TOKYO (AP) – The head of the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday took part in an event marking Japan’s LGBTQ pride week at a center in the capital, as activists and dozens of lawmakers also pushed for an equalityin less than three months. Seiko Hashimoto visited Pride House Tokyo, an international initiative to connect with LGBTQ . The first Pride House was .
Japan is the only country in thenations where same-sex marriages are not legally recognized. Last month, a Japanese that same-sex marriage should be allowed under the constitution, although the ruling has no immediate legal effect.
“We need to take action now,” Hashimoto said, adding that she wants people to remember theas a “turning point in achieving diversity and harmony, including understanding for LGBTQ” issues. Hashimoto also toured the activists, including athletes, for talks.
Elsewhere in Tokyo, over 40 lawmakers and their aides from the– all wearing matching rainbow-colored facemasks – and activists and supporters gathered in person and online for what they dubbed a Rainbow Parliament event to push for the enactment of an LGBTQ equality act. Tennis tremendous and equal rights advocate Billie Jean King also sent a of support.
Late last month, activists submitted a petition with over 106,000 signatures to Japan’s ruling and opposition parties, calling for an equality law before thebegin on July 23. momentum for the law is growing as Japan gets more attention over its handling of gender equality, diversity, and other rights issues.
“We hope to speed up an enactment of the equality act,” Yuri Igarashi, co-chair of the Japan Alliance for LGBT Legislation. Kanako Otsuji, an openly lesbian lawmaker from the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, said she was a target of bullying at school: “I was often called a ‘manly girl’ and bullied.”
“Many people cannot speak up because of fear of discrimination. Then how can we change the situation? Legal protection is the only way,” she said. “For the children of the next generation to not face this kind of bullying, we need anti-discrimination laws.”
Gon Matsunaka, who, said the sports world remains unfriendly to LGBTQ people because of its gender specificity. “In many sports, players are divided between men and women. In sports, masculinity is often emphasized because of competition in speed and power, and sexual minorities are often made fun of or harassed,” Matsunaka said.
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