A gay couple hold hands during the Tokyo Rainbow Pride parade in 2017. Photo: REUTERS file
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Alarm bells sound over 'outings' in Japan's LGBT community

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By Takumi Toguchi

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It's nobody's damn business what the sexual preferences are of another!

20 ( +29 / -9 )

Gays in Japan are doing all right, and it will only get better. Young folk just don't give a fig.

2 ( +11 / -9 )

Hey, at least it doesn’t seem to be as contentious as issue as say, immigration is over here.

Theres bound to be problems, and this is just immature sensitivity and could be troublesome in the workplace for sure.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

LGBT are even beginning to turn on each other.

Transpeople worldwide are advocating "get the L out" because Lesbians sexually discriminate against transwomen by refusing to consider people with penises as potential sexual partners.

-12 ( +10 / -22 )

When confronted by difference, too many folks here start to bleat. They just can't help it, but like the Beatles sing, "...it's getting better all the time". I just wish that instead of the suicide option people would just say "Baa to you, too!"

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Indeed, experts point out this is a perfect demonstration of the damage being done to members of the LGBT community.

According to the center, there were 31 calls by people wanting to talk about being outed in fiscal 2012, 42 in fiscal 2015, 19 in fiscal 2016 and 18 in fiscal 2017.

What a laugh.

I wonder how many of those outed men expressed affection to someone who was not gay?

-17 ( +12 / -29 )

Transpeople worldwide are advocating "get the L out" because Lesbians sexually discriminate against transwomen by refusing to consider people with penises as potential sexual partners.

So by your information here transgendered people worldwide are discriminating against lesbians alone?

Why choose to only point them out? Or don't gay men sexually discriminate against trans-men by refusing to consider people with vaginas as potential sexual partners?

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Hey, at least it doesn’t seem to be as contentious as issue as say, immigration is over here.

It's ONLY an issue HERE, if you get my meaning! No where in the mainstream media in Japan will you find anything referring to this issue.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Japan needs to grow up with regard to this issue; most of the developed world accepted homosexuality as normal decades ago.

0 ( +13 / -13 )

Japan needs to grow up with regard to this issue; most of the developed world accepted homosexuality as normal decades ago.

Homosexuality was considered normal in Japan until the introduction of western culture. Look up “danshoku”

7 ( +13 / -6 )

I wonder how many of those outed men expressed affection to someone who was not gay?

I have no idea how Fizzbit is as a person, but this idea of men being offended by having attraction expressed to them by someone they aren't interested in, is something women have been dealing with basically since the dawn of civilization.

11 ( +18 / -7 )

It's nobody's damn business what the sexual preferences are of another!

Sure, but is it really that simple? What is your opinion on the actual story in the article?

Should an LGBT person have a special right to unilaterally bind someone to secrecy after a failed romantic advance? Should that other person's freedom of speech be limited without their consent? Even heterosexual men know that if they ask a girl out on date at their school or workplace they risk humiliation and exposure since they have no right to stop her from sharing that information with others. Why should the standard be different for anyone else? It seems quite opressive to bind people to hold secrets which they have not voluntarily agreed to keep confidential.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

Number one rule in life, don't do anything that you wouldn't want to be found out. Take 100% responsibility for what you do. Live an open life and nothing can come back to hit you and nobody can use your secrets to control you.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

the Tokyo District Court dismissed the parents' claim against the university in February.

This was the correct decision. As M3M3M3 pointed out, nobody is sworn to secrecy after a failed romantic advance. Being queer does not give you the right to double standards - yet this is exactly the kind of thing they want - special rights.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

Why should the standard be different for anyone else? It seems quite opressive to bind people to hold secrets which they have not voluntarily agreed to keep confidential.

Wrong comparison, confiding in sexual orientation is not as simple as asking out a person of the opposite sex as the article clearly points out. Given the Japanese society homophobia it is more like confiding in someone about an illegal activity, like stealing for example. It is a matter of trust and understanding the consequences of breaking trust.

And for the homophobic posters no worries about being hit on by another guy. Gays can tell if you are gay or not, it is a survival instinct. If they do hit on you maybe you might want to look into that closet you may be living in.

-6 ( +9 / -15 )

Like Beer DeliveryMan says, before Japan was invaded,(psychologically), and forced to change to Western values and economy of war, the Samurai practiced homosexualism with their young aporenctice or Wakashu. This was known as the art of Wakashudo.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

I've been hit on a lot by gay guys over the years. A lot.

I always take it as a compliment, even though I have no interest in men. Same as I take it as a compliment when women I'm not attracted to hit on me.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

It sucks that the prevailing attitude in the country made the poor guy feel as if he could no longer study and work with the same circle or even in that profession.

It's especially ironic considering how popular gay and transgender entertainers are on TV in Japan. It's kinda shameful that those silly TV shows show more maturity to and acceptance of sexual minorities than Japan at large does.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Yuichi Kamiya, secretary general of Japan Alliance for LGBT Legislation, warns "it is still the tip of the iceberg,"

With advocacy groups, "tip of the iceberg" usually means "we are going to shove a lot more of our doctrine down the public's throat in the coming future. Our bone-to-pick issue is far from over."

Gay marriage is a right, obviously. But if someone from a highly marginalized community that has very little to no connection to my own life is outed, do I really need to care? The answer is no. So go be gay. But never, ever become an external activist.

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

How is this article news? It’s an advocacy piece. I don’t wish any harm on anyone and hope we can all learn to live peacefully and all, but there is nothing in this article regarding recent events. If, for example, this piece had come out in February after the court case alluded to in the beginning of the article, I could understand that.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

It's good to see the Japanese media addressing homosexual issues in more frequency these days. When it's not talked about, that leads to ignorance, and leaves no opportunity to stop treating people in a discriminatory manner. The more people talk about it, and the more Japanese people come out as being gay, and show that there is nothing wrong with it, the more accepting Japanese society will become towards homosexuals. Same as we are seeing in many countries around the world.

It's good that we are starting to treat our brothers and sisters as brothers and sisters, instead of ostracizing them for having unauthorized feelings of attraction for those who dare to share the same genitalia.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

@M3, fair point. I think it depends on the cultural/social context. Knowingly/intentionally putting someone in danger by outing them is/should be reprehensible.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Tragically, he later fell to his death from a building at the university in an apparent suicide.

Wonder how the outer feels about that. Any remorse?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

LGBT are even beginning to turn on each other.

Transpeople worldwide are advocating "get the L out" because Lesbians sexually discriminate against transwomen by refusing to consider people with penises as potential sexual partners.

Not even close to the truth. That slogan is being pushed by trans-exclusionary reactionary feminists advocating lesbian separatism because they are against transgender rights - particularly those of trans women. The number of trans women who get angry over rejection on the grounds of genital incompatibility are vanishingly few - I'd say most just feel relieved that a simple rejection was all they experienced.

The vast, vast majority of both lesbians and trans women are in strong support of mutual solidarity.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

So telling the truth is unlawful in a casual conversation is unlawful ?

Man 1: Did he ask you for date ?

Man 2: I can't reply to that question. I risk criminal charge and could hurt the feeling of a human being.

That is against basic human rights, don't you fell. It is a attempt to create rights to LGBT against thr majority.

I will fight against those activists LGBTish.

A gay or whatever is any normal person who should be respected as any other. Conversely, one from the heterosexual majority shall never be blamed for finding gay behaviour out of standards as a principle since not practicing it and even having the right to find it disgusting because that is the real feeling some have. Any feeling to be respectef but not forced to others.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Victim card doesn't work in Japan

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Hmm... this seems like kind of a deceptive article. Can we really generalize from this very specific case? Is outing a systemic problem in Japan? I thought Japan was moving into he modern age rather smoothly, compared with, say, the US.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

For the first time since the war, publishers of "Pillow Books" (春画), which are books from the middle ages that contain explicit wood block prints teaching how to have sex, have started including the last chapter about same sex, which they would typically include. That must reflect some change in attitude. But I've been out since 16, back in the mid-90s. I could be a class leader. Things weren't so regressive as they are now. Well, I live and work in Shinjuku, where anything goes, so you don't feel it much here. Too bad about this Western influence.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Number one rule in life, don't do anything that you wouldn't want to be found out.

And just why should LGBT people have to "hide"? Your so-called advice here is BS.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

This is my problem with the LGBT group. Do I walk around stating I am heterosexual? Do I feel bad if someone calls me a hetero? Do I walk around in a T-shirt stating "I am not gay!"? I cannot count the amount of times I have met a gay or transgender person and the first thing the say to me is, "I'm gay!" or "I used to be a man/woman!" I really don't care what your sexual preferences are, just stop wearing it like some kind of badge of honor or entitlement. You are judged by your actions, not by your sexual orientation. If your actions are to complain because people call you gay, it is something you have to deal with. It's no different to people calling me short or old.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

Wonder how the outer feels about that. Any remorse?

Why should the "outer" feel any remorse?

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

This is my problem with the LGBT group. Do I walk around stating I am heterosexual? Do I feel bad if someone calls me a hetero? Do I walk around in a T-shirt stating "I am not gay!"? 

Do heterosexuals have a history of being persecuted and/or being discriminated against for being heterosexual?

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Wonder how the outer feels about that. Any remorse?

Why should the "outer" feel any remorse?

I would hope they would have a smidgen of decency.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Japan needs to grow up with regard to this issue; most of the developed world accepted homosexuality as normal decades ago.

Much of the "developed world" made homosexuality a crime until relatively recently. Britain offered male homosexuals the choice of jail or chemical castration.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-castration-of-alan-turing-britains-code-breaking-wwii-hero

Homosexual relations were illegal in Japan only for a brief period in the 19th century and then only to show Western countries that Japan was civilised.

How is this article news? It’s an advocacy piece. 

Indeed.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

@Dissillusioned If I don't mention I'm gay, everyone will assume I'm straight. Ladies at the office may start showing interest in me (I'm not saying I'm handsome or anything), and that is uncomfortable for me and embarrassing for them when they find out I'm gay. Also, it is important for especially young gays to know that "you are not alone". There is someone you can talk to. That was important for me when I was a teenager.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Do heterosexuals have a history of being persecuted and/or being discriminated against for being heterosexual?

Who cares? I do not have a history of persecuting or discriminating against gays so that sort of question would have no bearing on me, or anyone else who does not. Don't lump everyone into the same group. Don't blame people for things they have no responsibility for.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

@garypen

Name ONE popular gay celebrity who isn't an okama/drag queen, but just a regular guy?

I would like to reference this article https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/its-fine-to-be-gay-on-japanese-tv--if-youre-outlandish-and-outrageous/2015/03/24/b3c3ac00-ce77-11e4-8730-4f473416e759_story.html

'' There is a boom in “onee” stars, Mitz Mangrove said, using the Japanese word that refers to men who speak like women and are often gay or transgender, and they are treated like weirdos or eccentrics.

“We fit in a category of being obviously atypical or unusual,” he said as he was having his make-up fixed after the “It’s Noon” lunchtime variety show. They are encouraged to be outlandish or outspoken to spice up TV shows, and that’s why there are no openly gay people in more mainstream roles on television, he said.

“We are not treated as human beings. We are okay as long as we say things that are not mainstream or that are sharp or vulgar,” Mangrove said.

For that reason, it wasn’t necessarily a good thing for “ordinary gay people” to be associated with cross-dressing celebrities like them.

“They might be treated as abnormal as that’s the common idea about us in the TV world,” Mitz Mangrove said. “There are many gay people who are boring, not social or don’t drink alcohol in this world but our society doesn’t accept that fact and I find that very uncomfortable.”

Japanese society is “confused” with what to make of these television personalities, said Aya Kamikawa, a representative on the Setagaya council and Japan’s first transgender assembly member.

“I don’t oppose the idea that they are selling their sexuality as their appeal,” she said of the TV hosts. “But in reality, sexual minorities are everywhere, they can be your colleagues, friends and relatives. Right now, they’re seen as people to be laughed at or be consumed. It’s grossly lopsided.” ''

While I can't deny that entertainers like Matsuko Deluxe and IKKO are respected in their field and that they have their own positive influence on pushing for LGBT representation and acceptance, overall these flaming sassy queens, no matter how entertaining, do paint an extremely stereotypical, and even potentially damaging view of LGBT people, that they are loud, vulgar queens. LGBT people are completely disposable to the entertainment scene if they don't play into all the awkward, even offensive stereotypes people have of specifically LGBT entertainers.

With that said, it's not all bad. While variety shows might not have the best representation of LGBT people, gay characters have become less unusual in dramas, and are treated with respect most of the time. Although it can get a bit preachy and '' LET'S TEACH THE WORLD ABOUT LGBT PEOPLE! '' sometimes, it might just be necessary for the time being. Even the western world has only recently started to drift away from that.

Social media has also become a platform in which LGBT people can exist as themselves and become popular as content creators, without needing the approval or guiding hand of some TV world big shot, or some talent agency boss.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Ordinary gay J-celeb? Comedian Kazu-Laser, Ken Hirai, Ken Matsudaira to name a few.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

 I cannot count the amount of times I have met a gay or transgender person and the first thing the say to me is, "I'm gay!" or "I used to be a man/woman!" I really don't care what your sexual preferences are, just stop wearing it like some kind of badge of honor or entitlement.

Perhaps they thought you were also gay/trans and were just hitting on you ;)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@BeerDeliveryGuy

are these just your guesses on who is gay, even though they've never come out or made it public?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Who cares? I do not have a history of persecuting or discriminating against gays so that sort of question would have no bearing on me, or anyone else who does not. Don't lump everyone into the same group. Don't blame people for things they have no responsibility for.

Who cares? Homosexuals. I'm not blaming people for things for which they have no responsibility; I was offering a reason as to why homosexuals feel uncomfortable being outed.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

@Rot10

No, they have all stated they are gay.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The problem in the case of the Hitotsubashi University law school student is that he revealed his homosexuality to a person who was not receptive to his intimate advances. The gay man did not respect his fellow students sexuality. The victim did not lash out physically but felt he needed to speak out to tell his story of the unwanted behavior. It isn’t his responsibility to protect an aggressor from his responsibility to refrain from unwanted sexually harassing behavior.

this idea of men being offended by having attraction expressed to them by someone they aren't interested in, is something women have been dealing with basically since the dawn of civilization.

Actually this is a false statement. Since there have always been homosexuals, men have always been subjected to unwanted homosexual interest for every bit as long as women have. The difference for men is that there are relatively few gay men and men have been more likely to be capable of defending themselves whereas women have not. Unfortunately men are much more likely to be imprisoned than women and homosexual assaults are a problem of epidemic proportions.

Most men have experienced unwanted gay male attention whether it be by older male relatives, by adults in private organizations such as church, in prisons, college, etc. They should not be afraid to call out those homosexuals who do not respect their sexuality.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Yubaru: And just why should LGBT people have to "hide"? Your so-called advice here is BS.

You are responding to what you think was said based on emotion as opposed to the actual statement - as follows...

Number one rule in life, don't do anything that you wouldn't want to be found out.

The law student outed himself by telling his critically important secret to someone who was unable to keep his secret. Furthermore the gay man expressed unwanted romantic intentions towards the heterosexual man. A straight man should have the same rights as a woman to not be subjected to unwanted sexual advances.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Seems that there was some misunderstanding about what I wrote. Let me put it more clearly. If you're gay, be gay. Don't try to hide it. Then there is no fear from being outed. Live an open life and nothing can come back to hit you and nobody can use your secrets to control you because you don't have any secrets for anyone to control you with. Be gay if you want to be gay. Be hetero if that's what you're comfortable with. And don't worry what people think of you.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

@Rot10:

Telling someone '' I like you, would you go out with me '' is not UNWANTED SEXUALLY HARASSING BEHAVIOR. How can you even think it is?

When a gay man tells a heterosexual man that he wants an intimate relationship that is by definition unwanted and can rightly be considered offensive. In the case of the Hitotsubashi University law student that was apparently the case. The gay man made a mistake. It’s not up to you to decide for someone else if they are offended.

You are attempting to make an excuse for inappropriate behavior.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@Wolfpack

so gay people should never hit on people? How are gay people supposed to know who is gay and who is not? To be offended by someone who you are not interested in wanting to potentially date is just low, jesus christ. Is this only reserved to when gay people hit on straight men, hmh?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

"It's impossible anymore for me to hide the fact that you're gay," the classmate wrote to the group, ending the life-changing message with a simple, "Sorry."

The classmate should've kept his yap shut and let the gay man 'come out' on his own free will.

About 10 years ago on the Jenny Jones trash TV show there was a televised case like this and it later led to murder - the straight man killed the gay. There's no justifying that. I've had gay men mistake me for one in the past but I never wanted to 'out' anyone for that. I've just told them that I'm not what they're looking for. I could never fall in love with a man but I don't hate people who are gay and I don't go blabbing to others about it.

And this suicide DIDN'T have to happen. The student didn't have to die,

"Outing someone destroys human relationships,"

Let the GLBT people 'out' themselves when they feel 'ready to'. And if straight people around them can't accept that, that's their problem.

BertieWoosterToday 12:18 am JSTSeems that there was some misunderstanding about what I wrote. Let me put it more clearly. If you're gay, be gay. Don't try to hide it. Then there is no fear from being outed. Live an open life and nothing can come back to hit you and nobody can use your secrets to control you because you don't have any secrets for anyone to control you with. Be gay if you want to be gay. Be hetero if that's what you're comfortable with. And don't worry what people think of you.

I've seen quite a number of lesbian couples holding hands openly in public. If that's what they are then I know they're off-limits, to me. At a few rock concerts I've seen some gay male couples do the same, and they're often more afraid of getting 'gay-bashed' but that too is changing. When I go to some events like that I don't go to see who's with what or whom. I just want to have a good time.

I don't care if anyone is gay or straight. If someone accepts me, I accept that person as long as (s)he doesn't get his/her kicks from hurting others. Sela.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

When a gay man tells a heterosexual man that he wants an intimate relationship that is by definition unwanted and can rightly be considered offensive.

I agree, but I also think it doesn't matter if someone is offended. That's your own interpretation of how you see things. I don't care if someone is offended by something. I care about people wanting to control what others say. The the gay guy hits on the straight guy. Straight guy is offended. So what? But the straight guy tells his friends that the gay guy is gay. Again, so what? But when the gay guy says, "You can't tell people I'm gay!!!!" you have crossed a line. You don't get to tell others what they can or cannot say. Especially in a situation like this. There is nothing wrong with telling someone about this encounter. It's not like he got one of those vans with the megaphones and went around blaring the news.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Rot10

overall these flaming sassy queens, no matter how entertaining, do paint an extremely stereotypical, and even potentially damaging view of LGBT people, that they are loud, vulgar queens. LGBT people are completely disposable to the entertainment scene if they don't play into all the awkward, even offensive stereotypes people have of specifically LGBT entertainers.

With that said, it's not all bad. While variety shows might not have the best representation of LGBT people, gay characters have become less unusual in dramas, and are treated with respect most of the time. Although it can get a bit preachy and '' LET'S TEACH THE WORLD ABOUT LGBT PEOPLE! '' sometimes, it might just be necessary for the time being. Even the western world has only recently started to drift away from that.

Social media has also become a platform in which LGBT people can exist as themselves and become popular as content creators, without needing the approval or guiding hand of some TV world big shot, or some talent agency boss.

Too much entertainment in America does portray gays with stupid stereotypes. the show 'Queer Eye For the Straight Guy' for instances portrays the dumb 'gay hairdresser' or 'gay fashionista' stereotype. The show 'Will and Grace' had a 'token gay' and he was a stereotype. I don't like that crap because most stereotypes aren't real.

This is NOT a joke but the Village People are a great representative of GLBT people -- every race (members are white, black, red), and there's the occupations (gays are in the police, military, construction jobs, cowboys, and there are gay bikers too). The whole spectrum.

'' LET'S TEACH THE WORLD ABOUT LGBT PEOPLE! ''

They're in every race, color and ethnic group. And they are in every profession. I knew some when I was in the service before President Obama made it legal, and I've known them in college and jobs.

You can never really tell. I was really surprised when Rob Halford of Judas Priest came out. That guy is BAAA-AAA-AAADDD and macho. I still love and listen to JP just the same as I did growing up. And I would've never guessed George Takei was gay in a million years. I met him at a Trekkie convention in 1992 and he is very polite, talented, pleasant and fan-friendly. If I were to relive that afternoon knowing what I know now I wouldn't change anything. I like him. He already was a pioneer in shattering the Oriental stereotypes in Hollywood, now he's an advocate for GLBT too. And he certainly is no stereotype.

 '' LET'S TEACH THE WORLD ABOUT LGBT PEOPLE! ''

People like that already are, just by being what they are.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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