Posted in Japan News, LGBTQ in Japan, YouTube Videos

LGBTQIA+ Groups in Japan that Need Your Help!

Due to the cancellation of many pride events, such as Tokyo Rainbow Pride, many communities are left without their usual donation funds to get through the year. These donations are essential to community groups that serve the LGBTQIA+ communities in Japan. It can go towards HIV/AIDs awareness, helping LGBTQ refugees, and so much more.

You can watch my face talking about it, too!

I’m representing one of them, as the Stonewall Japan Kanto East Block Leader, but there are other organizations who need you to donate, too.

Stonewall Japan: https://stonewalljapan.org/donate/

Stonewall Japan is a community group for LGBTQIA+ people living in Japan. We intend to provide a safe space for people to network with others and provide information and resources. We do this by:

  1. Facilitating an active group on Facebook
  2. Holding events
  3. Sending out Block Emails
  4. Answering questions via email
  5. Maintaining resources on our website

Help Us Sue The Japanese Government for Marriage Equality: https://www.gofundme.com/f/3p65eg

From the GoFundMe Project Description: “We — Elin McCready and Midori Morita — have been married for 20 years, originally filing paperwork in Japan, where we live. Elin filed a petition to change her name and gender in the US in October 2018 and changed this information on her passport. However, Japan has refused to recognize her gender transition on some documents, because doing so would result in de facto acceptance of same-sex marriage, which Japan doesn’t currently allow. This means that some of Elin’s paperwork says M and some F, even just within Japan, which is as far as we know a unique situation, and our marital status is ultimately unclear.

We are crowdfunding for a lawsuit to sue the Japanese government and get this situation fixed. The goals are (1) to fight for recognition of Elin’s transition and get all her paperwork consistent with her gender, and (2) to ensure that they recognize our marriage in the process. This will result in the Japanese government admitting a same-sex marriage, which will be a big step toward full legal status of same-sex marriage, and possibly even become the legal challenge which forces the government to make marriage possible for everyone. Please help us fix our situation and by doing so help us make things better for everyone here!”

Nijiiro Kazoku (Rainbow Family): https://queerfamily.jimdofree.com

Bank Transfer Info- ゆうちょ銀行 10170-83637011 名義 にじいろかぞく

This NPO is specifically dedicated to supporting gay, lesbian, trans, and other rainbow families! They even have LGBTQIA+ friendly books for sale for kids. Unlike most other NPO’s, this one isn’t as well known.

Equal Marriage Alliance: http://emajapan.org/#

The EMA is fighting to get same sex marriage recognized in Japan. It’s also helping to support people in same sex partnerships have their legality recognized when they encounter trouble with companies that won’t see their partnership as legitimate.

Also, there’s a movement getting started to support Nichome in Shinjuku. For those of you who don’t know, Nichome is the gay district of Tokyo (and also essentially my second home). I gave only 1,000 yen, but every little bit counts towards helping the community!

You can go to the Change.org petition here to sign to help the businesses receive the aid they need from the government, or to help chip in some money to keep these at risk businesses afloat.

Please consider helping out! Or if not, please like and share so the word can spread. Thank you!

Posted in LGBTQ in Japan

Transphobia in Nichome: Bar Goldfinger Is On My Shitlist

Nothing pisses me off more royally than transphobia these days. TERFs (Trans Exclusionary Radical Not-Actually Feminists) are everywhere, and in Japan they’re notorious on Twitter for bullying people for not adhering to the strictest of definitions of female – because intersex people are a myth in their minds. Since I’m the Stonewall Japan Vice President and Kanto East Block Leader, I keep an eye out for places and people that exhibit shitty behavior just in general.

In this particular case, I feel personally betrayed and hurt. Bar Goldfinger is one of the few standing lesbian bards in Nichome, Shinjuku. If you didn’t know, lesbian bars are kind of dying off, and I liked to visit for karaoke nights with friends. It was a frequent stop to bar hop on my way through on a Friday and Saturday night.

So when I heard that the owners were transphobic pieces of human trash that broke my heart.

It started with just a Facebook post on the Kanto East Block Page (name removed so I’m not outing anyone).

===============================================================

[Facebook Post: Name Redacted for Privacy Concerns]

“CW: Transphobia

This is my first time posting on Stonewall, so please let me know if my post doesn’t fit the guidelines in anyway and I’ll be happy to remove or edit it.

Just to note that this is as told to me by my friend so it’s possible that there are some slight details that have been lost. But I thought a lot of people in the community would be interested to hear about something that my friend experienced at the Bar Gold Finger Party last night.

The party takes place every 3rd Saturday and it clearly states Women Only on the website. My friend’s friend from France was performing as a DJ. The DJ wanted to bring her friend who is trans. The DJ confirmed with the venue that it would be ok to bring her friend in advance. However, when they arrived, their IDs were checked and so the trans person was not allowed to enter because their gender marker on their ID is male*. The DJ then refused to perform if her friend was not allowed to enter. And now the DJ is apparently blacklisted from Goldfinger. Apparently the trans person was told: “You don’t even look like a woman.”

I’m all about women friendly and queer friendly safe spaces. And I can understand why people might feel more comfortable in a female only/female majority space. But to me, this goes against the spirit of such ideas. It might be ok to exclude cis men from entering the party or the bar one day of the week, but what does excluding trans people achieve?”

*Note: The ID marker wasn’t male, as you will see below.

===============================================================

The friend has now posted a letter to Goldfinger via Twitter  in order to receive answers on the unfair treatment that happened that night.


Just to be clear, the marker was F, as in FEMALE, but the bouncer decided that Elin didn’t “pass” as female. That is some TERF bullshit.

When I see people posting in “defense” of this bullshit, the common arguments are, “Well, it’s a lesbian bar! Why not go to a mix bar?”

Trans women are women. That’s why. They’re not “mixed,” they are women who deserve a space to go be around other women.

“But-but some women don’t feel safe if a trans woman is there.”

Trans women never feel safe, and excluding them from safe spaces puts them in more danger. Trans women die when we don’t speak up for them and stand with them.

People will try to spin this as a, “Well, that’s just how they feel! They don’t mean any harm.” BUT IT IS HARMFUL TO SAY YOU DON’T BELIEVE TRANS WOMEN ARE WOMEN! It’s bullshit to try to claim you’re an activist for LGBTQIA+ rights and then turn around and pit in the face of the T in the goddamn acronym.

But don’t worry, Chiga-san doubled down on her TERF mentality and threw up this lovely sign with small print now.

Yeah you see that right, they’ve now added the fine print of Women (cisgender) ONLY, because fuck you that’s why.

A club that’s proud to exclude trans women isn’t a club I want to ever patronize, but not only that, I want every single LGBTQIA+ person visiting to know about this policy. I want my trans ladies to know that this place ain’t safe, and I want you to be safe so bad. YOU ARE VALID, and you deserve to be accepted and loved.

I ask that other LGBTQIA+ people stand with their trans sisters and don’t go to this bar. I will never be going back again, which sucks in a major way because I have so many fond memories of that damn place. It’s infuriating that the whole time it turns out the owners were so full of hate and malice towards trans people.

If you’re looking for a trans friendly event, try out this one below.

And finally, if you would like to be in a more inclusive space I do recommend checking out Vox. Vox is a new bar and dance club that promotes as an all around “all gender bar” and “any orientation ok!” It has an inclusive atmosphere, and even puts “FTM、FTX、MTF、MTX” into their event schedules.

If you have also faced discrimination at Goldfinger, please comment and share your story.


UPDATES: May 31st, 2019

Bar Goldfinger has been called out on Twitter by a ton of trans activists. Some of them have even suggested that perhaps Goldfinger should be taken out of Tokyo Rainbow Pride in the future because of its anti-trans stance.


Translation: Here is the issue. If the store (group) that has publicly stated they exclude trans women and also take part in TRP (Tokyo Rainbow Pride) which speaks on the solidarity of LGBT people and shakes the rainbow flag, it cannot but be forced to say “this is not acceptable” if they stand with transgender people. I think that’s not only me who thinks so.
Translation: For example, suppose a foreigner settles in Japan, overcomes various difficulties, and acquires their Japanese nationality. If you say to this person, “Yes, you are Japanese now, but you are originally a foreigner, and you can not be given the same rights as all other Japanese people,” it would be obvious discrimination. What GF is doing is such a vile act.
Translation: Hey TRP, Japan’s largest lesbian event bar that attends Tokyo Rainbow pride. Golfinger has declared that it should be operated as “cis-gender only” based on the current situation!
Translation from bottom Tweet and then top Tweet: [Speaking] as one of the cis-gender (assigned gender) male gays (male homosexuals). As someone who believes in LGBT Rights. This movement of exclusion of trans women can have an impact on the LGBT community and society, which will enhance transphobia. I strongly protest goldfinger. #NoGoldFinger #goldfingersince1991. At least, what role did transgender people play in gay rights (LGBT Rights)? They reestablished the foundations of what gender and sex / sexuality means to us. The most successful lesbian team should never be encouraging trans exclusion. The impact is [just] too great.

Also a good friend and trans activist, Tomato Hatakeno, wrote a very lengthy piece in Japanese about the issue. If you can read Japanese, I highly recommend it. I’ll try to see if Tomato-san will allow me to translate it into English so others can read it as well.

Bar Goldfinger has now updated their stance to, “If we find someone who doesn’t fit in this event (イベントの雰囲気にそぐわない方)we may possibly ask you to stay out.” in Japanese (shout out to my friend Luna for translating and letting me know about this new picture).

No photo description available.

Basically, it’s a shallow attempt to have their transphobic cake and eat it too, in my opinion. They got blasted on social media for being transphobic, and now they’re trying to find a “compromise” on the situation. Here’s the thing though…

IT’S STILL FUCKING TRANSPHOBIC TO KICK TRANS WOMEN OUT OF WOMEN SPACES YOU MASSIVE TWAT WAFFLES.

That is all.


UPDATE #2: I have made a vlog addressing “counterarguments”

Posted in Slice of Life

Too Busy To Even Do Laundry

Whoa boy! What a Golden Week.

I finished up my training for work. Yay! Which means I now have to work. Yay? Kind of yay. I’m getting used to it. Now that I’m back into eikaiwa work, it’s odd to try and teach all ages again. And I gotta get used to the program this company uses, too. The books for each level, the specific process for the classes, and so on and so forth are all new with a side of confusing.

But let’s get back to that later (like tomorrow).

I also ended up doing the Tokyo Rainbow Pride planning and volunteering for Stonewall Japan. I decided to step down as Vice President, as I believe I mentioned before, so now I’m Kanto East Block Leader. I will mostly be making events happen in Tokyo in the near future as well as posting other people’s events to the Facebook page, but there are also many other responsibilities.

The planning process for TRP took some time. L____ the VP, P____ the Treasurer, and myself all got together on Google Hangouts to discuss ideas for the event for a couple of hours. Once we got our ideas finalized, we had a couple of weeks to get our projects done. As I was still in job training, that meant I needed to find free time with a super limited budget in order to get my materials for my project.

I didn’t really succeed. My “plan” was to buy Polaroid film for a camera, borrow my roommates camera, and have an album frame a la Instagram so people could take a picture home with them. As it turns out, the film costs 1,000 yen for a pack of 10 sheets. At 100 yen a sheet, I couldn’t afford to buy over 10,000 yen worth of sheets for this big event. I ended up just making the frame, which was cute and everyone loved it, but I just wished I could’ve afforded those sheets.

But in between all of these activities, I also needed to get my visa things sorted before May 1st. See, during Golden Week there were two days in which I could go to immigration to change my visa from an Instructor to a Humanities visa. I also needed to send off a self-addressed stamped envelope to my old city for tax information, which I didn’t realize was necessary for changing a status, but whatever. I got that done, it came in the mail after about a week.

I was a nervous wreck at the visa office. I was number 964, which meant 964 people had come in line before me. NOT GOOD. I had arrived at 11:00 a.m. in case you’re thinking I must’ve arrived later in the day. I knew, I just KNEW I should’ve arrived at opening time, but I just didn’t have the gumption in the morning to get up and get moving. Regrets, I have them!

Every hour that passed I was panicking. What if I can’t get my visa things done today? What if I have to come back? There were so many people around me standing because all the seats were taken. I could hear the window people getting yelled at by people who didn’t bring their passport copies, demanding that the employees make an exception for them. I could also overhear various people wondering if it mattered that they didn’t bring their university degree copy. OF COURSE IT DOES!!

Basically, it took over seven hours before my visa papers were finally submitted to the slowest receptionist available at the visa immigration office. She refused to rush, getting each paper a look over, then stamping in certain places, then going to get a different sheet of paper, and looking over it again- WOMAN JUST GIVE ME MY TEMPORARY NUMBER PLEASE!!

Finally, at 18:15, I got out of there. Now I have to wait two weeks or more to get a new visa. Luckily with eikaiwa work I’ll be off on one weekday in a week, so I’ll be able to go get it (pending approval) sometime soon.

All these different things kind of happening all at the same time means my laundry just kind of piled up around the apartment. I now live with a roommate [X] and we don’t currently have a washer. We do have a coin laundry just down the street, but with everything else going on and with the rainy season coming a bit early, it’s been a while since I’ve had a good day to do it.

Today will be that day. Tomorrow I want to talk about the new eikaiwa job, and then a little later I want to write about Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2018. I want to say a lot of things about TRP2018, but I need to collect my thoughts before I do. Until next time!

Posted in LGBTQ in Japan

Tokyo Rainbow Pride Festa and Parade!

For the Saturday and Sunday of Golden Week, I volunteered to organize the Stonewall Japan booth. Pride events are our biggest draw in, both in terms of members as well as donations. However, I couldn’t do it all on my own. That’s where the awesome Stonewall Japan volunteers come in! We had a blast doing face paints for people, networking with other pro-LGBTQ+ organizations, and in general just talking with new people about Stonewall Japan.

For me, it involved a lot of phone calls and email responding, too. I never realized until I did this event just how much work people behind the scenes had to do. I was non-stop moving from nine in the morning until six thirty in the evening. At one point, we thought we wouldn’t have enough face paint to get through the day, so I had to run over to the DIASO and buy more. Takashita Street DAISO is crazy busy on a normal day, but with thousands of people attending the event? It took forever.

It wasn’t all work though, I had a one hour lunch break where I met up with Rebecca. We went to this place called The Taproom, which served some really awesome craft beers as well as good food. I chose the quickest thing I could think of for them to make, which was yakitori (chicken sticks).

Right after lunch was over, I was running right back to the booth to make sure volunteers managed to find their way to the booth. Unfortunately, a few people got lost, so I had to direct them as well as call people to find the picnic that was set up in Yoyogi Park.

It sounds like I’m complaining maybe, but I did enjoy it. I was just so exhausted! After having gone to Kyoto for two days, then running around Tokyo the day before, working as a volunteer on the weekend running around yet again was just hard! Don’t get me wrong though, being a part of Pride was well worth all of the stress. I liked feeling I was being a part of a good change in things socially here in Japan.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take as many pictures because of the working things. I ended up just staying near the booth until breakdown at six thirty. Immediately after that, I got in line for the best pancakes ever! If you haven’t been to Cafe Gram, you really should. They have the fluffiest pancakes you’ll ever eat.

Rebecca and I managed to get the last order of them (see photo left). In order to get these fluffy pancakes, you have to show up at certain times in order to get the pancake reservation, and then wait another hour or so before you can eat. They only make these pancake in limited batches. We got the last order of the day, how lucky is that?!

The only downside is that you’re not allowed to share orders, so Rebecca had to buy something too. She chose the apple pancakes, which were not a bad choice at all. There were also kiwis and oranges between the pancakes, which was delightfully tangy and sweet all at once.

When we finished eating breakfast for dinner, we got also the last reservation for the Harajuku Owl Cafe!

I don’t know how we got this much luck, but it was awesome! The owls were super tame, very calm, and a joy to pet. That’s right, you can pet most of them. However, one spotted owl (bottom left in the photos) would like to bite at you rather than let you touch him. And there was a tiny angry owl you could pet, but he wasn’t pleased about it so much.

However, the larger owls were totally fine with getting picked up and petted.

When our hour was over, we had to run yet again. Stonewall Japan was doing a bar crawl that night in Nichome, and I wanted to catch up with the group just to say hello. Most of my friends intended to stay out all night, but I couldn’t do that as I had to get up early for the booth and parade prep the next day. Still, I did manage to meet some new people as well as see some old faces I hadn’t seen in a long time.

Bar Crawl.jpg

The Bar Crawl in Nichome is a lot of fun, and I really do wish I could’ve stuck around, but I was about ready to drop as it was.

The next morning, I got up early and prepped before getting on the train. I had decided months ago that I was going to do a really silly cosplay. Rainbow Brite was a staple of my childhood, and I mean a spunky girl with rainbows and magic, what’s not to like? So I got all dressed up and headed out.

Before I headed out with the Stonewall group, I made sure volunteers were set up at the booth with everything. I also took an opportunity to get some pics with various drag queens at the event as well, because hello fabulous!

Stonewall met up for a group photo around eleven so we could all walk together to the float area right after. Thankfully, a lot of people showed up to support the walk, even though it was a super hot day and the march was not a short one.

Pre-Parade

We actually waited just in the sun for a good forty five minutes before we actually started marching, it was a bit tough, but when we did start marching it was magical!

We managed to get behind a DJ float, which meant we got pumping music the whole way through! It was so amazing to see the support lining the streets. Everybody was cheering and waving, high five-ing people as they walked onward, and I swear there were way more camera people than the previous year.

The walk took a good hour long trek from Yoyogi Stadium, to Shibuya Crossing, and then back around through the Shibuya main highway area, and then we returned to Yoyogi Stadium. The police were allowing traffic to flow, so unlike in New York City and other Prides, there isn’t a standstill to let the parade go without a break, which is part of the reason for why it took that long.

We broke records yet again for both attendance in the Festa and the Parade, with over 6,000 attendees. How cool is that?! Here’s hoping these solidarity efforts will make some effective changes sometime soon. I would love for marriage equality to come to Japan before the 2020 Olympics. As it stands, I’m not sure it will happen, but at events like Tokyo Rainbow Pride, I have hope.

I’m proud of what Stonewall managed to accomplish that weekend, even though there were bumps along the way, it all managed to work out. Hopefully, next year will be even better.

After six(ish), Rebecca and I headed home to go plan out the last day of her vacation. We wanted to get one more sightseeing spot squeezed in before I saw her off to the airport. And so we chose the obvious one: Tokyo SkyTree!