In a progressive decision taken by a national women’s university in Tokyo, Japan will start accepting students who were assigned male at birth, but identify as female. The new norms will be effective from April 2020.
The education ministry stated that it believes Ochanomizu University will become Japan’s first women’s university to accept transgender students. It was founded in 1875 and is also the country’s first institute of higher education for women.
On July 2, Ochanomizu officials said they will hold a news conference soon to explain the details of the admissions changes. They will also explain the university’s method to confirm whether an applicant is transgender or not.
It released a statement saying it intends to accept “transgender students who hope to study at a women’s university based on their gender identity”
Previously, Japanese Women’s universities were only restricted to applicants registered as female under the family register system.
Winds of change
Many of the schools, including Tsuda University and Japan Women’s University, both in Tokyo, are considering modifying their admissions requirements. They are following similar modifications made by universities in the United States in the last few years.
“There is no reason to turn away transgender people as long as they are eager to study at a women’s university,” said a 20-year-old student at Ochanomizu University.
A graduate student, 25, welcomed the move as well, “Some students might wonder what to do with rest rooms and dressing rooms, but I personally have no problems with it. A greater variety in the people on campus brings more fun,” she said.
Japan has gradually started to accommodate the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
At the local level, LGBT couples are being recognized by municipalities. However, there is no national-level system to recognize such partnerships. Some junior high schools are also introducing gender-less uniforms or flexible uniform codes to support sexual minority students.
Apoorva Lamba is an intern with SheThePeople.Tv