In a world first, the Japanese city of Iruma has elected a trans man to public office.
Tomoya Hosoda, 25, has been elected a councillor of the city. He came out as trans while studying medical science at Teikyo University, and began transition in 2015.
Hosoda plans to work for LGBTI rights as well as improving the lives of older people and those with a disability.
“It is now time to build a foundation for the people who need to move forward,” he said. “Some walls cannot be overcome by one person. We have to work together, and help each other out.”
Hosoda credited his family and friends for their support during the election, and said he hopes his political presence can help stop discrimination against trans people.
“Until recently, people have acted as if sexual and gender minorities do not exist,” said Hosoda. “We have many hurdles to overcome, but I hope to live up to everyone’s expectations.
“The more we meet people, the narrow-minded way of thinking will expand.”
There have been few trans politicians in the world. Japan’s first trans politician was a woman, Aya Kamikawa, elected in 2003. In 1999, New Zealand became the first country to elect an openly trans member of parliament, Georgina Beyer.