Ahead of the G7 leaders’ summit in Hiroshima, Japan this May, the Japanese and international LGBTQI community took part in the Pride 7 Summit held at the House of Representatives, Tokyo on 30 March 2023.
The Pride 7 campaign was launched to to accelerate their efforts to get the Japanese government to adopt an anti-discrimination law and also to push the G7 to be more robust and proactive in addressing the LGBTQI rights abuses in G7 countries and around the world, and establish Pride 7 (P7) as an official engagement platform for LGBTQI issues.
Co-hosted by Japan Alliance for LGBT Legislation (J-ALL), Marriage For All Japan, Human Rights Watch, and attended by government and embassy representatives from G7 members, Japanese MPs, business leaders. International LGBTQI community representatives from the Council for Global Equality (USA), Stonewall (UK), Inter-LGBT (France), ILGA World (Switzerland), LSVD (Germany), Egale (Canada), ICS Center (Vietnam), Las Reinas Chulas Cabaret y Derechos Humanos A.C. (Mexico), and APCOM – were also invited to take part.
Pride 7 aims to be the G7 engagement group dedicated for LGBTQI rights, alongside the G-7’s seven existing official interest groups, young people (Youth 7), women (Women 7), non-governmental organizations (C7), trade unions (Labour 7), employers (Business 7), think tanks (Think tanks 7) and academies of science (Science 7).
Japan is the only member of the Group of Seven advanced industrialized nations that lacks LGBTQI marriage equality and law protecting the rights of LGBTQI people.
Pride 7 will publish a Communiqué at the end of April with a set of recommendations ahead of the G7 Hiroshima Summit 2023.
Read the Washington Post about the PRIDE 7 Summit
Read APCOM’s statement, delivered by Midnight,
APCOM’s Executive Director here:
Thank you so much organisers; J-All, Marriage for All Japan, and Human Rights Watch, for the invitation for this wonderful Pride 7 event, and congratulations for conducting this fabulous event.
Sawasdee krub, good afternoon, my name is Midnight, I am gay, and I come from the land of smiles, Thailand. I am the Executive Director of APCOM, based in Bangkok.
APCOM is a leading Asia Pacific non-profit organisation working with community-based organisations across 35 Asia Pacific countries in the region since 2007. Last year marks our
15th year of working in the Asia-Pacific region on HIV, health, rights and wellbeing of people of diverse sexual orientation, gender identity, expression and sex characteristics.
APCOM’s work throughout the years is guided by the importance of human rights, the need for making changes in laws and policies and advocacy to bring different sectors together including LGBTQI communities, key populations, governments, UN system and donors. Indeed our tagline is Equity. Dignity. And Social Justice.
Social and Economic inclusion of LGBTQI is important for us, and we have been engaging with the Asian Development Bank to be more LGBTQI inclusive and working more with LGBTQI organisations – through our network we did a community consultation to provide feedback to the ADB on SOGIESC inclusion in its Safeguards policy.
We hope the G7 countries working with the ADB, to ensure at the upcoming ADB Annual General Meeting that we have a strong, robust and inclusive Safeguards policy that our communities calls for, and also to ensure that the ADB works more closely with the LGBTQI community in the region particularly when it comes to Ensure meaningful participation of LGBTQI community and organizations not only during the Safeguards policy review process but in the entire implementation of the policy.
Development challenges are fundamentally driven by social stigma and institutionalised discrimination the main drivers of exclusion for people with diverse SOGIESC are legal and social discrimination and stigma. Consensual same-sex relations among adults remain illegal in many countries in the region.
7 countries in the Pacific still criminalize same-sex relations (PNG, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands).
8 countries in Asia Consensual Same-sex sexual relations legal (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brunei, Maldives, Malaysia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka).
As well as the widespread criminalisation of consensual same-sex sexual relations in the region, other common forms of legal discrimination against people with diverse SOGIESC include the absence of anti-discrimination protections; lack of prohibition of non-consensual medical interventions on intersex people; restrictions on the ability to update gender markers in identity documentation such as passports and birth certificates; and criminalisation of cross-dressing and sex work.
However, there are some positives – in light of recent successful decriminalisation efforts in India (2018), Bhutan (2021), and Singapore (2022). The experiences of human rights defenders, lawyers, political leaders, and community leaders from these jurisdictions can inspire and assist others the Asia Pacific states fighting to realise decriminalisation in their own societies. We were able to profile this at the recent Sydney World Pride Human Rights Conference.
The Marriage Equality movement has taken roots in many countries in our region since we hosted the Asia Marriage Equality Strategy Meeting in 2018, including representations from Marriage for All Japan. At present only Taiwan has recognized same sex marriage.
In Thailand – where I am from, people think that it is an LGBTQI paradise – socially and culturally we are open, however laws and policies are not in place to ensure true equality.
Transgender people cannot change their identity card. There are 2 bills including the Civil Partnership Bill, and Marriage Equality Bill that is to be decided in the parliament – but due to the up-coming elections this is likely to be stalled – and the resubmissions to be made to the new government. Thai LGBTQI civil society, however, is calling for Marriage Equality to demonstrate true human rights equality.
The core principle of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is that no one should be left behind. Although the international community increasingly recognises that this includes people with diverse SOGIESC, the SDGs themselves are silent on the challenges faced by people with diverse SOGIESC.
2019-2020 Global Resource Report: Government & Philanthropic Support for LGBTI communities showed that only 5% of the resources goes to the LGBTQI community in our region. This is the biggest region of the world with the biggest number of LGBTQI – and I hope the G7 governments can help ensure to increase this percentage to support the LGBTQI community in our region, and that as we build back from the effect of Covid-19 we can build a more inclusive society.
I would like to recognise Mr Taiga Ishikawa – who received our 2018 HERO Awards for the Shivananda Khan Award for extraordinary achievement for his activism and advocacy for improving the situation for LGBTQI people in Japan.
Finally, thank you and congratulations to the Japanese LGBTQI civil society for not giving up and always finding ways to work together and advocate LGBTQI rights in Japan.
We stand together with you and wish you success in your on-going work.
To end – I am hearing from different speakers that:
Japan as part of G7 to move to have LGBTQI marriage equality, to enact anti-discrimination law, become the first Asian country to join the Equal Rights Coalition, and to actively support and involve LGBTQI community organizations.
I hope that the Pride 7 will be an official engagement for LGBTQI issues going forward.
Thank you very much.
Local Japanese news: