Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2017 will take place at various locations in Tokyo from April 29th through May 7th. The event aims to deepen the understanding of LGBT and other sexual minorities and help to realize a society where all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, can pursue happiness without fear of discrimination or prejudice.
In the evening of the first day of the event on April 29th in the cafe of the observation room of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office, company sponsors and municipal supporters held an opening reception for the event. Democratic Party Leader Renho was also in attendance.
The event began with a greeting by Yamagata Shinya, a representative of the NPO responsible for Tokyo Rainbow Pride. He declared that the theme of this year is “change – we can change the future” while noting that in the 15 years since he began working as an activist, he has seen the situation surrounding LGBT people in Japan change immensely. Furthermore, he expressed his desire for everyone to come together in order to bring the country closer to national-level legislation (in order to extend equal rights to all individuals).
In her address, Renho stated that she has spoken with various concerned parties, and said “I was certainly hoping to do something (together with Tokyo Rainbow Pride” and expressed her thanks for being allowed to speak at the event.
“Only 1100 people joined the first Tokyo Rainbow Pride in 1994, but now I’ve heard that we are anticipating around 100,000 individuals. I want to express my respect for everyone’s great effort, ability to come together, and forward-facing attitude”.
Renho also stated “I want to do as much as I can in the National Diet”, mentioning the 2015 introduction of the LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance to the Diet as an example. She expressed that “the hurdles are high, but if the ruling party can come to understand (the issues faced by sexual minorities), I think we can make the law a reality. At the very least, I think we can become a country that adheres to the Olympic Charter (which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation) before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. I want to create a society and country where individuality is not repressed.”