A Japanese transgender female to male parent was seeking to have his son listed in the family registry only to be rejected by the Tokyo Family Court. The plaintiff’s wife gave birth to the son, via donated sperm when the couple lived in Shiso, Hyogo Prefecture.
The couple married in 2008, after the husband officially changed his gender, and were recognized as husband and wife under a new law that came into effect in 2004. The court’s ruling on Wednesday was the nation’s first involving a family register of a child born from parents with one of them having gender identity disorder (GID). Regarding Wednesday’s ruling, Judge Yoshiki Matsutani said not recognizing the husband as the father was not a violation of the Constitution that states “all of the people are equal under the law and there shall be no discrimination in political, economic or social relations because of race, creed, sex, social status or family origin.” According to the Civil Code, a child born by a woman during marriage shall be presumed to be the husband’s child. The judge argued that the boy cannot be the plaintiff’s son because it was objectively clear from the family registry that the husband was unable to produce sperm and therefore cannot be the father. The judge also ruled that the decision to leave the father’s name blank in the family registry did not violate the law on special cases involving people with GID.
Despite all the legal stress, the father will continue to fight for recognition. Since he is registered as a male and Japan recognizes him as such, the plaintiff should receive fair treatment as a father. The plaintiff said “I feel I am being discriminated against. I will continue to fight so that I can live as a husband and a father.”