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Preschooler diagnosed with gender dysphoria bullied at Japanese day care: report

Third-party panel chairman Toshiyuki Kasugai, right, hands Otsu Mayor Kenji Sato a report about a bullying case at a day care, at Otsu City Hall in Shiga Prefecture on July 6, 2022. (Mainichi/Kengo Suga)

OTSU -- A child diagnosed with gender dysphoria was bullied at their day care in this west Japan city, a third-party panel reported to the mayor on July 6 in what they believe to be the first case in the country to be recognized as bullying against a preschool child.

    According to the mother of the child, now 8, their assigned gender at birth was male but they identify as a girl. The child was enrolled in the day care in April 2019, and went wearing girls' clothes. Other children at the day care apparently called them names, including "man-woman," and the child developed health problems including hair loss and adjustment disorder. They became unable to attend the day care in October 2020.

    The report submitted to Otsu Mayor Kenji Sato states that there were 11 incidents considered as bullying, including when other children called the victim "a liar" and made fun of them for dressing in girl's clothes, hit the child with a toy in the chest, and cut up the padded insert in their crayon box.

    The report also concluded that it was problematic that the day care took the harassment lightly, considering it only as "part of growing up," and requested that a separate investigative panel be set up.

    (Japanese original by Kengo Suga, Otsu Bureau)

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