Almost 3000 participants turned out this year for one of two Tokyo Gay Pride Parades that will be held there this year. Tokyo Rainbow Pride (TRP) which was held yesterday and also Tokyo Pride which will be held on August 11th.
Tokyo Rainbow Pride was established in May 2011. TRP’s grassroots philosophy also focuses on the celebration of the diversity of sexual minorities, spanning the full spectrum of the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) rainbow, hence the name of the group. Their goal is also to spread the message that LGBT rights are human rights, with a focus on creating a sustainable event, celebrated annually, in which the number of participants increases year on year, as seen in gay-friendly cities around the world.
“We thought we needed another parade to create dynamism,” Inui, the director of TRP’s marketing, explains. .”
Waving rainbow-coloured flags and banners, foreign and Japanese campaigners marched in colourful carnival and samurai warrior outfits through the capital’s entertainment and shopping district of Shibuya.
“Compared with that of New York or London, Japan’s awareness of sexual minorities is quite low,” said Sayaka Kato, another spokeswoman for the TRP organization. “I’m afraid Japan has yet to have a culture of accepting diversity.”
The group hopes to stage a gay pride parade with 50,000 participants within the next five years by expanding its networks among not only Japanese but foreign residents.
Wataru Ishizaka, an openly gay politician in Japan noted that a number of sexual minorities in the country still hesitate to take part in events in support of LGBT rights for fear of discrimination.