Japanese School Officials Consider Gender Identity and School Uniforms

On June 11, transgender and genderqueer high school students spoke about school uniforms at an event in Fukuoka City. Remarks raised included “I don’t want anyone else to have a bad experience” and “I want students to be able to choose freely.”

The event was the first ever Fukuoka City School Uniform Consideration Assembly, organized by former elementary school teachers and lawyers. 25 school officials attended the event.

One 17-year-old 3rd year high school student living in Fukuoka said that while their body is female, they “identify as neither male nor female”. In May of their 3rd year of junior high school, wearing a sailor uniform suddenly felt distressing.

“It was like putting labels all over my body saying, ‘I’m a girl.’”

When they began coming to school wearing their P.E. tracksuit, teachers would urge them to wear a girl’s school uniform. Despite this, they held firm. In an attempt to express their pain, they began to self-harm. Even though their teachers saw the scars, the school did not change its stance.

Even though they were a member of the art club, their mind was so overcome with the school uniform situation that they could no longer participate.

When the autumn cultural festival came around, they were told that they could not participate if they did not wear a school uniform. They attended their club’s art exhibition, which contained no pieces of their own. “How disgraceful,” they thought. They then stayed home from school for two weeks.

They eventually chose to go to a high school that does not require school uniforms. There are still issues regarding toilets, but they expressed that going to school has become more enjoyable.

“Now, I don’t hate those teachers,” they said. “They didn’t understand the struggles of sexual minorities, so I think that they were troubled as well. If there were school uniforms that did not distinguish between male and female, there would be fewer problems for students and teachers. I would like adults to stop causing students to struggle over school uniforms.”

Source – セーラー服着るのが苦痛に… 心と体の性、生徒が考えた

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