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Trans woman gains acceptance as geisha in Japan

Rachel Charman October 13, 2008

A pre-op trans woman claims she became the first ever transsexual geisha after a visit to Kyoto.

Mary Murdoch, 68, from Greenwich, said that it was her ambition to dress up as a geisha. She told News Shopper:

“I was the first person to actually do this. They were very welcoming and put aside the normal rules for foreign tourists.

“Since then the Japanese government has a policy which says if there’s a female name on the passport then you may dress up as a geisha.”

Mary began the gender realignment process to become a woman with hormone treatment four years ago at Charing Cross Hospital. She is currently waiting for the final operation to finish the process.

There have been a number of positive steps for transgender people in Japan in recent years.

In 2003, Aya Kamikawa was elected to Tokyo’s municipal assembly, becoming the first openly transgender politician to hold office in Japan.

In July 2004, transgendered people in Japan were granted the right to change their gender on family registers under some circumstances.

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