The parents of a child diagnosed with gender dysphoria have asked the city government to
The child, who is currently 8 years old, was bullied at the age of 6 in April 2019, as stated in a report submitted to Otsu Mayor Kenji Sato on Wednesday. She was born a biological male but identifies as female and was allegedly targeted for wearing “female clothes” and bringing “belongings designed for girls” to school, The Asahi Shimbun reported. This is believed to be Japan’s first recognized case of bullying against a preschool child.
The report cited 11 incidents in which the child was bullied, including the times when she was beaten and ridiculed by students who called her “a ladyboy” and “a liar.”
The child was reportedly diagnosed with gender dysphoria in November 2019. She developed health problems, including hair loss and adjustment disorder, according to her mother.
“Our child says she wants to die due to the bullying and has been unable to return to the day nursery,” the 35-year-old mother reportedly said in a news conference on Feb. 4. “We want municipal authorities to prevent a recurrence of similar incidents.”
The report also claimed that the child’s former nursery took the bullying lightly. One of the child care workers overseeing the child’s class allegedly told the mother that the students were just “playing pranks” as “part of growing up.”
The city government’s infant policy division also reportedly said at first that the incidents were part of the children’s “growth process.” However, the city government apologized to the parents in November 2020 for not taking action against the alleged harassment.
“We should have extended assistance a step further instead of trying to settle the matter with the mere remark saying that it occurred as part of the growth process,” the apology reportedly read.
Officials of the nursery told The Asahi Shimbun that they explained gender diversity to their students. However, they acknowledged that “there were some failings on their part.”
The child’s parents have reportedly requested for a separate investigative panel concerning her case.