Incident in Tokyo’s Gay District Reignites Debate About Trans Rights in Japan

Source: Gaijin Pot
The bar Gold Finger in Shinjuku Ni-chome.

Japan’s largest gay community in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ni-chome was forced to continue the debate over trans rights after a trans woman was refused entry to a bar.

A few days ago, we saw the finale to this incident that involved Ni-chome’s most popular lesbian bar, Gold Finger. And by the end of May, international media had covered the story after Tokyo’s LGBTQ+ community, Japanese and foreign alike, began questioning trans inclusivity in Ni-chome’s long-standing system of gender-exclusive bars and events.

In Japan, trans individuals may legally change their gender, but must be unmarried and without children, and also must undergo full sexual reassignment — which made international news this year because many view it as forced sterilization. While trans people can lead legally recognized heterosexual lives, things become far more complicated for trans gay men and lesbians, as the Gold Finger incident reveals.

What happened at Gold Finger

While not the only incident of trans exclusion in Ni-chome, this is the first to gain such a high level of publicity. The bar’s owner eventually issued an apology after many spoke out about the incident. Yet, it took almost two months to get there. Here’s what went down.

American transgender lesbian woman Elin McCready was denied entry to one of Tokyo’s most popular lesbian bars, Gold Finger, on April 20, according to a tweet she posted the next day.

Wow drama! My friend was djing in the ordinarily transphobic lesbian party and I was on the list and went, then they wouldn’t let me in (bc gross old school transphobia) and my friend refused to dj and gotnin a screaming match with the organizer ..

— H3AV3N❤ (@elinmccready) April 20, 2019

McCready, a university professor who lives in Tokyo with her wife of nearly 20 years, was not initially …continue reading