Gender identity transformed from freak into rights issue – By Thomasina Larkin – Staff Writer

Japan looks to respect rights of those with gender disorders, but even progress carries its own set of risks

‘When I was a child, I had a feeling I wasn’t satisfied with being a human being. To be a human being didn’t seem like a beautiful existence to me,” says Otojiro Toriyama.

“When I realized I was a human being, it was a strange feeling. I wished I were an animal, a bird, or dog, horse, serpentine. But no matter how much I thought about it, I knew I couldn’t leave my body and be an animal in this world. I was so disappointed.

“My body was a woman’s. But I thought men’s bodies were better because they’re more like animals, with muscles, hairier. Then I wished I could be a man. I was very small then, probably three or four,” he says.