TV personality Ai Haruna speaks out on her struggle with gender identity disorder

The following is the first installment of a two-part story of how Japanese transsexual TV personality Ai Haruna, 39, who suffered from and overcame gender identity disorder. Ai Haruna sometimes shows her “manly” side on TV variety programs by speaking in a loud, hoarse voice, drawing laughter from the audience. Born anatomically male, Haruna wanted clothes and toys for girls as a child. When playing house, she always played the role of the mother. “I believed that I would naturally be able to become a woman when I grew up,” she said.

But upon entering primary school, things quickly changed. Students were separated by sex for physical examinations. She wanted to wear bloomers for female students in gym class, but had to wear shorts for male students. “I despaired and wondered whether I would gradually become different from the other friendly female students. I felt my identity was threatened,” she said.

“Why can’t I become a woman?” Haruna thought this to herself all day long and was unable to concentrate on studying.

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