“We met online two years ago and have been together since. I’m from America and he’s Japanese. We’re here today for Tokyo Rainbow Pride. It’s starting to get more acceptance in Japan, although it’s still a long way to go before mindsets change completely. But we’re hopeful. I see more young people starting to embrace it and that’s an encouraging sign.”
“We’re students from France. I’m straight but she’s bisexual, and we’re here to support our friends at Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2019. In Japan, being gay is still taboo. People don’t talk about it so openly. Back home, attitudes are much different. We don’t discriminate against love. But we think Japan is going the right direction.”
“We’re from the Philippines. We’re visiting Japan to see the pride parade 🏳️🌈 Even though our society is more open back home, we’ve never been to anything like this before. It’s exciting. We’ll definitely be back.”
“We’re here to support the LGBT community. In fact, two of us are bisexual. We’re students from America and the Philippines. We feel that people are starting to accept the idea, especially the younger generation. We hope older people will follow suit, because we believe people should be free to express their sexuality.”
“I’m here as an ally to the LGBTQ community. But this is the first time I’ve attended a rainbow pride parade in years. Last time was back home in Spain, when they passed the bill to legalize same-sex marriage. Times have definitely changed for the better. I hope.”
“I was heartbroken and a bit bored of my finance job in London so I decided to do some soul-searching while exploring the world for a couple of months. I found myself in South East Asia then Japan. A week before leaving, I met an Indonesian girl at a bar after she noticed I had a bag with the word ‘Bali’ written on it. We hit it off right away, started going out, and I decided to come back to Japan and find a job here.
“I’m French, she’s Indonesian. Her family’s in Indonesia (some of them in Japan) and mine’s in France. We’re figuring out where to live and what I want to do in terms of work. It’s easy to fall into a routine and keep on going. But my grandmother and mom are getting older and they don’t support my decision to live in Japan. My grandma doesn’t even know why I’m in Japan. My mom knows, but she doesn’t support my personal choices, such as being in a same-sex relationship. But that’s fine, I just do what makes me happy.
Right now, we live together and hope to get married in the future. Of course as a same-sex, binational couple, we have our fair share of difficulties, owing to cultural differences and way of communicating.”
“Before coming out to my friends, I was very confused. Not knowing what to expect, especially how my friends would react, held me back. With my family, it’s different because it may hurt them, upset them, or make them worry about my future. Fortunately, a friend of mine in Hong Kong came out to me first, which gave me the courage and inspiration to do the same. Even now, I appreciate how much he trusted me. So after a few months in deep thought, I started to come out to my close friends in Hong Kong and Japan. Then later on to my co-workers. Turns out my friends were very supportive. It wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. That was seven years ago.
“Today, I’m part of my company’s LGBT ally community. Its purpose is to foster a comfortable environment for all employees so that they can be themselves without fear of being judged. This can help everyone reach their full potential at work. They know they’re safe, they can talk about anything, and they won’t be discriminated against. It’s a long way to go, especially in our Tokyo office, where some people still aren’t aware of its existence. Some think it’s got nothing to do with them, but I want to raise this community’s visibility so that anyone who wants to be supported can get together with people who will accept them for who they are. They’ll know where to go and whom to turn to in times of need.”