On April 29 we will be holding an event about "Transgender Archives, History, Education" at Hitotsubashi University. Most of the event will be in Japanese, but Aaron Devor's talk will be in English (with Japanese consecutive interpretation). Aaron Devor is the world's first Chair in Transgender Studies, and also the founder of the Transgender Archives at Victoria University. Mitsuhashi Junko and Yakushi Mika, both prominent as a scholar and activist respectively in transgender issues in Japan, will also be sharing their research and findings. We will be having a panel discussion after the talks, and transgender activist and writer Hatakeno Tomato will join the discussion.
“An introduction to the world’s only Chair in Transgender Studies”
In January 2016, the world’s only Chair in Transgender Studies was established at the University of Victoria, Canada. The mission of the Chair is to foster the development and dissemination of research, and to engage with transgender and cisgender (non-transgender) communities to enhance understanding and appreciation of transgender people. The Chair is responsible for two major pre-existing endeavours and has introduced many new activities.
The Transgender Archives, launched in 2011, are the world’s largest collection of original records of transgender research and activism. Spanning over 160 m, the collections preserve over 100 years of records of research by and about transgender people, and over 50 years of records of transgender activism, from18 countries on five continents. The Moving Trans History Forward conferences, begun in 2014, are a unique blend of students, scholars, artists, and family members, as well as community activists of all ages. The Chair also sponsors arts and cultural events, educational speakers, social events, and scholarships and fellowships. In addition, the Chair advises policy makers, conducts research, guides graduate students, teaches, and frequently speaks to the media.
This presentation will provide an introduction to some of the accomplishments and aspirations of the Chair in Transgender Studies.
Aaron Devor, PhD, FSSSS, FSTLHE, has been studying and teaching about transgender topics for more than 30 years. He holds the world’s only Research Chair in Transgender Studies and is the author of numerous well-cited scholarly articles, and the widely-acclaimed books FTM: Female-Io-Male Transsexuals in Society (2016, 1997), Lambda-Literary-Awards-
“Transgender History in Japan”
This talk presents a summary of the transgender history of Japan. Drag or cross-dressing has never been prohibited in Japanese traditional religions (Shinto, Buddhism), and as a result of this cross-dressing was prominent in fields such as religion, the arts, and sex work in the premodern period. However, in the modern period (Meiji to early Showa period, 1868-1945), with the growing influence of Western Christian teachings cross-dressing became increasingly taboo. Because of the ideology of “perverse sexuality” which was imported into Japan in the early 20th century, this stigmatization took root in academia as well. With a small exception, most transgender individuals were relegated to underground existences. After Japan lost the war (August 1945), social systems underwent a tremendous overhaul, and transgender individuals who had up until then been repressed started to resurface. In 1949, the novel “Danshou no mori” by the cross-dressing sex worker Nogami became a bestseller. In the latter half of the 1950s, transgender individuals were employed professionally in show business, the service industry, and sex work. From the late 1950s to 1960s, amateur male to female cross-dressers also started appearing. Heading into the 1990s, distinct and developed transgender worlds took shape. When the concept of Gender Identity Disorder was imported in the early 1990s to early 2000s, the medicalization of transgender took place at rapid speed, and brought with it risks. However, from around 2010 there has been a change in direction, and Japan’s transgender culture, which has the longest running history in the world, continues into the next generation.
Born in 1955 in Saitama. Adjunct lecturer at Meiji University. Specializes in the history of gender and sexuality, transgender society and culture, history of sex work. In 2000, Mitsuhashi became the first openly transgender university lecturer when she was appointed as lecturer at Chuo University. In 2005, taught the first course on “transgender studies” at Ochanomizu University. Publications include “Josou to Nihonjin” (Male-to-female cross-dressing and the Japanese) )Kodansha, 2008).
“Thoughts on Transgender Children, Education and School”
29% of transgender individuals have experienced truancy and 58.6% have at some point contemplated suicide, with adolescence as the peak period for these occurrences. In addition, 56.6% of transgender individuals started experiencing discomfort with their gender before entering elementary school, and 89.7% before middle school. However, amongst first year high schoolers only 9% had the opportunity to learn about LGBT or gender/sexual diversity in an educational setting. It can be said that schools offer far from sufficient support and knowledge about these issues. In 2015, the Ministry of Education issued a notice to all elementary, middle and high schools calling for the adequate consideration of the needs of sexual minority children. Municipalities, schools, NPOs and other organizations have also started implementing more inclusive practices. This presentation discusses the current situation of transgender children and the problems they may have, and looks at the efforts in place nationally, administratively, in schools and NPOS. From there, we will consider what else is necessary in schools and educational institutions from here on out.
Mika Yakushi is the Chairperson of the Non-Profit Organization ReBit and a career counsellor. Born in 1989, he graduated from Waseda University and whilst a student founded ReBit, initially as a student organization. He has given numerous talks at schools, administrations, and companies, and provided job hunting and career support for over 1500 LGBT individuals. A member of the Shinjuku Ward Task Force on Youth Suicide Prevention and other councils. In 2015 he was awarded the “Human Resources Award,” an esteemed award given to outstanding young persons in Japan. In 2016, he was a member of the “Global Shapers Community” present at the Davos Summit. Publications include “LGBTtte nan darou? Karada no sei, kokoro no sei, suki ni naru sei” (Godo Publishing) and “Toransujendaa to shokuba kankyou handobukku” (JMAM).