Waseda’s LGBT Center – winner of President’s AwardThu, Jun 18, 2015
Fifth-year, School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Fourth-year, School of International Liberal Studies
“I feel uncomfortable going through physical examinations where examinees are separated based on their biological gender.” “Professors and classmates hurt me with their discriminatory remarks.” A student group, “Diversity Waseda,” heard such anguished voices of LGBT students and proposed Waseda University build an LGBT student center to help these students enjoy campus life without adversity and discrimination. In March, this student group won the President’s Award in the third “Waseda Vision 150 Student Competition,” which is the ultimate award in the final round of the competition.
“The fact that our team managed to get an overwhelming number of votes among the final eight participants made me extremely happy and makes me feel that we were able to convey our message to the audience.” says Itsumura. “We worked with faculty who raise questions regarding gender and sexuality and used their insight to take action. The university was also open to our concerns. We feel lucky to be in an environment where the university and students can mutually engage with one another,” says Watanabe.
Both of them regard the award as a starting point rather than an end goal. “We will mobilize interested students to make our proposal a reality.” (Watanabe) “We want LGBT students to know that many members of Waseda University are willing to come together to discuss issues.’” (Itsumura) They are already moving forward toward a new goal.
*LGBT is acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. In Japan, the term is interchangeably used with homosexual females and males, and bisexual individuals in reference to anyone who pursues a life not necessarily in conformity with their legally or socially assigned gender at the time of birth. They are considered “sexual minority.”