Trans and gender diverse people in Japan are slowly getting more support from the government through social security.
Trans people are now able to update their names on health insurance cards. But for some people they are even eligible to get financial support for gender affirming surgery.
For the past two months trans people are able to get funding for surgery, but only on the condition they are not on hormone therapy and don’t have other preexisting conditions, according to a report in Japan Today.
But despite these advancements, it is still very hard to be recognized as trans. In order to be recognized in their true gender trans people must be sterilized in order to get surgery.
‘The legal requirements for transgender people in Japan to obtain a GID (gender identity disorder) diagnosis, involve unnecessary, arbitrary, and burdensome tests,’ said advocacy group, Human Rights Watch.
‘The mandatory psychiatric evaluation and the law’s requirement that applicants be unmarried, sterile and lacking any children under 20 are inherently discriminatory.’
A Tokyo trans man, Takamasa Nakayama, told Japan Today before he update his health insurance card, medical staff had always treated him with suspicion. That was because his insurance card still identified Nakayama as female.
‘There are cases where health conditions worsen because people want to avoid the hassle of going to a hospital. This will be helpful for such people,’ he said about the new social security support.
Trans in old age
But advocates are also thinking about the long term consequences of transitioning in Japan.
Men are paid their employee pensions later than women. So people assigned female at birth are disadvantaged if they have gender affirming surgery before retirement age.
‘If you turn 60 and it is after your pension payouts have been decided, there wouldn’t be any influence from a sex change but people have to be mindful of changes in the conditions even though they might have paid the same insurance premiums all this time,’ said licensed insurance consultant, Koji Nakajima.