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First LGBT-inclusive textbooks for elementary schools in Japan

First LGBT-inclusive textbooks for elementary schools in Japan

An elementary school in Japan (Photo: Flickr / Tony Cassidy)

Publishers of elementary school textbooks in Japan have included LGBT information in the latest editions of their books.

Two out of five government-accredited publishers have included content on sexuality and gender identity, according to NHK.

The books teach that people may be attracted to people of the same sex.

They also explain how different gender identities should be respected.

High school textbooks in Japan began including LGBTI information in 2017. Junior-high school textbooks began in 2018.

But, according to Human Rights Watch, Japan’s official curriculum says ‘when in puberty…young people develop an interest in the opposite sex’.

In 2017, the government rejected to renew these guidelines. It said LGBTI-inclusive education was ‘difficult’ because ‘the public and guardians have not accepted’ this topic yet.

Prof. Masayuki Tanamura of Waseda University told NHK the new textbooks were ‘groundbreaking’. Masayuki Tanamura also called it a ‘first step’ towards LGBTI awareness.

LGBTI rights in Japan

A recent survey found 8.9 percent of Japan’s population identify as LGBT.

But, half of LGBT people surveyed said they had not come out at work.

It also revealed that only 70 percent of people had heard of the term LGBT.

Last month, 13 same-sex couples filed lawsuits against the government hoping to force it to recognize equal marriage.

The five female and eight male couples are challenging local administrations that denied them marriage certificates. They are also seeking damages of US$9,000.

The couples argued the government’s stance on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. They filed cases in four different district courts.

growing number of cites throughout Japan have allowed same-sex couples to officially register with their local municipal governments under the partnership oath system.

See also

California becomes first state to adopt LGBTI-inclusive history textbooks

Illinois lawmakers approve bill on LGBTI history lessons in public schools

How teaching LGBTI history could stop bullying in school