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Tokyo's Gay Community Takes to the Street

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Tokyo’s LGBT Community tends to be hidden away and almost invisible. But on April 28, thousands took to the streets to protest for equal rights

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The parade kicked off Tokyo Rainbow Week, filled with events to throw the spot on Japan’s sexual minorities. According to the organizers some 12,000 people took part in the parade.

Although it has been held previously, this was the first time that many groups linked up and participated together in the parade, with people coming from all over Japan.

Gay marriage is slowly taking a foothold around the world, but for the Japanese LGBT Community it is still a far-away dream. Slowly though, some have begun to believe that this dream can be made true. “I want to marry her in Japan,” said a sign carried by a woman in kimono and heart shaped sunglasses.

After the parade, a large number of foreign representatives climbed onto the stage in Yoyogi Park to show support. One of the star guests was Boris Dittrich, a former Dutch parliamentarian who was instrumental in introducing gay marriage in the Netherlands, the first country to do so.

“The future,” he exclaimed to an energized crowd, “is not in front in of you. It is inside you. You make the future!”

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Tokyo Rainbow Parade Official Homepage

Kjeld Duits About the Author

Inspired by the stunningly creative street fashion that exploded on the streets of Tokyo and Osaka in the late 1990’s, photo-journalist Kjeld Duits launched JAPANESE STREETS in 2002. This makes JS one of the first fashion blogs on the net, and the very first to cover Japanese street fashion.

Recent articles by Kjeld Duits:

Comment (日本語もOK)

The random ballerina make me giggle a little. Is she a real ballerina? She looks kind of pro. I can’t tell from the small picture, but it looks like she’s wearing pointe shoes?

Crystal P
Jun 1, 2013 (1423 days ago)

@Crystal P: Yes, they are pointe shoes. From the way she posed it was clear she had ballerina training. She, and the photographer shooting her, were not part of Tokyo Rainbow Pride. They used the parade as a backdrop for their photo shoot. The participants welcomed her with open arms, though.

Kjeld Duits (author)
Jun 1, 2013 (1423 days ago)

I have a close-up of the shoes. They look like pointe shoes to me.

Kjeld Duits (author)
Jun 1, 2013 (1423 days ago)

Amazing and beautiful. From salarymen to priests. Great event.

María
Jun 1, 2013 (1423 days ago)

@María: Yes, there was a good cross section of Japanese society. It is good when there are a lot of people the average Japanese can identify with.

Kjeld Duits (author)
Jun 1, 2013 (1423 days ago)

What a beautiful event!! :’) I cant believe how amazing and creative everyone’s outfits are! This really made me happy :) It would be a dream come true to go one day.

Ninavae
Jun 2, 2013 (1422 days ago)

@Ninavae: Maybe next year? Start saving!

Kjeld Duits (author)
Jun 2, 2013 (1422 days ago)

Feels good to see all those people proud of themselves!

Léonie
Jun 2, 2013 (1422 days ago)

@Léonie: Yes, but still too many members of Japan’s LGBT Community don’t.

Kjeld Duits (author)
Jun 2, 2013 (1422 days ago)

That’s why I like this kind of events. I believe that seeing people like them openly showing who they are can really encourage others not to feel ashamed! (Moreover, all your shoots of these stylish people really inspired me, Thank you!)

Léonie
Jun 2, 2013 (1422 days ago)

@Léonie: Exactly. Being open about this is really important. It encourages others. Glad to read that the photos inspired you!

Kjeld Duits (author)
Jun 2, 2013 (1422 days ago)

Léonie is so right. I totally agree – love should NEVER be a reason to feel ashamed. Or any other attribute, or behavior until it’s communicated with creativity, peace and inspires others to pay it forward :)

(: Monik :)
Jun 4, 2013 (1420 days ago)

@Monik: Indeed!

Kjeld Duits (author)
Jun 4, 2013 (1420 days ago)

what an important cause for celebration! i love the energy and excitement present at this parade – it looks wild! wish i could’ve witnessed it in person. xx

emi
Jun 8, 2013 (1416 days ago)

@emi: It is held annually. Maybe start saving so you can witness it in person next year, or the year after? If you put away just $4.25 every single day, you’d have enough money in two years. Extend your plan to three years, and you need to put away only $2.80 per day. A nice new goal, perhaps? ^^

Kjeld Duits (author)
Jun 8, 2013 (1416 days ago)

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http://www.japanesestreets.com/reports/2577/tokyo-s-gay-community-takes-to-the-street
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