3200 Attend ‘Pink Dot Okinawa 2017’ in Celebration of Diversity

Pink Dot Okinawa 2017, an event that aims to create a society where sexual minorities can live comfortably, was held on September 23 at Tenbusu Square in Naha City. An estimated 3200 attendees, the highest number since the inception of the event in 2013, gathered in a show of support. 

The event featured 72 corporate sponsors, the highest number ever. At the finale, participants walked a pink carpet and expressed their hope for the creation of a society where sexual diversity is respected.

The stage hosted talk shows and dance performances by LGBT individuals. The final event featured a performance from the local pop group MAX, and the crowd reacted excitedly to the high-energy songs and dances.

Near the stage were 20 booths set up by various organizations. Many attendees were seen holding pink and rainbow colored cake and ice cream being sold by sponsors. Naha City and Urasoe City set up booths introducing the steps being taken to support sexual minorities in each municipality.

Chiaki Nakasone (39, Naha City), was attending the event for the first time and wore a pink wig. “It’s fun to bring not only LGBT but a variety of individuals together,” she said with a smile. “There are many young attendees, but it would be better to spread understanding if attendees were of a wider age range,” she insisted.

Pink Dot Okinawa was first established in 2013, and this is the 5th time it has been held. It was organized by the executive committee, with joint sponsorship by Naha City, Hotel Palm Royal Naha, and Kahu Resort Fuchaku Condo Hotel.

Talk Show

At the Pink Dot Okinawa talk show, three LGBT couples spoke on the theme of “family”. One speaker pointed out that “LGBT individuals are often lumped together, but the circumstances of each group is different. I want to spread throughout Okinawa the feeling that families of all shapes and sizes are okay.”

Speakers included Irimaji Junji (40) and Azama Naohiko (31) a male couple from Naha City, Moda Mamiko (37) and Nagamura Satoko (34), a female couple from Toyko, and Takushi Ryoto (36), an FtM transperson and his partner Saori (34).

Mr. Irimaji and Mr. Azama were the first couple to register under the Naha City Partnership System in 2016. Looking back on this event, Irimaji expressed, “We wanted to move forward together. Telling people around us about our marriage went smoothly. The understanding of partnership is making progress.” On the other hand, the couple also pointed out that in the event that one of them may require an emergency surgery, the other would be unable to consent to the procedure.

Ms. Moda and Ms. Nagamura have launched an SNS service where LGBT couples seeking a child of their own can interact. They explained that there is currently no support in place for these individuals. According to Nagamura, “There needs to be a way that individuals facing the same issues can connect with one another regardless of where they live. People who support one another are family.”

Mr. Takushi in 2006 officially changed his sex to male on his family register and married in 2009. The couple had a child, Toa, in 2014 by utilizing a donor. Saori spoke openly, saying “I wanted to have a child with the person I love.” Takushi added “We decided to move forward (with having a child) after preparing together. It is important to communicate a lot.”

Source – 3200人「自分らしさ」表現 LGBT理解、広がりに期待 ピンクドット沖縄

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