Transgender woman hits bureaucratic brick wall in Japan
Japan Today -- Feb 23
Elin McCready, a transgender woman, has been married for 19 years, but registering her female identity and name has thrown her union into jeopardy because Japan doesn't recognize gay marriage.

"We've effectively broken the system," said McCready, a 45-year-old American, who has three children with her Japanese wife Midori.

"Their options are to say 'Okay, we allow your marriage', in which case they have set a precedent for same-sex marriage, or to say 'No, we don't allow your marriage,' in which case they have to unilaterally cancel our marriage without our consent."

McCready changed her gender marker and name in Texas last year as part of her transition process.

She got a new U.S. passport and had no trouble updating her residency card in Japan, where she is a permanent resident.

But changes to residency cards must be registered with the local government, and when officials there realized that McCready was married, the process ground to a halt.

"They sent it to the Tokyo government, the Tokyo government also didn't want to make a decision and sent it to the national government, and then it's been in committee ever since. More than three months," she said.

A linguistics professor at Tokyo's Aoyama Gakuin University, McCready believes she is the first person to have presented Japanese authorities with this particular dilemma.

Under Japanese law, transgender people can only change their gender markers if they meet certain conditions, including being unmarried, having no minor children, and having no reproductive capacity.

News source: Japan Today
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