Japan has elected its first openly transgender man to public office
Tomoya Hosoda is the first openly transgender man to win 21 out of 22 seats and become the councillor for the city of Iruma, Japan. The 25-year-old came out of the closet while studying medical sciences at Teikyo University.
Tomoya aims to fight for all minority groups to ensure a structure that embraces diversity. While speaking with Stonewall, Tomoya said,
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 opened up more in his profile for Out in Japan, an initiative to bring notice to the homosexuals and transgenders in the country. In it, he said,
For me, coming out is just the starting line. Some walls can not be overcome by one person. But at such a 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, ways of thinking and values started to change.
He has received constant support from friends, families, and people all across Japan since he announced his candidacy. He hopes to bring about a positive change by gaining a political presence in the country.
However, Tomoya is not the first trans politician to be elected. Back in 2003, Kamikawa Aya was elected as a municipal official in Tokyo. The first country to elect an openly transgender member to Parliament was New Zealand, back in 1999.
Transgenders still face extreme discrimination all over the world. In many countries, they are also subjected to violence and their identities are criminalised. News like this brings a ray of hope that things are moving in a positive direction.