Gender Diversity

DEI Vision / DEI Consulting

Gender Diversity

We established ”Guidelines for Gender and Sexual Diversity” in 2022, and are working on promoting awareness about gender and sexual diversity on campus.  We continue working on updating policy and improving the campus environment.

Tohoku University -Live as Who You Are- Guidelines for Gender and Sexual Diversity.

*Japanese version is available below.

Table of Content
Click the title for further information
I. Tohoku University’s DEI Declaration and Basic Principles
II. Realizing a Respectful Environment for Gender and Sexual Diversity
  1.What is “sexuality”?
  3.How we respond to gender and sexual diversity
  4.Addressing unconscious bias
  5.When someone comes out to you or seeks your advice
  6.Strict prohibition on outing others
  7.Prevention of human rights violations related to gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity
    gender identity (SOGI Harassment)
III. How We Respond
   III-1.For Students
  1.Can I change my registered name and gender?
  2.Handling of students’ gender information
  3.Academic classes
  4.Student life
  5.Study abroad
  6.Job search and career support
   III-2.For Faculty and Staff
  1.Can we change our registered name and gender?
  2.Handling of gender information
  3.Benefits and personnel programs
Ⅳ.Counseling Services
  1.Consultation on University procedures
  2.Consultation services
Ⅴ.For your reference
  1.I want to know more about gender and sexual diversity
  2.Location of multipurpose restrooms

Ⅰ. Tohoku University’s DEI Declaration and Basic Principles

Tohoku University has been committed to its foundational “Open Door” policy, accepting
a diverse range of people into its community, since its founding in 1907. In 1913, the
university was the first Japanese National University to accept female students, and since
then it has been striving to create a diverse environment and develop awareness around
diversity, equity, and inclusion.
In order to recognize the unconscious biases that exist in our daily lives and to protect the
dignity of all members of the community, the university established the “Basic Policy on the
Protection of Human Rights and the Prevention of Human Rights Violations at National
University Corporation Tohoku University” in 2021. This policy seeks to eliminate “any act of
discrimination based on social status, lineage, race, creed, disability, gender, sexual
orientation or gender identity, or unjust discrimination based on any other reasoning” (as
defined in the policy’s section 3. Definition of Human Rights Violations). The following year,
Tohoku University built upon the existing guidelines and policies and announced its
“Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Promotion Declaration”. This DEI Promotion
Declaration is a commitment to advance ongoing diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, to
respect the differences of all students, faculty, and staff, and to work collaboratively to
create a truly diverse and inclusive environment as an institution.
As gender and sexual diversity has become more widely recognized in recent years,
appropriate actions are essential. These guidelines are designed to provide specific
examples and responses in order to create an environment in which all students, faculty,
and staff respect diverse sexuality in their academic, research, and professional activities.
There are still many issues that need to be addressed and considered, and it is also possible
that unanticipated issues will emerge in the future. Tohoku University will work with and for
all campus members to find ways to solve such issues and challenges, and will make every
effort to create a better environment. Furthermore, Tohoku University, in coordination with
the Center for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, will develop and expand various
systems and facilities, including a one-stop counseling service, and continue to build
awareness among all campus community members.

【Tohoku University’s basic principles for embracing gender and sexual diversity】
・ We respect the equal human rights of all individuals and promote DEI efforts.
・ We promote awareness and the development of an environment and systems to ensure
that gender and sexual diversity is respected.
・ We stand by the diversity of gender and sexuality, and do not discriminate individuals
based on it.
・ We strive to decrease discrimination caused by gender and sexuality. When a problem
cannot be solved immediately, we commit to discussing it and moving forward together
in a future-oriented manner.

Ⅱ.Realizing a Respectful Environment for Gender & Sexual Diversity

1.What is “sexuality”?

Shaped by culture and the times, “sexuality” is a term used to describe the overall nature
of human sexuality. It is a social construct, or way of thinking, that has been ingrained in our
society. As a construct, sexuality has historically divided people into two sexes, male or
female, based on their physical anatomy. In recent years however, this strict either/or binary
has been revisited and reconceptualized as a spectrum with a diverse range of identities
besides the two conventional options of “male” or “female”.
An individual’s sexuality is considered to consist of four elements: physical sex (i.e., one’s
anatomy, body parts), gender identity (one’s own sense of their gender), sexual
orientation (one’s preference in a sexual partner), and gender expression (the way one
acts and presents themselves). Sometimes described as having gradation or fluidity,
sexuality and its four elements do not need to be either “male” or “female”, but can instead
be thought of as a diverse spectrum.


“LGBTQ+” is a term that collectively describes sexual minorities (e.g. individuals who are
lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning). On the other hand, the term “SOGI”
(Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity) or “SOGIE” (SOGI + Gender Expression) is used to
describe the gender and sexual diversity of all people. In other words, SOGI or SOGIE
includes sexual minorities as well as individuals whose assigned physical sex corresponds
with their gender identity (i.e. cisgender) and who are attracted to individuals of the
“opposite” sex (i.e. heterosexual). In these guidelines, the term SOGI is used as an inclusive
term for all people. Please refer to Section V for more terms and definitions.

3.How we respond to gender and sexual diversity

Let’s start by trying to be mindful about gender and sexual diversity. To accept and
respect each other′s SOGI, we must become more aware and sensitive to the ways our
words and actions that can be prejudiced and discriminatory. Let’s ensure that we help
each other to create an environment where everyone can feel seen, comfortable, and safe.

・ Be aware that gender-based statements about appearance such as “that girl over there” or “that
male student over there” can be offensive to the individuals being described.
・ Tohoku University recommends using the universally applicable “-san” or asking the individual
what they would like to be called.
・ Do not use discriminatory words, such as “homo” or “lez”.
・ Be aware that questions such as “Do you have a boyfriend?” or “Do you have a girlfriend?” can
be offensive as well. It is important to know that some people are not interested in relationships
with the “opposite” sex and to not assume that you know someone’s sexual orientation.

4.Addressing unconscious bias

We all have unconscious biases. It is important to understand that we may also have
unconscious biases toward individuals with diverse gender and sexual identities. If you
notice that others are uncomfortable with your actions or statements, reflect upon and
correct them immediately. We can all improve by frequently reflecting on our behavior and
communicating in a mutually respectful manner.

5.When someone comes out to you or seeks your advice

“Coming out” is when a person voluntarily shares their gender or sexual minority identity
with others. Coming out is not a “must”. It is up to the individual to decide whether or not to
tell others about their sexuality. The person’s decision should be respected. No one should
force them to come out.
If a person comes out to you, you should first affirm them and thank them for sharing
with you. Faculty and staff who are given such personal information are responsible for
keeping the information confidential. If it is necessary to share this personal information
with other staff in order to fulfill a desired request made by the individual, discuss and
confirm with whom and to what extent the information can be shared with the individual in
If you would like to speak with a counselor about coming out or how to respectfully
handle a situation when someone comes out to you, etc., please review the counseling
services listed in Section IV.

6.Strict prohibition on outing others

ʻOuting’ is the act of telling and revealing another individual’s sexuality to others without
the individual’s permission. Outing causes great emotional distress to the outed person
involved. It must never happen.

7. Prevention of human rights violations related to gender, sexual orientation,and gender identity

Tohoku University does not tolerate any human rights violations. Human rights violations
are defined as “any acts of unfair discrimination or other violations of human rights based
on social status, family origin, race, belief, disability, gender, sexual orientation, gender
identity, or any other reasons” (Basic Policy on the Protection of Human Rights and the
Prevention of Human Rights Violations at National University Corporation Tohoku
Harassment refers to human rights violations that fall under sexual harassment,
academic harassment, and harassment related to pregnancy, childbirth, childcare leave,
and family care leave (Regulations on Harassment Prevention at National University
Corporation Tohoku University).

SOGI Harassment

Discriminatory language or actions taken related to an individual’s SOGI is referred to as “SOGI
harassment”. In 2007, the UN Human Rights Council approved the Yogyakarta Principles, which
state that discrimination based on attributes such as SOGI is a violation of human rights. The
Council also adopted the “Protection against Violence and Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual
Orientation and Gender Identity” in 2016. In Japan, the 2017 amendment to the Equal
Employment Opportunity Act enforced that sexual harassment based on SOGI is also a form of

III. How We Respond

The university is currently taking the following actions regarding sexual diversity and is
committed to creating a better environment in the future.

III-1. For Students

1.Can I change my registered name and gender? 【Yes】

Contact: Educational Affairs Section within your department/ graduate school

In principle, the name registered with the university should be the same as the name on
the student’s family register (hereafter referred to as a “family name”). However, a student
can register their preferred name at the time of enrollment or while enrolled at the
university, if they understand that they hold full responsibility for changing their registered
name and their reason is approved.
If you wish to register your preferred name, you should contact the Educational Affairs
Section of your department/graduate school. If you have changed your gender on your
family register, you are required to change your gender information on the school register
as well.
If you have any concerns or questions regarding changing your registered name or gender
at the university, you should contact the Center for Counseling and Disability Services’
Counseling Office.

■How can I change my registered name?

①Consult with the Educational Affairs Section of the department/graduate school you
belong to about using a different name based on your self-identified gender. The
Educational Affairs Section will confirm the reason for the change and will explain the
important information and necessary steps to follow.
② Submit the following prescribed forms to the Educational Affairs Section of your
department/graduate school: 1. Notification of Change to Personal Details and 2.
Consent Form After Change.

■Points of Note

*After you change your registered name, all the certificates and other documents issued by the
university will be issued under the newly registered name due to the university’s system.
Please note that you will be accountable for any issues that arise due to potential
discrepancies between your university-registered name and your family name on these
*While registration of your preferred name is permitted, due to current legal restrictions,
documents related to your employment at the university must be completed by you using your
family name, and documents issued by the university (e.g., tax withheld at source slips) will
also use your family name. Therefore, when you have an employment contract with the
university (as a TA, etc.) or when tax procedures are required for your travel expenses for trips
overseas, etc., students must use your family name on the necessary documents.

2.Handling of students’ gender information 【It is handled with care and its usage is minimized as much as possible.】

The university handles gender-related information carefully to ensure that it is kept
confidential. The handling of gender information in the class rosters and the Student Affairs
Information System is described below. It is a priority to continue to make sure that gender
information is handled with great care and attention.

①Sex/gender column on the class roster

Tohoku University is making requests within the university to eliminate the sex/gender
field on the roster as much as possible. In cases when sex/gender information is
necessary, it is to be kept confidential in order to avoid any harm to students.

② Indication of sex/gender on university-issued certificates and documents

All certificates issued by the university (transcripts, degrees, etc.) do not include
sex/gender information. However, this information may be required when submitting
medical certificates (*students can discuss whether to include information regarding
their physical sex or not) to external parties or when completing the designated forms of
other organizations.

③Sex/Gender information on university forms and documents

In cases when sex/gender information is requested or essential, other options besides
male/female, such as “other” and “no response” should be included. Tohoku University
requests that this information in the university’s various forms and documents be
removed as much as possible.

3.Academic classes

Contact for general education subjects:
Educational Affairs Division, General EducationOperations Section
Contact for specialized education subjects:
Educational Affairs Section of each department/graduate school

(1)Concerns related to enrollment in physical education courses, such as a ʻSports A’ or a
ʻSports B’ class as a general requirement  【Contact office above】

You can contact your class instructor or the General Education Operations Section of
the Educational Affairs Division about concerns or questions related to course
enrollment, locker rooms, equipment, etc.
Depending on the nature of the class or sport, there may be situations in which
students come into physical contact with other people. Each instructor will do their best
to reduce the possibility of physical contact. If you have any concerns, you should free to
ask for guidance.

(2)Concerns related to enrollment in specialized courses 【Contact office above】

You can contact the relevant Academic Affairs Section of their undergraduate or
graduate school to ask questions about specialized education courses (including
practical training, etc.).
For example, instead of using the men’s or women’s changing rooms, you can request
to change your clothes in a private space. In addition, when practical training is
conducted overnight, you can request a private room, etc.

(3) Concerns related to in-class activities 【Contact office above】

Efforts are being made to end the unnecessary grouping of students by gender in
classes. Tohoku University also recommends referring to students with the neutral
honorific “-san” instead of gender-specific honorifics such as “-chan” and “-kun”, or
asking individuals what they would like to be called.

4. Student life

(1)Concerns related to health examinations 【Contact office above】

Contact: Student Health Care Center
You may request to have your regular health checkup and other health checkups
provided by the university on a different date due to their gender identity. These
requests are responded to on a case-by-case basis. Please use the e-mail address
provided in the health checkup notification sent by the university.

(2)Concerns related to restrooms on campus 【Efforts are in progress.】

The multipurpose restrooms on campus are open to everyone. These restrooms can
also be used as changing rooms. In the future, the name “multipurpose restroom” may
be changed to “universal restroom” and established as “all-gender restrooms” that can
be used by all individuals.

(3)Concerns about university dormitories 【Contact office below】

Contact: Student Services Division
The university has six dormitories for Japanese students (five dormitories for men and
one dormitory for women), seven University Houses for both international and
Japanese students, and the International House for international students only.
Although the rooms are essentially private rooms, each facility organizes and operates
differently in terms of how the spaces and floors are shared amongst students. If you
would like to discuss special accommodations, you should contact the relevant office
when applying for a room.

(4)Concerns about dress and appearance in class and at formal ceremonies 【We respect diversity】

To support and promote the diversity of the university community, you are
encouraged to dress according to your diverse identities in your daily classes and at
formal events such as entrance and graduation ceremonies. The university respects the
dress, such as kimono, ethnic costumes, etc., and appearance of you is in accordance
with your diverse gender and cultural identities, while expecting that your chosen attire
is also respectful of the nature of the event.

(5)Concerns about extracurricular activities  【Contact office below】

Contact: Student Services Division, Student Activity Support Section
If you would like to discuss matters such as the use of changing rooms, etc., you may
contact the Student Activity Support Section of the Student Services Division.

5. Study abroad

(1) Concerns about leaving Japan to study abroad 【Contact office below】

Contact: Student Exchange Division
To respect your diversity and privacy, inquiries regarding your sex/gender are not
made in counseling sessions.
For questions or fields regarding sex/gender information in application forms and other
questionnaires and surveys, options for “other” and “no response” are being added. The
Global Learning Center also provides consultation services for you to help address any
questions or concerns that may arise while studying abroad.

(2)Concerns about studying in Japan from other countries 【Contact office below】

Contact: International Student Help Desk

・International students who wish to enroll in a regular degree program
Consultation is available for applicants who need accommodations related to exams
and their studies. Please contact the relevant section of the department/graduate school
before applying for the program.

*Please note that students who request accommodations will not be disadvantaged in any
way in the admission decision process due to making such a request.

・International students who wish to enroll in a non-degree program (research students or
exchange students who wish to study at Tohoku University)
Please consult with the designated host or program faculty before applying for the

6. Job search and career support

Contact: Center for Career Support
If you have any concerns about their search for an internship or a job, you should contact
the Center for Career Support, which has prepared a list of LGBTQ+/SOGI-friendly
companies and other resources. The Center for Career Support works together with the
Center for Counseling and Disability Services’ Counseling Office as needed.

III-2. For Faculty and Staff

1. Can we change our registered name and gender? 【In progress.】

Contact: Human Resources Section of relevant department
Faculty and staff need to use their family name as it appears on their family register,
however the use of a former name (e.g. maiden name) is permitted. Under current laws, the
use of another preferred name is not permitted because any activities or correspondences
with local governments, etc. must be done under an individual’s current family name.
Permitting the use of another preferred name (other than an individual’s former name) will
be considered following updates to governmental policy (e.g. policy changes related to the
“same-sex partnership system”). If an individual changes their name or sex in the family
register, they must also update the information registered with the university. To do so, they
should submit a Name Change Notification form (or the Use of Maiden Name/Termination
Notification form) and a copy of their family register to the Human Resources Section of
their department.

2.Handling of gender information  【It is handled with care.】

The university handles gender-related information of faculty and staff carefully to ensure that
it is not made public without the individual’s permission.

3.Benefits and personnel programs  【Contact office below】

Contact: Human Resources Section of relevant department
The programs that are available for pregnancy, childbirth, and childcare leave, etc., may
differ depending on gender. Individuals with any questions regarding the use of these
programs should contact the Human Resources Section of their department.
The university does not discriminate based on personnel matters related to sexual
minority status.

Ⅳ.Counseling Services

Regarding issues related to gender and sexual diversity, consultation services are available
through the contact points listed below. Please be assured that information shared during
consultations is kept confidential. If the need to collaborate with other office(s) on campus
arises in the efforts to provide support to you, information will only be shared after receiving
your consent.

1.Consultation on University procedures

Please contact the office that can handle your concern directly. If the contact person is unknown,
or if you feel uncomfortable reaching out to the designated contact person, proceed to “2.
Consultation services”.

2.Consultation services

Tohoku University offers counseling services on a wide variety of topics which include
gender and sexuality. Everything shared in counseling sessions will be kept strictly
confidential and will not be shared with outside parties without your permission. Please
feel free to use our services.

【For Students】Counseling Office, Center for Counseling and Disability Services

・Specialized counselors (clinical psychologists) are available for consultation.
・Consultation for others involved in the student’s life
(e.g. faculty, staff, family members,etc.) is also available.
022-795-7833(Japanese only) (English support provided, see website for details)

【For Faculty & Staf】Staff Counseling Office

・A full-time counselor is available for consultation.
(available only in Japanese)

【External consultation service(for students and faculty/staff)】

・For students, faculty and staff, external consultation services for harassment, physical
health, and mental health issues are available.
(available only in Japanese)

【Other off-campus contacts】

・There are many consultation services available for SOGI matters.

■Yorisoi Hotline
0120-279-226(Miyagi, Iwate, Fukushima)/0120-279-338(Nationwide)

■Miyagi Gender Equality Consultation Office

Every 2nd and 4th Tuesdays from noon to 4PM (except for national holidays, New Year holidays, etc.)
– No appointment required; consultation free of charge

* We will continue working together to establish a one-stop counseling system that allows everyone to
reach out and stop by without hesitation.
* If you do not know where to go for support or if you have any questions,
please contact the Center for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Tohoku University.

■Center for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion,Tohoku University

Ⅴ.For your reference

1.I want to know more about gender and sexual diversity.

●What is gender and sexual “gradation”?

Gender and sexual gradation is a term that can describe the wide variety and fluidity within the
elements of sexuality. Instead of thinking of gender and sex as binary constructs with only two categories
of “male” or “female”, we can think of them as diverse spectrums. How can you say that you are really “a
man” or “a woman”? What is the definitive criterion for being 100% “male” or 100% “female”?
There are many terms used to describe gender & sexual identities and orientations. Below are some
commonly used terms.

●Factors and terms related to gender and sexual gradation. 
*Other factors and terms exist. We introduce only some of the major concepts here.

■Physical sex (anatomy, body parts) = Sex assigned at birth

■Gender identity = A person’s own sense of their own gender
・Cisgender (ʻCis’): A person whose gender identity corresponds with their physical sex
・Transgender (ʻTrans’): A person whose gender identity does not correspond with their physical
sex assigned at birth
・X-Gender: A person whose gender identity is neither male nor female; also referred to as
ʻnonbinary’ and ʻgenderqueer’
・Questioning: A person who is unsure and/or curious about their SOGI, and/or has not defined it

■Sexual Orientation=pattern of romantic/physical attraction
・Heterosexual: pattern of being attracted to individuals of the opposite sex
・Homosexual: pattern of being attracted to individuals of the same sex
・Lesbian: A person who identifies as female and is attracted to women
・Gay: A person who identifies as male and is attracted to men
・Bisexual: A person who is attracted to both men and women
・Asexual: A person who does not experience sexual attraction
・Pansexual: A person who is attracted to people regardless of physical sex or gender identity

■ Gender Expression=the way one expresses or presents their gender identity, often
through their appearance/clothing, speech/language and, behavior/actions, etc. Tohoku
University supports individuals’ free expression of gender.

●What is an ʻally’?
ʻAlly’ means ʻsupporter’ and refers to someone who understands and tries to support and advocate for
those in minoritized groups. Sexual diversity is important for everyone. It is not just an issue for individuals insexual minorities. Anyone can become an ally if they understand what an “ally” is and are willing to learn andhelp one another. At Tohoku University, student groups such as “AROW” (an official university group) havebeen formed to create spaces for people who identify as members of a sexual minority and people who areallies interested in learning from each other and discussing topics and issues of diverse sexuality.

2.Location of multipurpose restrooms

The current locations of multipurpose restrooms are labeled on the Tohoku University Barrier-Free Maps
linked below.

①Katahira Campus
②Kawauchi-Kita Campus
③Kawauchi-Minami Campus
④Aobayama Campus
(Aobayama Campus: North)
(Aobayama Campus: East)
(Aobayama Campus: West)
(Aobayama Campus’ New Extension)
⑤Seiryo Campus

Published March 2023
Working Group for Developing Guidelines on Diverse Sexuality

If you have any questions about the content of these guidelines,
the principles behind them, or any comments,
please contact the Center for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.

Center for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Tohoku University.
Due to the change in our name, editing has been done in January, 2024.