Tokyo Rainbow Week Kicks Off, 12,000 Participate in Gay Pride Parade
Thousands of people participated in a gay pride parade in Japan’s capital Sunday to kick off “Tokyo Rainbow Week,” the first ever celebration of the LGBT community.
Organizers said about 12,000 people took part in the “Tokyo Rainbow Pride” parade, which has taken place for several years in the posh Harajuku shopping district, but is now a part of the weeklong celebration. Events run through May 6.
“This is our first attempt to link up with many groups” in the LGBT community, said Hiroko Masuhara, 35, one of the organizers. “The parade is a symbolic event in the Tokyo Rainbow Week program.”
Hiroko gained national attention last month when she “married” her partner, LGBT rights activist Koyuki Higashi, at the Tokyo Disney Resort, complete with a picture of Mickey and Minnie Mouse. The picture of their wedding went viral and was retweeted more than 6,000 times, with most people expressing support of the couple, according to the Japan Daily Press.
The ceremony did not grant them any legal standing because Japan does not recognize same-sex marriage. Hiroko believes that their ceremony was meant to let people know that “gay people exist for real” and that they want to celebrate weddings just like any other straight couple.
“We have the impression that we are seeing more women and various nationalities of people participating in our parade in recent years,” she said. Japan is seeing more and more support for gay rights as growing legal recognition occurs around the world.
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