It is estimated that 1 in 13 people belongs to the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender) community in Japan. From May 22 to 28, three student clubs volunteered to help enhance the mood of the WASEDA LGBT ALLY WEEK organized by the Gender and Sexuality (GS) Center.
WASEDA LGBT ALLY WEEK is an initiative by the GS Center to celebrate and promote understanding in sexuality differences. The event also serves to embrace the LGBT community by gaining ALLY (supporters) who second the notion that everyone should respect others for who they are. Additionally, the GS Center hopes that by organizing such events the LGBT student community will feel comfortable being themselves on campus and understand that the school has got their back.
In the event called Rainbow Tree, student club goon gathered passersby in front of the bronze statue of Shigenobu Okuma (founder of Waseda University) and had them blew up colorful balloons used to make the rainbow-colored tree. When the passersby were blowing up the balloons, students from goon gave explanation about the LGBT community, hoping to promote better understanding of the community. During school lunch breaks, student clubs Beatlemania and Flashmob gave surprise performances and dances in hope to convey the importance of respecting diversity.
Female writer and TV personality Asako Makimura gives a presentation on sexual identity
On May 26, female writer and TV personality Asako Makimura who got married to a French woman in France gave a talk titled The Reality of Lesbian Love on Campus, receiving overwhelming response from the participants.
In her presentation, Makimura talked about identity and categorization issues revolving sexuality and shared how LGBT was once considered sexual misconduct among delinquents in the 80s. Being called names such as lesbian and referred to as having gender identity disorder, she also talked about the struggle she had gone through when she was young. Through her sharing and presentation on sexual orientation and gender identity, she hopes more people will show more understanding towards the LGBT community.
During the event period, there were also poster display and lunch session. The ALLY also wrote messages for the general public that were posted on the GS Center homepage.
You can view life stories and messages written by Waseda students and professors on the ALLY STORY Corner about their struggles with personal identity and sexual orientation while growing up by clicking here or the box below (message 22, 23, 25, 26, 27, 29, 30, 31 and 33 are written in English).