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News

Trans Man Sues Employer for Discriminatory Cancellation of Employment Contract - 6 March 2008

A trans man in Shizuoka has filed a lawsuit against his employer saying that it is illegal for his employer to cancel his employment contract because of his Gender Identity Disorder (GID). Sankei Newspaper and others have reported on February 13.

The 33-year-old man was born as a female. In 2004, he has started his life as a man.

Last summer, he had a job interview with an advertisement design company, ‘ad technica’ in Shizuoka, Japan and was informally promised employment by the company as a man, without the company’s knowing that he was still female on his family registry.

On September 20 last year, he told the design company that he was still female on the family registry but leading his life as a man. On the following day which was just one day before the start of his contract, the company told him they’d cancel the contract.

Last October, he filed a lawsuit with the Labor Tribunal at Shizuouka District Court seeking for some 1.98 million yen (equivalent to 18,000 USD) as compensation for damages. In December, the Court ordered ad technica to pay him 500,000 yen (4,620 dollars) but he and the company respectively appealed the decision.

According to Sankei Newspaper, the company says they didn’t cancel the contract because of the man’s GID. ‘We cancelled the contract because she (he) signed a blank which her (his) guarantor was supposed to sign and gave us false information about her (his) gender on the family registry’, the company has said.

In Japan, the Law Concerning Special Cases in Handling Gender for People with Gender Identity Disorder was enacted in 2003. Under the Law, one who seeks for gender changes is required 1) not to be married; 2) not to have a child; 3) to lack any reproductive organs; 4) to be 20 years old or over and 5) to have genitalia with similar appearance to those of the expected gender.

In July 2004, a first case of gender changes from male to female on the family registry was approved by the Okinawa Family Court. In the following month, Tokyo Family Court approved the first gender-change case from female to male.

Japan’s only openly transgendered politician, Aya Kamikawa had her gender approved on the family registry by Tokyo District Court in April 2005.

According to gid.jp, a transgengered/transsexual group, there are some 3000 people with GID in Japan. (Editors Tom Paine, Azusa Yamashita)

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