START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x

Japanese Disneyland Opens Door to LGBT Awareness

Japanese Disneyland Opens Door to LGBT Awareness

This past month, a couple decided they wanted to have their wedding at Disneyland in Tokyo. Koyuki Higashi and Hiroko Masuhara, two female partners, approached the theme park about holding a symbolic wedding there.

The Global Post reports that the couple were given the green light, but only if one partner dressed as a man and one partner dressed as a woman. Officials feared that the presence of a gay couple in the park could cause other guests discomfort. Furthermore, the couple will not be allowed to marry in the Disneyland chapel because of Christian teachings, but could marry in a strictly symbolic wedding at the park.

After a series of protests and upheaval, the park rescinded its insistence that the two women dress as a man and a woman but they would still not be allowed to marry in the chapel. The couple has yet to set a date for the ceremony, but their story highlights the often limited protections and support the LGBT community has in Japan.

Only last year, one of the only openly gay politicians was elected to public office. Taiga Ishikawa was elected to Tokyo ward assembly in April 2011 and has since remained an advocate for gay rights. LGBTQ Nation quotes him as saying, “I hope my election victory will help our fellows nationwide to have hope for tomorrow, as many of them cannot accept themselves, feel lonely and isolated and even commit suicide.”

Another politician, the openly transgendered Aya Kamikawa, has also held office over the last decade in Japan. While these stories highlight some small strides in advocating for LGBT rights, there is still a long way to go towards true inclusion, awareness and advocacy across the board.

While Higashi and her partner Masuhara can have a ceremony at Disneyland, only heterosexual couples have the legal right to marry in Japan. Many gay and lesbian youths feel terrified to come out. Public officials have been known to say homophobic comments about the LGBT community. CNN World reports that high-profile figures in Japan, such as film director Takeshi Kitano and Shintaro Ishihara, the governor of Tokyo, have both made overtly homophobic comments.

The question remains: is the openness of the Disneyland park to hold a symbolic ceremony for a lesbian couple a true step forward? Will officials actually allow the ceremony to take place once the couple has set a date? For many, it still remains a terrifying prospect to come out to family, co-workers and friends.

Many of the same battles the Japanese LGBT community is fighting in Japan remain relevant in the United States as well. Just this year, a conservative group in Florida flew a banner over the Disney World park warning potential visitors about Gay Days, an annual LGBT-friendly event where gay and lesbian couples come to enjoy the park.

Related Stories:

Obama Team Trumpets New Polling on Gay Marriage

‘Cure the Gay’ Shrink Has Credentials Revoked

High School Students’ Message of Love Goes Global

Read more: , , , ,

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it

19 comments

+ add your own
12:52AM PDT on Jun 13, 2012

Well, surprise surprise! :) A very traditional country is allowing this? I must say that this is HUGE NEWS! And here they are much more traditional there (I was born there, and familiar enough to say this), than the republicans here, and yet they are more progressive at the same time... I think our Tea Party needs to hear here!

9:08AM PDT on May 27, 2012

You go, Disney!

5:57PM PDT on May 25, 2012

Keep it moving forward, Disney.

4:33PM PDT on May 25, 2012

You ain't a kidd'n!

4:31PM PDT on May 25, 2012

It's a good start. Now will you please speak to your American counterparts?

4:08PM PDT on May 25, 2012

Lesbophobia rearing it's ugly head

1:49PM PDT on May 25, 2012

Thank for making the point that it's actually a bias of Western Culture, Erica. I realizied I made it sound like it was just the Japaese and that wasn't very nice.

11:33AM PDT on May 25, 2012

ok so Russia is takeing over space Exploration, a Chinese company buys out and now owns a former American Movie Theater company, now i See Japan, who is known for some very conservative ways, is openly starting to lead the way in LBGTQ support in the happiest place on earth (or at least in asia, Florida DW still got u beat japan lol) - so i wonder how many more countries will take over and pick up the slack of america. How much longer till america is no longer a 1st world country and is severly behind everyone else? - sad day, just hope i get my ass outa here in the next 4 years lol

11:17AM PDT on May 25, 2012

the truly sad part is that the original Japanese culture had a welcoming place for LGBT people. The issues they have now are a product of western interference.

10:44AM PDT on May 25, 2012

"the couple will not be allowed to marry in the Disneyland chapel because of Christian teachings, but could marry in a strictly symbolic wedding at the park."

Too bad the Disneyland Christians are so bigoted, the statement should have been "because of the teachings of SOME Christian denominations"; not ALL Christian "teachings" refuse to recognize Gay Equal Rights. {In fact, the Early Christian Church DID have same-sex marriage ceremonies.... but that is a separate story.}
If the Disneyland chapel is so Sectarian, I suppose they wouldn't allow Atheists, Jews, Buddhists, etc. to get married there...... BUDDHISTS???!!! How about Shintoists....needs looking into..... either the chapel facilities are all-inclusive, or for {certain} Christians only; or Disneyland needs to get its priorities straight........

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

ads keep care2 free

Recent Comments from Causes

Wait and see what sentence he gets. Whatever happens his name and image are tarnished for ever.

Marrianne...tsk, tsk. you say.... Stop demanding that I and everyone else participate in paying…

Wish all the states would step up to the plate and do what this city is doing. They must have politicians…

Story idea? Want to blog? Contact the editors!
ads keep care2 free

more from causes

Animal Welfare

Causes Canada

Causes UK

Children

Civil Rights

Education

Endangered Wildlife

Environment & Wildlife

Global Development

Global Warming

Health Policy

Human Rights

LGBT rights

Politics

Real Food

Trailblazers For Good

Women's Rights




Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.