Japan Gives Mixed Signals to its LGBTQ Community

Although Shibuya Ward in Tokyo, Japan legalized unions between queer couples, a university made another seemingly backwards move by outlawing cross-dressing or drag events. Recently in Japan, a lesbian...

Although Shibuya Ward in Tokyo, Japan legalized unions between queer couples, a university made another seemingly backwards move by outlawing cross-dressing or drag events.

Recently in Japan, a lesbian couple celebrated their wedding ceremony after Shibuya Ward passed a law to legalize partnerships between gay couples. Similar to same-sex unions in the U.S, Japan’s same-sex partnerships are not legally recognized but it still symbolically validates queer couples.

Two actresses, Ayaka Ichinose and Akane Sugimori, married in a public ceremony; however, they knew they were not legally registered as a married couple.

Although this seemed to be a somewhat progressive step, University of Tsukuba in Ibaraki Prefecture banned a drag event where male students don women’s clothing to auction off kisses to raise money.

The event once offered kisses on the hand for 100 yen (equates to about $0.83), kisses on the cheek for 200 yen, and kisses on the forehead for 300 yen.

Although it seemed innocuous as far as the any kind of amorous gestures went, it was banned due to the 10 complaints they received about men in women’s clothing.

Even more confusingly, Ake Abe, the wife of the Japanese prime minister, celebrated Tokyo’s gay pride parade and denounced anti-LGBTQ prejudice in a Facebook status. However, Prime Minister Shizo Abe himself announced that same-sex partnerships were not part of the Constitution as it interfered with the “foundations of how families in our country should be”, according to Fridae. One must wonder if he pays attention to his wife’s activities at all.

Last year, Kyodo News and its 38 affiliated news organizations put in a poll that announced that three out of four participants thought Japan was anti-LGBTQ. Regarding same-sex marriage, around 52.4 percent stated they were against it.

Sources: Fridae

Image courtesy of Wikimedia

Alice Song – Contributing Writer

Alice Song is a queer femme feminist who hails from California. When she’s not arguing with bigots and blogging about LGBTQIA+ issues, she’s reading fantasy novels, sampling the culinary delights of her hometown, and always searching for the perfect lipstick.
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Alice D is a hella homosexual (femme)inist who can be found in her natural habitat of used bookstores and bakeries.

Although most of her time is spent driving through LA’s notoriously difficult traffic, she prefers to read heart-wrenching novels about queers, write about LGBTQIA+ issues, and add to her ever-growing collection of red lipsticks and black shoes.

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