Japanese university to accept transgender students

For the first time in Japan’s history, a university in Tokyo is set to accept transgender students from 2020, a varsity official said on Thursday.

The Ochanomizu University is the first Japanese educational institution that will allow registration for members of the LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex)community, the official told Efe news.

Founded in 1875, Ochanomizu is also Japan’s first higher educational institution for women.

Although Japanese legislation does not grant any recognition to the LGBTI community, initiatives by educational institutions and local administrations have begun to change rights for the community.

Several high schools have introduced unisex uniforms or more flexible dress codes to support these students.

Some localities, with the district of Shibuya as a pioneer, began in 2015 to issue certificates of civil unions for same-sex couples (which gives them some rights comparable to those of heterosexual couples), since the National legislation does not provide for these unions.

A national survey conducted to measure for the first time the degree of acceptance of such relationships revealed that 53.2 per cent of Japanese would not support a friend if they discovered that they were gay (50.4 per cent if it was a lesbian), and that more than 70 per cent of males aged 40 would not approve of a gay coworker.

According to several surveys, it is estimated that the LGBTI community in Japan accounts for between 5 per cent and 8 per cent of the population.

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