Let’s do away with bias against sexual minorities


Learning from participation in LGBT convention


   “Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2017”, a gathering related to sexual minorities or LGBT, was held at Yoyogi Park in Tokyo’s Shibuya in May. The annual event since 2012 drew a record 108,000 participants during its two-day session, also with a record 500 taking part in a parade that followed. Tokyo streets took on rainbow colors as the participants walked along with banners and placards in hand.



  LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. According to a survey conducted in 2015 by Dentsu Diversity Lab, a unit of the major ad agent, the number of such sexual minorities in Japan is estimated at about 9.51 million or 7.67% of the total population.



Tokyo Rainbow Pride is an organization aimed to help LGBTs live positively without being exposed to discrimination and prejudice. It is sponsored by major enterprises such as Japan Tobacco Inc. and Marui Co. and various other organizations. In addition to the annual convention and parade, it monthly hosts an event dubbed “Shibuya ni kakeru niji” (putting a rainbow over Shibuya) to provide a community space for interchanges among LGBTs. The space is an oasis for LGBTs, where they occasionally talk to each other on a theme-by-theme basis. Those who are not affiliated with the organization are free to join them.



 This reporter participated in one of its activities, Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2017. The two-day convention consisted of “Festa Day and “Parade Day”. Your reporter took part in the latter. Among the participants were not only LGBTs but also ‘straight allies’ who understand them and support their campaigns. Singer Mika Nakashima was among the celebrities who took part in the amped-up parade.



Various companies set up exhibition booths at Yoyogi Park, the venue of the convention. One of them, arranged by an insurance company, was seen pitching its products to homosexual couples. Many of the participants left the park for the parade, wearing rainbow-colored goods symbolizing sexual diversity. They walked around in the Shibuya and Harajuku districts, carrying placards that appealed sexual diversity in their own words. One of them read, “Try to know really what I am, regardless of sex.”  Some LGBT supporters carried placards saying “I’m an ally”.

会場の代々木公園には、様々な企業がブースを開き、同性カップル向けの保険プランを提供する保険会社のブースも置かれていた。パレード参加者は、同公園を出発し、性の多様性を表す虹色のグッズなどを身にまといながら、渋谷や原宿でプラカードをもち行進。プラカードには、自らの言葉で性の多様性を訴えものが多く、中には「男女関係なく、本当の私を知って欲しい」という当事者の声や、「Im ally」といったLGBTを支持するものも目立った。


 The parade was utterly devoid of political colors. It gave a bright atmosphere, featuring women dancing and singing on colorfully decorated floats. It is only recently that discrimination against LGBTs has come to be considered problematic in Japan. A Hitotsubashi University graduate student killed himself in 2015 after his homosexuality was revealed by his friend against his intention, drawing a great deal of public attention. Let us wish that more people will correctly understand sexual minorities and do away with their prejudice.

  パレード全体の雰囲気は、完璧に政治性を帯びたものではなく、車両などをカラフルに装飾した山車(だし)に乗った女性が踊ったり、歌を歌ったりしていて、明るい印象であった。LGBTへの差別が問題視されてきたのはごく最近のことである。15年に自らが同性愛者であることを友人に暴露されて自殺した一橋大学院生の悲劇は、世間の関心を呼び起こした。性的少数者を正し理解し、偏見がなくなることを切に願う。(Written by: Yoshikazu Kazamoto)(風本祥一)