A Japanese court ruled on Friday that a transgender woman cannot legally be recognized as the mother of her baby born after she underwent a surgical gender transition.
The woman, who was assigned male at birth, had two daughters with her current partner using sperm collected and preserved before her transition, according to Japanese media reports.
According to the court ruling, however, only the child born before the sex reassignment surgery can be legally recognized as a daughter.
Japan, where many LGBTQIA+ people don’t come out to their families, requires anyone who wants to legally change their gender to have surgery to remove the sexual organs they were born with, a practice heavily criticized by human rights groups.
Four years ago, the woman targeted in Friday’s ruling, who has not been named, received legal authorization to rectify her gender identity on her identity documents.
Although her partner was legally recognized as the children’s legal mother for being the birth mother, the trans woman also asked to be recognized as a mother. The Tokyo court, however, claimed in February that “there is nothing in Japanese law that recognizes your parental rights.”
The woman then appealed but lost the case on Friday after the Tokyo Supreme Court ruled that she can only be recognized as the mother of a child born before her legal gender change.
Japan is the only country in the G7, the group of major economies in the world, not to recognize same-sex marriage.
In June, a court ruled that the ban on such unions was not unconstitutional, harming LGBTQIA+ rights after a court in 2021 ruled otherwise.