[email protected] Voice Actor Shiki Aoki Comes Out as Transgender Man
posted on by Kim Morrissy
Voice actor Shiki Aoki posted a video on his YouTube channel on Friday, explaining his current feelings about his gender identity. He previously identified as "X-gender" (a Japanese term that indicates people who do not identify as either male or female), but said in the video that he now identifies as a man.
Aoki said that he does not plan to undergo hormone therapy for as long as he remains a voice actor because it would change his voice and he is attached to the characters that he currently plays. He did, however, express the hope that he'll get to play more male roles in the future.
He also explained that sexual orientation and gender identity are entirely separate. He previously identified as bisexual but now identifies as pansexual. He mentioned that he has received approval from his agency to talk publicly about his gender identity and sexuality.
He described his journey grappling with his gender identity at length. He said that he was aware of conflict regarding his gender for a very long time, but struggled to articulate it. Even when he was a child, he was reluctant to play female roles and wanted to be a male actor. In middle school, he began experimenting with dressing as a man and referring to himself with a masculine pronoun. Around this time, he dated a girl for the first time, and because there wasn't much awareness of "LGBT" in Japan, he thought that he was a lesbian, but it did not sound quite right to him.
In high school, a boy asked him out, and he felt repulsed, not out of dislike for the boy, but because he did not like the idea of someone being attracted to him as a girl. This was when he decided that he identified as a boy. He faced bullying from others due to his identity, and even refused to attend school for a time. When he came out to his parents, they did not accept him. Fortunately, a supportive teacher was able to convince his parents to allow him to transfer to a school in Tokyo where he could attend with a male name and a male uniform. He has since come out to a number of close friends, who have mostly been supportive.
He stressed that his experience is not necessarily representative of everyone's, but to everyone who also questions their gender, he wants to say, "You'll be okay. You're not alone." He noted that there's much more awareness of LGBTQ matters nowadays, but there are still people who feel uncertain about their identity, and he encouraged those people to speak to him in the comments of his video.