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FtM Gaijin 2012/1/29 10:33
Hi, my name is Ryan. Without getting into personal opinions about the subject of transgender and transsexuality, I want to understand the basic challenges being a transgender foreigner will bring. I'm transitioning right now, at 21 years of age and plan to go to Japan when I'm 30, have finished university, and have established stronger financial stability. I have seriously contemplated not transitioning and going to Japan as a woman - for me, the experience of travel is my first priority.

The problem with that is that I will always be a very masculine female-bodied person, even if I put on make up, keep my body as lean as possible, and practice traditionally womanly roles. Even if I were to go against my own sexuality and marry a man, I will always be incredibly unhappy even while pursuing my dream of living in Japan.

The basic point is that, if I go to Japan, I will be going as male. I probably will risk a few exciting experiences - like going to an onsen or falling in love. But overall completing my transition will make adjusting to a new culture a heck of a lot easier for me.

But there are issues: Am I able to bring my prescription for hormones into Japan and if so, what is the likelihood of finding an open-minded doctor who will be willing and able to help me?

My Japanese right now is very poor but I'm dedicating the next several years to becoming fluent. I understand breaking the language barrier will help me immensely in all areas of working and living in Japan, not just in receiving respect from the medical industry.

I understand my way of life is not widely accepted anywhere in the world and that people will be uncomfortable and may reject me upon learning of my condition. It's the same in Japan as it is anywhere. And that's also why I've concluded that finding romance in any foreign country is an incredibly unlikely and dangerous thing to pursue. I'm fine with that.

My main question relates to my prescription for hormones, but any other tips, warnings, or advice is welcome.

Thanks!
Ryan
by RJDawson  

Re: FtM Gaijin 2012/1/29 18:15
I think you worry too much for no reason. Come as you are. If you are transitioned to male then, be as you are, a male. You will find Japanese people will see you as male. There is no need to explain anything. I think if you have a prescription for medicine then it is ok. Just please have documents for the prescription. You will be pleasantly surprised at the Japanese people who will not judge or gossip but accept you if you behave in an humble and non flamboyant way. It is a wonderful country and I hope you have a good time in Japan! ^_^
by hirosumi (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: FtM Gaijin 2012/1/29 22:24
I think your biggest concern would be the hormone issue and for that you need professional advice, not forum advice. Though it may be that you could find a transgender forum that could give you the information you seek. Good luck and stay positive.
by Tilt (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: FtM Gaijin 2012/1/30 02:18
Thanks. I guess I was worrying a little too much. Obviously I'm never going to go down the street flamboyantly broadcasting my transsexuality but I guess I was a little worried about the situation where a boss, coworker, or friend finds out. Here in Canada when that happens I risk losing a friend or two and coworkers become incredibly uncomfortable around me, at least for a while until they realize I really am just a normal person. But I have little idea what to expect in another culture.

Thanks for the advice and reassurance.
by RJDawson rate this post as useful

Re: FtM Gaijin 2012/2/1 12:42
The Japanese are more tolerant of these issues than you may think. Probably because of cross dressing tradition in drama and arts (e.g. Kabuki and Takarazuka) and a rather open sexual culture compared to Christian or Confucian cultures.

We've always had few cross dresser or transgender (though mostly MtF) stars on TV for as long as I can remember and more so today. You find many of these TV personalities in family time shows and even as news show commentators. Completely straight men and women visit transgender bars.

Not to say you will not encounter any of these things you worry about. You will as in any culture. However, it will not be more severe here than anywhere.

Perhaps the largest cultural resistance is the fact that you are doing something to your body that you got from your parents (same stigma some people have towards piercing or tatoos). But that's not a big thing anymore.

by Harry Takeuchi rate this post as useful

Re: FtM Gaijin 2012/2/1 16:31
In Japan as elsewhere some men are naturally feminine, some women are naturally masculine and some are of an indeterminate sex. Most people look at them but don't wonder what their gender is.

No one in Japan knows you so come in and be the person you are in your heart and mind.
by Monkey see (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: FtM Gaijin 2012/2/2 08:17
I many a time find myself wondering the same things. As I myself see myself outside of the gender constraints. This summer I am in fact going to Japan but an going to be outwardly feminine. There is a part of me slightly regretting this decision but I am only 18 and I don't have the means in which to properly express myself. I think many of the comments above are very right to say that Japanese people are fairly accepting of the LGBT group. and that you should definetly just be yourself :3

Be true to who you are and everything will be fine.
by EvilCrash rate this post as useful

Re: FtM Gaijin 2012/2/6 03:30
I feel that we should stop putting so much emphasis on who a person is based off of gender. You are who you are, why should we change our selves to fit into a box. The idea of constrained gender roles and stereotypes about how you should be is a bit dangerous and unfair for both men and women. Why can't we just find a balance and just accept ourselves for who we are?
Why can't everyone else?
by K (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: FtM Gaijin 2012/2/6 07:33
again, thanks for the replies! Much appreciated. Another quick question: Onsen! I'm guessing I should void it at all costs?

Also, I should probably not get involved with any girls while I'm there, huh? :P
by RJDawson rate this post as useful

Re: FtM Gaijin 2012/2/6 11:22
Ryan,

Another quick question: Onsen! I'm guessing I should void it at all costs?

I guess it all depends on how far you have transitioned. You would have to use the women's baths, so you (and the people around you) might not feel comfortable if, for example, you have a beard or otherwise masculine appearance. There's always the option of private "kashikiri" onsen at some places, which you can sometimes reserve for an hour or so.

Also, I should probably not get involved with any girls while I'm there, huh? :P

I don't see why you need to behave any differently while in Japan.
by Dave in Saitama (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: FtM Gaijin 2012/2/8 07:25
in terms of meeting girls:

I have an F2M friend who spend a number of years in Japan and has had a number of girlfriends there. He has only had top surgery.

I think, as with most places in the world, its just a matter of finding the right person, regardless of your physical gender. Just be honest from the start and it shouldnt be a problem
by Seratone rate this post as useful

Re: FtM Gaijin 2012/2/8 08:15
You should read this article:
http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/05/02/1051382096188.html
This was 2003. There are more information about this on the web.

I think it might be best if you try to find out as much as you can from actual Japanese transsexuals regarding communal bathing and so on.

Very best of luck on your journey!
by Tama (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: FtM Gaijin 2012/2/8 09:58
I found that many japanese people dont really see any difference between homosexuality and transgender. to most people gay means a man behaving effeminately etc or visa versa so you may find that people are more understanding than you expect. certainly on television etc transgender and transvestism is more visible than just homosexuality. I feel much more masculine than many straight japanese men but that makes it harder to explain I am gay, the assumption is I am hiding my true effeminate "gay" side which just is not true. Good luck you will be fine, of course dont deny yourself the chance to all in love.
by skyman (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: FtM Gaijin 2012/7/2 09:16
I'm FtM as well, and have had no problem in onsen. Just keep your mini towel close, and you'll be fine. No need to go to the girl's side. I think it would be way more uncomfortable over there.
by JRV (guest) rate this post as useful

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