10 Issues Facing Japanese LGBT Jobseekers

On October 11th, Huffington Post Japan revealed the results of a survey of LGBT job seekers and transferees regarding issues they’ve faced on the job or while job hunting. I’ve translated the list below, so let’s take a look.

10 Issues Facing Japanese LGBT Jobseekers and Transferees

1. I don’t know which companies have an understanding of LGBT individuals.

“I want to know how how companies deal with LGBT issues”

“I want to know if LGBT individuals actually work there, and to what extent they are understood.”

2. I want to hear from LGBT individuals who are actually working at the companies.

“The number of veteran employees who are open about their sexualities are few, so it’s hard to consult with them.”

3. Do I have to fill out the gender column (on resumes)?

(※Note: In Japan, you must disclose your legal gender on resumes)

4. Is it okay to wear the job hunting outfit that matches my gender identity?

(※Note: Japanese college students usually wear a standardized “job hunting suit” when conducting their job hunting which consists of a black suit for men and a black skirt suit for women. Not wearing the suit that matches your legal gender can cause problems.)

Among the three transgender individuals who answered, all raised the same issue:

“Having to make your appearance closely resemble that of a typical man or woman is difficult.”

“There are those whose gender identity falls somewhere in the middle or who are still questioning.”

5. It’s difficult to write my interests on job applications.

“I can’t write about my LGBT extracurricular activities.”

“The kinds of movies and books I like are related to sexuality.”

6. LGBT individuals face a different situation between the first and second interviews.

“The first interview is often a group interview, so your privacy is considered, but from the second interview onward, they ask about your plans to marry and have children.”

“I came out, and they kept asking about my sexuality until the very end, and I ended up failing the interview.”

7. Do all of the offices of the company have the same level of understanding of LGBT?

“Even if the main office has consideration for LGBT individuals, there is a good chance that all of the employees across the company have not had sensitivity training.”

“I’m worried about being transferred to another office.”

“I was transferred to another region, and I could not make friends, so it was difficult.”

8. Can you choose your uniform and toilet freely?

“I want to be able to use my preferred name that matches my gender identity.”

9. I’d like to be able to use my preferred name on my company ID card and in my e-mail address…

“I was accepted as transgender in my workplace, but clients tried to verify my gender.”

10. I don’t want to go to drinking parties.

“I want to avoid talking about private things like my relationships and marriage.”

“I don’t want to partake in socializing at drinking parties outside of work hours that are unrelated to LGBT.”

What did you think of the list? Does it mirror the current situation in your country? For those of you in living in Japan, do you agree with this list? Are there any things you would add?

One issue that I often talk about with Taku is #10, regarding drinking parties. Because he’s not out at work, I understand the kind of stress he has to deal with when his coworkers talk about relationships, marriage, and other personal things with him. In addition, I’ve been thinking about #5 a lot lately as well. I enjoy writing posts and translating articles for Takurei’s Room, but I wonder whether or not I can share this kind of work as part of a portfolio or on a resume in the future.

The article goes on to talk about a meeting being held by the LGBT Institute for General Research in collaboration with The Huffington Post Japan on October 28th, so if you’re interested in reading those details, please follow the link below (Japanese only)

「LGBTが就活・転職で困る10のこと」10/28 イベント開催 | 人事や当事者と、明日からできる解決策を考えよう

2 Responses

  1. Hey, I’m from the Bahamas and quite interested in living in Japan, for a period at the very least, and this seems pretty interesting and vital information. Thanks for the translate. Does those standards for work also apply to foreigners as strictly? I’ve heard being a foreigner relaxes some expectations.

    • I think that foreigners are held to the same standards in the workplace. There are some cases where I’ve seen some unacceptable (by Japanese standards) things slide, but that is not the norm and more likely to cause friction between foreign and Japanese workers. The safest bet is to try to respect your workplace and get a feel for the strictness (or leniency) before doing anything that might get you off on the wrong foot.

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