An elementary school teacher from the Mie Prefecture hopes that her efforts will result in change: Takako Ogura, 57, a teacher at a public grade school in the town of Meiwa, has introduced her own text book to teach students about gender identity disorders and related issues in her health and physical education classes.
Ogura started taking up LGBT issues during her classes about three years ago. Her latest effort, using a LGBT-focused text book, was inspired by her encounter with 25-year-old LGBT rights advocate Shoichi Yamaguchi from Ise in the Mie Prefecture.
Instead, the books described how children will have a growing attraction to the opposite sex when they enter puberty, which led Yamaguchi, who had a crush on a female classmate, to believe he was odd.
It also caused him to feel lonely. Having no one to turn to, Yamaguchi repeatedly contemplated suicide. The breakthrough came in Yamaguchi’s second year at high school, when he became friends with a person who “accepted me (for who) I am.”
When Yamaguchi met with Ogura, he told her that school text books had not changed since then. That comment led Ogura to think she may be hurting the feelings of some of the students she had been teaching.
In the text book Ogura prepared, which is based on Yamaguchi’s experience, a boy says, “I was born as a girl but I didn’t like the feeling of my breasts growing big.”
Ogura also encourages LGBT students struggling with various body issues or emotional changes during puberty to seek help from adults. Ogura, who invited Yamaguchi to give a lecture at her school in September, said many children reacted positively to his speech. After Yamaguchi’s lecture, Ogura decided to give students a test.
The papers she distributed to students had a message that read: “Everyone (goes) through different transformations when their body alters (during adolescence) or different emotional torments. “No matter what you go through, you are worthy as who you are.”
What an inspiring teacher! She sure is a hero for many people.