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更新时间:2017-5-22 18:26:55 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Japanese Transgender Politician Is Showing ‘I Exist Here’

IRUMA, Japan — In addition to his name and title, the business card of Tomoya Hosoda, a city councilman in a suburb of Tokyo, bears a unique description.

日本入间——除姓名和头衔外,在一座与东京接壤的城市担任市议员的细田智也(Tomoya Hosoda)的名片上还有一项独一无二的内容。

“Born a woman,” it reads.


Hosoda, 25, won his seat on the City Council in conservative-leaning Iruma in March, becoming the first openly transgender male elected to public office in Japan and one of only a handful around the world.


Japan has not experienced the kind of transgender moment that has swept the United States, where the politics of sexual identity have convulsed schools, popular culture and big-time sports in recent years.


The appearance of transgender Japanese television stars may convey the illusion of a culture at ease with gender fluidity. But this is a country where transgender people must be labeled as having a mental disorder in order to legally transition from one sex to the other, and where transgender people can struggle to rent apartments, obtain medical care or hold jobs.


Hosoda thinks that in his small way, he can make an important contribution simply by being public and confident about his identity, particularly for young people who may be confused about their own.


“I wanted to show children in elementary or junior high school that I exist here,” he said in an interview in the Iruma office of the Democratic Party, which Hosoda represents on the council. “I strongly felt that way, and that’s why I entered politics.”

“我想向上小学或初中的孩子表明,我在这里,”他在民主党(Democratic Party)的入间办公室接受采访时说。在市议会里,细田智也代表的正是该党。“我对那种情况有强烈的切身感受,这就是我从政的原因。”

Hosoda benefited from the activism of Japan’s only other transgender politician, Aya Kamikawa, who has sat on the council in Setagaya, a ward of Tokyo, for 14 years.

细田智也受益于日本政坛仅有的另一名跨性别者上川彩(Aya Kamikawa)的行动主义。后者已担任东京世田谷区议员14年。

Kamikawa, a transgender woman, lobbied for a change in Japan’s law to allow transgender people to officially change their gender on the all-important family registry certificate that every Japanese citizen must hold, and that is often needed to rent an apartment or receive medical care or other services.


Under that law, only people who have received a diagnosis of “gender identity disorder” and have undergone sexual reassignment surgery may legally change their gender. Activists say the law makes it difficult for those who are transitioning or do not want surgery to live or work as the gender with which they identify and often leads to discrimination by those who recognize only biological gender.

这项法律规定,只有被诊断为患有“性别认同障碍”(Gender Identity Disorder),和接受了变性手术的人才能合法更改自己的性别。活动人士称,该法律让正处在过渡期或不想接受手术的人很难以他们自己认同的性别去生活或工作,并且常常会遭到那些只承认生理性别者的歧视。

In Hosoda’s case, growing up as a girl named Mika in Iruma she never met anyone who was transgender and did not even know it was possible to transition from female to male.


All she knew was that she did not feel like a girl. She hated being forced to wear a skirt as part of her uniform in high school. When it came time for her coming-of-age ceremony at age 20, she balked at having to wear a feminine kimono.


Through an internet connection, she met a man who had transitioned from a woman, opening her eyes to the possibility of another life path. This mentor encouraged her to come out to her parents.


In 2014, Hosoda underwent sexual reassignment surgery, which allowed him to convert his gender on his official family register.


By the time he decided to run for office, he felt comfortable going public with his identity, although his appearance could have allowed him to disguise his past. With his carefully moussed, close-cropped hairstyle, black-and-silver wire glasses and hints of a beard, he resembles many other men in their 20s in Tokyo.


His campaign brochures noted prominently that he is a transgender man, and he advocated a platform of embracing diversity, not just for sexual minorities but also for the elderly, children and people with disabilities.


Hosoda did not experience any discrimination during the campaign, he said. He squeaked onto the council, receiving the second-fewest votes among the 22 members elected.


In Iruma, Shinji Sugimura, director of the local chapter of the Democratic Party, said Hosoda had succeeded because “he didn’t push his thoughts to others but tried to be understood first.”

在入间,民主党当地分部负责人杉村慎治(Shinji Sugimura,音)说,细田智也之所以取得成功是因为“他没有把自己的想法强加给他人,而是先努力争取得到对方的理解”。

“He’s good as a politician rather than an activist,” Sugimura added.


Kamikawa, who recalls being harassed during her first run for office 14 years ago, said she was heartened that Hosoda had not faced the kind of attacks she had. Some people hurled epithets, she said, and others asked, “What kind of parents raised someone like you?”


Some transgender activists say that even as Japanese society has grown more superficially accepting of transgender people, many hurdles remain.


People who prefer not to risk surgery for health reasons or who are still in the process of changing their biological sex live in a limbo where they are not allowed to live as they choose.


“When someone points out that their appearance doesn’t match their official family register, they need to explain themselves each time,” said Yuka Tateishi, a lawyer who is representing a transgender woman fighting for the right to use the bathrooms that correspond to her gender identity at work.

“当有人指出他们的外表与官方户籍不符时,他们每次都需要解释自己的情况,”律师立石由佳(Yuka Tateishi,音)说道,她正在代理一名跨性别女性争取在工作中使用与自己性别相应的卫生间。

Takamasa Nakayama, founder of a transgender support organization in Japan, said some people had been fired after coming out.

日本一个跨性别者支援组织的创始人中山高正(Takamasa Nakayama,音)说,有些人公开身份后遭到解雇。

“Sometimes they are discriminated against because their appearance is changing,” Nakayama said. “If you are not strong enough, it’s hard to keep a full-time job and survive the bullying.”