Suginami Ward Assemblywoman Yumi Kobayashi, 27, has drawn criticism from the LGBT community after suggesting that gay, lesbian and bisexual people do so out of choice and that transgender people are disabled.
During an assembly session on Feb 15, Kobayashi said that “‘Lesbian,’ ‘gay’ and ‘bisexual’ are terms denoting sexual orientation, and it’s not medically clear whether they are disabled or not. Is it really necessary for local governments to spend a lot of time and money on issues relating to sexual orientation — or personal taste?”
Kobayashi was voicing concerns over recent moves by Tokyo’s Shibuya and Setagaya wards to recognize same-sex unions. She said that the recognition of same-sex relationships “could be found in violation of Article 24 and 94 of the Constitution.”
She also said that sexual minorities are “fundamentally different” from transgender people, “who are clearly disabled and should be legally protected.”
Japan's first openly gay politician, Taiga Ishikawa, responded to her comments. “The biggest problem is that she believes gay, lesbian and bisexual people are that way out of personal taste or choice, propagating the idea that they can choose their sexual orientation,” he told the Japan Times.
“Her labeling of all transgender people as being disabled is also wrong. Transgender people refer to all of those with gender identity issues, not just those diagnosed with GID.”
Kobayashi is an independent lawmaker who, according to her official website, fights against wasting public money and advocates the restoration of the ward’s fiscal health