Family Registry Litigation (Japan)

The Tokyo Family Court rejected a suit filed by a married gender identity disorder plaintiff seeking to have the couple’s son, born via donor insemination, listed as their legitimate child in the family registry.

The plaintiff, 30, who was born a woman, reportedly had a sex-change operation and has registered as a male. His wife gave birth to the son, who is now almost 3, through donated sperm while the couple were living in Shiso, Hyogo Prefecture. The pair are now residents of Higashiosaka in Osaka Prefecture.

The court ruling Wednesday was the nation’s first involving the family register of a child whose parents include someone whose gender designation was legally changed to that of a man because of GID, the Justice Ministry said.

The 30-year-old plaintiff filed the son’s birth report with Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo, in January. In March, however, the ward did not approve the request to register the boy as a legitimate child and left the space for the father’s name blank.

The Civil Code stipulates that a child borne by a woman in wedlock is presumed to be the child of her husband.

But the court’s ruling said the boy cannot be presumed to be the plaintiff’s son because it was objectively clear from the family registry that the husband was unable to produce sperm and therefore is not the father.

Judge Matsutani said the ward’s decision to leave the space for the name of the black in the plaintiff’s family registry also did not violate the law on special cases involving people with GID. He added that if the couple chose to adopt the boy, the child’s legal rights will be fully protected.

The couple plan to file an appeal with the Tokyo High Court.

Japan Family Court.

News report.

Grey v. Hasbrouck (USA)

Cook County, Illinois Judge Michael Hyman has approved a consent decree in a class action case to allow transgender individuals to receive new birth certificates without being required to undergo genital surgery.

The Illinois Department of Public Health is now  prohibited from denying new Illinois birth certificates to applicants who seek to change the gender (sic) marker on them solely because they have not had sex reassignment surgery.

News report.

ACLU Press release.

Matter of Birney v New York City Dept. of Health & Mental Hygiene (New York, USA)

In March, a New York City trial court ordered the New York City Department of Health to accept a note from a doctor as proof of “corrective surgery” necessary to support a name change by a transgender man.  The Department requested that Louis Birney provide the name of the specific surgery performed on him in order to be satisfied that Birney underwent corrective surgery.  The Department claims that robust proof of a permanent sex change safeguards the integrity of a crucial identity record, one used to obtain important items ranging from passports to government benefits.  Birney said the request invaded his privacy.

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Ontario (Canada)

The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal ruled in April that the Government of Ontario’s regulations for changing the designated gender on a birth certificate discriminated against transgender people.  Previously, transgender people had to undergo sex reassignment surgery before government would allow them to change their sex on birth certificates.
Ontario now requires only a signed declaration and a note from a doctor or psychologist.