I had no idea when posting yesterday, but today is National Coming Out Day! At least, it is here in America... but I think some other places also sort of recognize it. I was going to say 'celebrate', but it isn't really 'celebrated', in the way that people celebrate Christmas or a birthday. Instead, it's kind of a civil rights awareness push. A day to think of those who can't come out as gay, lesbian, bisexual, etc., and of those who were 'adversely affected' as a result of coming out/being outed. A day to share your own 'coming out' story. A day to come out yourself, if you want to. A civil rights push for understanding, tolerance, and equal rights for queer folks. NCOD is also a day of showing support for those who want to reveal their LGBTQI status to others, although frankly, that should be every day.
Not being lesbian in Japan, nor really a part of the 'gay community' here in the US, I don't think I should say too much. Rather, I'll leave you with something to read today- and I promise, each page is something I found interesting.
Lesbian Feminism in Japan: Movements + Opinions
The first is a link I found about a year ago, when searching for information about feminism in Japan. It's well-written in English, and not very difficult to understand. Particularly, I read Tsuruga-san's work for a women's studies class. It is not only about expounding the known difficulties of being homosexual (particularly lesbian) in Japan, but also offering solutions and ideas for resolutions.
Being-A-Broad on Being LGBT in Tokyo
An older post from 2011, covering info and resources for LGBT folks in Tokyo, including film festivals, support groups, safe hangout spots, and other useful things to know.
The AraMa!TheyDidn't! Hugely Giant LGBTQ Mega-Post
For all of you who thrive on drama and want to be in the know about Japanese news and celebrities, AraMa!TheyDidn't! is the LJ group for you. Part civil rights, part tabloid commentary, the ONTD spinoff is chock full of resources and daily updates. Photo-heavy + link filled for extra time-killing awesomeness.
CCN Intl. - Lesbian Community Issues: Fear of Coming Out, Social Stigma
Events, high-profile queer folk, safe-houses, and touching on real problems such as being forced into heterosexual marriages in order to be socially protected, while secretly carrying out affairs. Never a good solution for any party involved! Just like in America, people in Japan face being socially cut off if they are revealed to be queer- parents disown/disenfranchise you, friends abandon you, employers fire you. You can lose everything. Officially, there are some anti-discrimination laws in Japan... but often, reports cannot be made, or law enforcement is lax about cases. The only way to survive is to align yourself with others who understand you, and to find a safe place to be.
One Gaijin's View on Lesbian Gender Roles
The author is honest and up-front about her limited experiences, offering an outsiders' view on lesbian gender roles in Japan. I found the part about colour-coded bracelets for one lesbian club to be pretty useful. I would think it's difficult to be in a singles' club and not know how to figure out what role the person you want to meet desires. Top? Bottom? Switch? "Butch" ladies don't always ascribe to the flannel-wearing, shaved- head stereotype. There are very 'feminine'-appearing women who do not care for a 'female' role in a relationship, as defined by social norms. So, how do you tell? If you want to be the 'girl', get a Neko bracelet!
This site includes other blog links and a 'further reading' list, one which I intend to investigate when I have more time to devote to the subject.
A Review of "Plica-chan" (a cute comic about real lesbian life in Japan)
A review of Plica-chan by a yuri fan. Well-written for those who have never read the comic before. ^_^ And if you want to read Plica online... MangaFox to the rescue!
Happy Coming Out Day to everyone who has or has yet to 'come out'. You are awesome. You are loved. Stay safe out there!