Japan’s Supreme Court handed down a landmark decision on Tuesday, ruling against a government agency that had barred a transgender employee from using the women’s bathroom. The decision was the top court’s first ruling involving the rights of sexual minorities in the workplace. The plaintiff is an employee in her 50s, working at Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). She was assigned a male gender at birth but started living as a woman around 2008, except in the workplace. In 2009, she told her supervisor that she wanted to identify as a woman at work and requested permission to use the women’s bathroom. The employee’s request was granted, but only for a bathroom two floors away. The employee then filed a request to improve the situation to the National Personnel Authority (NPA), a Japanese administrative agency that protects the rights of civil servants but was rejected. In 2015, the plaintiff filed a suit against the government at the Tokyo District Court, arguing that it was discriminatory to be banned from using certain bathrooms. Three years later, the Tokyo District Court ruled that METI’s decision was illegal and ordered the government to pay damages of $9,200. After the Tokyo High Court overturned that decision in 2021, the plaintiff took her case to the Supreme Court. Much of Japan has long held conservative views toward LGBTQ+ issues – and while polls in recent years have suggested attitudes are shifting, activists say discrimination is still commonplace.