L.G.B.T.Q Rights for the Tokyo Olympics 2020 and Beyond
Fumino Sugiyama, Co-chair of Tokyo Rainbow Pride
Yuri Igarashi, Director, J-ALL
Gon Matsunaka, Founder and President of Pride House Tokyo
14:00-15:00 Wednesday, June 9, 2021
The speech and Q & A will be in Japanese with English interpretation
LGBTQ rights are a thorny issue in Japan, which ranks second-to-last in gay and transgender rights among the 40 OECD countries. Members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party recently blocked consideration by Parliament of even a modest bipartisan bill labeling anti-LGBTQ discrimination unacceptable. The approaching Tokyo Olympics and the past experiences of Japanese gay and transgender athletes are highlighting the problem once again.
Among those campaigning for their rights is 39-year-old Fumino Sugiyama, a transgender former fencer for the Japan women’s national team. As the co-chair of Tokyo Rainbow Pride, Mr. Sugiyama wrote to the IOC last fall, explaining the intimidation and fear he faced as a young Olympic hopeful, and seeking support for the bill.
Accompanying Mr. Sugiyama is Yuri Igarashi, the director of J-ALL -- an umbrella NGO of the 80+ LGBTQ groups in Japan, founded in 2015. Mr. Igarashi will discuss why Japan still lacks a law to protect vulnerable people with diverse sexual orientation, as well as the need for business and public support for the LGBTQ community.
Gon Matsunaka, founder and president of Pride House, a center for raising LGBTQ awareness in Japan, will talk about the meaning of equality, which is enshrined in the Olympic charter.
The speakers will also jointly respond to the discriminatory remarks about sexual minorities made by members of the LDP last month, including one member who said that gay and transgender people “go against the preservation of the species.”
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