Japenese LGBTQ+ groups and activists congregated in Tokyo to fight for equal rights before the forthcoming Olympic Games.
According to a report from The Independent, the numerous activist groups staged a protest in front of the famous Shibuya Station on Sunday (6 June) to fight for LGBTQ+ equality.
Around 100 people in rainbow facemasks were seen carrying banners that read “Equality Now” while dancing and demanding support from the parliament.
Soshi Matsuoka, an openly gay writer and activist, attended the event and spoke on the importance of the bill.
“We’re not giving up yet. If the legislation is scrapped, the lives and dignity of sexual minorities may continue to be ignored,” they said. “We want to have each of our voices heard.”
Over the last few years, LGBTQ+ activists have been pushing for the country’s conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to champion a bill called the Equality Act.
Last month, the LDP refused to back the bill with some MP’s stating the rights of sexual minorities have “gone too far”.
According to Jiji Press, LDP member Eriko Yamatani hit out at transgender athletes in the closed-door meeting.
She reportedly said, “Some people have stated an opinion that they have a male body but they are women. Therefore, they should be allowed to use the women’s restroom.” Yamatani, who is a staunch opposer of abortion and same-sex education in schools, continued: “Or they participate in women’s sports and win medals. A number of ridiculous things are happening.”
Japanese media and Broadcaster TBS also quoted an unnamed lawmaker as saying the LGBTQ+ community “can’t be accepted in a moral way”.
Pride House Tokyo, an organisation aiming to raise awareness of LGBTQ+ issues through sporting events, criticised the remarks made in the meeting in a joint statement with US-based campaign group Athlete Ally, saying they were in “violation of the spirit of the Olympics and Paralympics”.