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29 Apr 2003

transgendered woman wins seat in tokyo assembly

Aya Kamikawa, a transgendered woman, won a seat in Tokyo's Setagaya ward assembly on Sunday - making her the first transsexual official in Japan.

A 35-year-old female transsexual, who is currently waiting for gender reassignment surgery, won a seat in Tokyo's Setagaya Ward Assembly, reports Japan Today.

Aya Kamikawa (in red) and her supporters
Aya Kamikawa, who ran as an independent without any party support, came in sixth out of 72 candidates for the 52 seats in the assembly.

"I will proudly attend the assembly as a woman," said Kamikawa although she will be listed as male in official election records. Under Japanese law, birth documents cannot be altered and Kamikawa had been listed as male.

Japan's transgender community views her victory as their own as Kamikawa, who submitted her candidacy forms with a blank space for sex, was allowed to run as a woman.

The government decided to allow her to run for election as a female after election officials referred the application to the Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications Ministry for authorisation.

She said she decided to run for office in order to raise the public awareness of transsexualism, including the humiliation faced by documents that reveal birth gender.

"This is the first step. First of all, I would like to question whether it is necessary to have the gender entry in the application [when] driver's licenses do not indicate the holder's gender," she said referring to the candidacy forms.


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