Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Japan becomes first country in the world to elect a transgender man to a public office

Tomoya Hosoda has taken part in various campaigns to raise the profile of LGBTQ in his country 

Chloe Farand
Saturday 18 March 2017 14:27 GMT
Tomoya Hosoda/Twitter
Tomoya Hosoda/Twitter

Japan has become the first country in the world to elect a transgender man to a public office.

Tomoya Hosoda, 25, won 21 out of 22 seats to become a councillor for the city of Iruma, in the central region of Kanto.

Mr Hosoda said he does not just want to fight for LGBTQ rights but also for the rights of the disabled and the elderly, by constructing a system that embraces diversity and helps minorities, Japanese media reports.

“Until recently, people have acted as if sexual minorities do not exist. We have many hurdles to overcome, but I hope to live up to everyone’s expectations”, he told Stonewall, an organisation which supports LGBTQ people in Japan.

He added having received many messages of support and gratitude from the LGBTQ community ever since he announced his candidacy.

Mr Hosoda is the second transgender politician elected in Japan after Kamikawa Aya, a transgender woman who was elected as a Tokyo municipal official in 2003.

Mr Hosoda officially changed his name and gender in the family registry in 2015 after having come out and transitioned.

He has participated at various LGBTQ events and rook part in the Out in Japan campaign, an initiative to highlight the presence of homosexual and trans people in Japan.

In a profile for Out in Japan, Mr Hosoda said: “I thought that I could not be happy.

"But I remember to taking my courage and deciding to come out and hope to live.

“For me, coming out is just the starting line. Some walls can not be overcome by one person. But at such time, we have to work together and help each other out. By moving forward one step at a time and meeting all kinds of people people, ways of thinking and values started to change.”

He praises his parents, friends and relatives who have supported him and said he wanted to give courage to those who were afraid of coming out and opening the debate about LGBTQ people in Japan.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in