Japan is now the first country in the world to have a trans man in public office. Tomoya Hosoda, has been named councillor for the city of Iruma of Saitama Prefecture, after winning the election.
In 2003, Japan elected its first trans politician, Kamikawa Aya, who was re-elected for the second term beginning in 2007. Other Asian countries with trans politicians are Thailand with Yollada “Nok” Suanyot (representing Mueang Nan District since 2012) and Philippines with Senator Geraldine Roman (elected in 2016).
the first country that elected a trans politician is New Zealand with Georgina Beyer, who was elected Mayor of Carterton District in 1995. Beyer later became member of parliament for wairarapa in 1995, and list member of parliament in 2005. While in The United States, Misty Snow, the first trans politician to ever be nominated by a major party (democrat) lost the 2016 election to Republican incumbent Mike Lee.
Tomoya came out as trans while he was a medical sciences student at Teikyo University. He began his transition in 2015.
He hopes his political presence can help stop trans discrimination and he will be working for LGBT rights and improving the lives of the elderly and the disabled.
“Until recently, people have acted as if sexual and gender minorities do not exist,” he said. “We have many hurdles to overcome, but I hope to live up to everyone’s expectations. It is now time to build a foundation for the people who need to move forward. Some walls can not be overcome by one person. We have to work together, and help each other out.”
Tomoya, who credits his friends and family for being a great support network during the election process, acknowledges the challenges that Japanese LGBTQ face, but he remains hopeful.
“While there were so many troubles, a lot of suffering, we can move forward one step at a time,” he says. “The more we meet people, the narrow-minded way of thinking will expand.”
Featured image: Tomoya Hosoda by Leslie Kee.