Incidents of Japanese teachers outing LGBT students on the rise

Joseph McCormick August 16, 2017
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The number of cases of LGBT students being outed by teachers in Japan is increasing.

Teachers have been discouraged from outing LGBT students to their parents or other classmates, whatever their reasons.

The outings have raised concerns that other LGBT students may not be forthcoming with revealing their own sexual orientation or gender identity if they think there is a fear they may be outed, or because of reactions.

It is believed that some teachers have good intentions when they inform the parents of an LGBT student, but that the incidents are misguided.

Depressed woman

According to Minako Hara, the director of Kyosei Net, the All Japan Sexual Minorities Support Network, has said the numbers of students seeking advice after being outed has risen.

“Although the LGBT student only consulted with the teacher in charge, the parents found out immediately,” says Hara.

Hara added that students have often struggled with their parents’ reaction to them being outed.

Parents often blame themselves for “a problem with the child’s upbringing,” says Hara.

She noted one case where a trans girl told a teacher about wanting to be included in a female group for a school trip.

But the teacher told classmates of the situation which led to parents complaining about the inclusion.

Each year, Kyosei Net has seen a rise in the number of requested consultations for such issues.

“Most of the teachers are just acting because they want people around them to be aware. But since they lack a common understanding, there are cases where they are just playing it by ear,” said Hara.

Japan has worked in recent years to inform educators of the best way to help LGBT students.

Last year, for the first time, Japan’s education ministry sent a pamphlet out nationwide on how teachers can support LGBT students.

But children in Japan will not be taught about LGBT issues for at least 10 years after the government in April decided against including it in the curriculum.

In March, for the first time, the country legislated to protect against bullying based on gender identity or sexual orientation.

School children

The country has also seen its first trans man elected into public office, as Tomoya Hosoda was voted in as a councillor in the city of Iruma.

A city in Japan became the first to recognise a first same-sex couple as foster parents, with the gay couple in Osaka officially fostering a teenage boy.

And also last month, it was announced that two million more people will be able to have their LGBT relationships legally recognised from June.

Sapporo, on the northern island of Hokkaido, became the first Japanese city to do so.

More: Asia, class, Japan, Japan, school, students, teacher

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