Incidents of "outing" of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students by teachers in Japan have been on the rise, discouraging other LGBT students from coming forward due to concerns about discrimination and confidentiality.
Teachers who may simply wish to show consideration to LGBT students by informing parents or other classmates about their situations may in fact be causing irrevocable harm, experts say.
While the issue of disclosing the sexual orientation or gender identity of LGBT students without their voluntary consent has become a controversial debate in the United States, Japan still lacks a framework for even understanding the issue in the education system.
Minako "Minata" Hara, representative director of Kyosei Net, or All Japan Sexual Minorities Support Network, says there has been a rise in the number of LGBT students seeking consultations at the nonprofit organization after being outed at school.
Outing is the action of disclosing a person's gender identity or sexual orientation when such information has not previously been made public. Hara recently had a student seek consultation over such a disclosure.
"Although the LGBT student only consulted with the teacher in charge, the parents found out immediately," said Hara, adding that some parents have difficulty accepting the LGBT status of their children and may scold or rebuke them.
She says parents often blame themselves for "a problem with the child's upbringing."
In one case, a student with gender identity disorder who was registered male at birth told a supervising teacher of wanting to be included in the female group for a school trip.
But before the student realized it, the teacher had told the classmates of the situation. A number of the classmates' parents later complained to the school.
Kyosei Net has seen a rise in consultations related to outing and more incidents reported each year. "Most of the teachers are just acting because they want people around them to be aware. But since they lack a common understanding, there are cases where they are just playing it by ear," said Hara. Read more via Japan Today