Gender Expression among Transgender Women in Japan: Support Is Needed to Improve Social Passing as a Woman

Michiyo Furutani, Zhou Yu, Mikiya Nakatsuka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Gender expression is important for transgender women to improve their social passing as women. Herein, a questionnaire about the status of gender expression and support needs was distributed to 54 transgender women aged 17-71 in Japan. Most of the respondents noted that they had found it relatively difficult to handle physical changes and weight gain due to hormone treatment. They also found it difficult to enact and sustain practices such as a feminine use of voice and to use women-only services, whereas practicing and continuing with routine skin and hair care and feminine mannerisms were relatively easy for them. In the questionnaire regarding the support for gender transitioning, many items showed only a small percentage of the transgender women had received the support that they were looking for, and most of their needs for support were not addressed. Some of the factors that increased the respondents' needs and achievement of gender expression as women included estrogen treatment, sex reassignment surgery, and living as a woman; these aspects met their support needs as well. Gender support professionals need to coordinate and collaborate with specialists in areas such as nutritional guidance and voice training to enable transgender women to improve the extent to which they can socially ‘pass' as women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-334
Number of pages12
JournalActa medica Okayama
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • gender expression
  • gender transition
  • real life experience
  • social passing as a woman
  • transgender

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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