'Trojan Horse' that could ultimately usher in civil marriage ceremonies for gays and lesbians.
Prodi urged Italians to recognize both the importance of family and the secular state.
"We must not manipulate religion," he told Italian radio. "In all modern countries, secularists and Catholics live together."
The rally highlighted divisions within Prodi's centre-left government, with various members of his Catholics-to-Communists coalition backing the "Family Day" rally or the "Secular Courage" counter-rally.
Some, like Family Affairs Minister Rosy Bindi said ministers should stay at home as a "matter of sobriety and correctness," but that did not stop fellow ministers like Justice Minister Clemente Mastella from attending the family values rally.
Italian Catholics stage giant rally against gay unions
by Andrea Bambino
Sat May 12, 4:36 PM ET
Hundreds of thousands of Italians, spurred by the Vatican and conservative politicians, flooded central Rome on Saturday to protest against a government plan to grant homosexual couples legal status.
The "Day of the Family" protest, staged by Roman Catholic and conservative groups, drew a million people in a carnival-like atmosphere with music, clowns and games for children, organisers said.
They gathered in front of the Basilica of Saint John Lateran, the official ecclesiastical seat of the Pope as Bishop of Rome, arriving by train and on more than 3,000 buses specially hired for the occasion.
Gathered under a bright Italian sun, the demonstrators did not chant slogans but instead carefully listened to speeches by representatives of Catholic organisations, who addressed them from a podium in front of the building.
"We are here to defend the concept of a family based on a husband, a wife and children and not of husband-husband or wife-wife," said Lucia Basile, a 54-year-old mother of three.
"I do not want to condemn homosexuals but they cannot be portrayed as being normal. I do not want my son to think that it's normal to bring home a boy rather than a girl," said Basile, who is a member of a conservative church grouping.
Michele Morandi, a priest in his 30s, said he wanted "better policies to support the family as a couple with two children finds it very difficult to make ends meet."
The rally reflects mounting tensions in Roman Catholic-dominated Italy over the issue.
It has the backing of several leading conservative politicians, including former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, who attended the gathering. "I am absolutely not opposed to protecting the rights of couple," he said.
"But, I don't think that it's necessary to establish... a second class marriage," he added.
About three kilometres (1.5 miles) away, several thousand people joined a counter-rally to defend secularism and the plan to grant homosexual couples legal status.
"All Families are Equal", "I'm Divorcing the Pope, I'm Marrying the DICO" (the title of the civil unions' plan), proclaimed protesters' banners at the counter-demonstration, called by the Radical Party.
"We want to show there is not one single Italy, but several. The law must accompany the evolution of feelings," said the party's founder Emma Bonino, who is the minister for foreign trade.
Prime Minister Romano Prodi's government proposed allowing civil unions, called DICO in Italy, in February. The planned law, which would also give unmarried heterosexual couples more rights, has met with strong opposition from conservatives and centre-left Catholics in parliament.
Several members of Prodi's own centre-left governing coalition were due to take part in the protest.
They include Paola Binetti, a senator and member of the conservative Catholic group Opus Dei who has been a prominent figure among left-wing Catholics.
Pope Benedict XVI, currently on a tour of Brazil, on Friday spoke out against hedonism and the "worrying disorientation" of society, with marriage and the family under attack. He also upheld the traditional values of fidelity in marriage and chastity for priests.
The annual number of marriages in Italy, an overwhelmingly Catholic country, fell from 419,000 in 1972 to 250,000 in 2005. The number of children born to unwed parents has doubled in 10 years.
The Catholic Church has often been accused of interference in political affairs. It has asked bishops not to protest, but did encourage priests, nuns and churchgoers to take part.
Tensions over the issue have mounted.
Top Italian Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco recently received a bullet and his photograph stamped with a swastika in the mail, apparently for his opposition to civil unions.
Bagnasco, who is archbishop of Genoa and also president of the Italian Episcopal Conference, maintains that a family can only be founded on marriage between a man and a woman and has appeared to compare same-sex partnerships to incest or paedophilia.