Tokyo will open Pride House, Japan’s first permanent centre to raise awareness of LGBT+ rights before and during the rearranged 2021 Olympic Games.
Previous Olympic Games organisers have arranged similar initiatives in the past, but Pride House Tokyo, opening its doors on International Coming Out Day on October 11, is the first to get official International Olympic Committee backing.
“Pride House Tokyo aims to educate the world and also Japan of the difficulties the LGBTQ community has played and enjoyed sports ... while helping create a safe space for the community too,” Pride House Tokyo said in a statement.
Most nations competing at the Olympics have a hospitality “house,” where they promote their country and hold parties for winning athletes.
Gon Matsunaka, the head of Good Aging Yells, one of the organisations supporting the project, said Japan lags behind many other developed nations when it comes to LGBT+ rights.
“Many people might think that Japan is a human rights defender, but actually there are no laws to protect LGBTQ people,” Matsunaka said.
“Society is filled with prejudice, discrimination and harassment towards LGBTQ community. While we have to change the sports arena, we also hope Pride House Legacy can help change society as a whole as well.”
As ‘NBC News’ reports, gay marriage is illegal in Japan and although about two dozen cities, towns and wards issue same-sex partnership certificates, they lack legal standing and prejudice persists.
Fumino Sugiyama, a trans man and former fencer for the Japanese national team, said little had changed in 15 years since retiring from professional sport.
“Even now looking around, there are few LGBTQ athletes that live their lives openly and that is the reality here in Japan,” Sugiyama told a news briefing to launch Pride House Tokyo.
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