I’m very aware that maybe only about 10 or so people are actually A) aware this book exists and B) that I’ve even been writing a book, but I can’t release “The Queens of Ravenwood” just yet.
In this current climate, I’m part of this Black Lives Matter movement as a supporter. I’m using so many different platforms to try and promote information about a Black Lives Matter peaceful march happening in Tokyo tomorrow.
It feels wrong to try and promote a book right now.
On top of that, as I’ve been re-reading and editing my own book, I realized that I had chance to go back and write in some important elements that it was lacking from these first three drafts. I let the panic of COVID19 force me into a deadline, with the terrifying thought of, “I could be dead in two weeks and have never published a book!”
However, in rushing to get it done, I think I missed some important parts that would really round out my narrative. If I had my own editor and agent, they probably could’ve told me the same thing a while back, but since it’s just me at home with an editor I paid to proofread (his name is Nicholas by the way, he’s a great guy) this first book is a huge learning process.
Now, I’m delaying the book again and I know, it’s dumb, and it’s the worst thing for a first time author with virtually no audience to do. I’m aware it makes people lose interest and makes me look bad.
Still, I think June 26th is a better date for a variety of reasons. It’s the day the USA finally got marriage equality, so it fits with a lesbian main character getting married to a fae wife because [spoilers]. Also, it’s my birthday! I can’t think of a better way to get my own party started than by publishing a book.
I promise by the moon and stars, this is the FINAL RELEASE DATE! I will not be changing it. Thanks for hanging in there with me!
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.
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.
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!”
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.
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!
It’s hilarious to me that I started writing books at like eleven years old, but it’s not until I’ve reached thirty that I finally get around to putting one out. Better late than never, though!
I’ve decided, kind of arbitrarily, that the book’s launch date will by May 31st!
I think given my current situation wherein I have the ability to work from home for the first time in my life will help me reach this goal. I’m a newbie to the self-publishing sphere, but in this learning curve I hope I will be able to create something people will love.
I’m going with Lulu as my option for self-publishing. I love the control that Lulu offers, while also not being Amazon. Even though Lulu does offer books to be sold on that website, with Lulu I can sell my ebooks on my own website! Hopefully with the small attention I’ve garnered will bring people to the site and people will buy directly.
I’m excited to share Elan and Ravenna’s journey into the wider world. There are other books and other stories I want to put out there, too, but I think for a first novel I’m glad to go with two characters who’ve been with me through some turbulent times.
I want to thank a thousand plus people for helping me get this novel to where it is now. I’ll start with Tara and Kris, who read through the horrid rough draft that wasn’t even half complete. Their input really changed the whole course of the novel! It’s completely different now. I want to thank the encouragement from my Tokyo Closet Ball family, who have supported me when I was sure that I wasn’t really lovable, and to the Kings of Tokyo for becoming part of this journey, too. Artists all of us, supporting each other in this bizarre chosen family.
And of course, thank you to my mother, who read “The Hobbit” to my brother and I as a bedtime story. We bonded in a new house in a post-divorce world going there and back again. Fantasy will always hold a special place in my heart, close to where she’ll always be.
I’ll save the rest for the book acknowledgement section everyone skips over. I’m going to return to the regularly scheduled programming of things happening in Japan. Thanks for everything, more book announcements at the end of the month! Whoohoo!
When it comes to “The Queens of Ravenwood,” the characters really fuel the narrative. While the world building is fun, I tend to overthink even small details, and that can grind everything to a halt real quick. Also, plot points are fun, but I can’t share those, obviously. Therefore, let’s get into some of the characters you’ve met so far.
Elan Altier is the kind of person who everyone kind of expects to succeed. This trait is honestly expected of all the Contenders for the Crown, but Elan was born with the kind of “get shit done” attitude she inherited (by force) from her mother, Lady Brienne. Her father, Duke Nathaniel, doesn’t really have this kind of attitude.
Duke Nathaniel Altier married Lady Brienne twenty two years before the events of the book. Lady Brienne married into the Altier name, but she’s the one who runs this estate, make no mistake. Duke Nathaniel was actually not supposed to become a Duke, but due to reasons I’m not at liberty to discuss right at this moment, he ended up getting his position through war heroics in the Demon Wars (which wasn’t really even a war, it’s a long story in and of itself).
Elan grew up immediately expected to learn anything and everything necessary to compete with the other Contenders. Why is the crown a contention competition instead of a monarchy through family blood lines? Blame the fae.
The Rift Wars is exactly what is sounds like, wherein there were rifts that just suddenly-BOOM!- hit this world like a ton of bricks. The humans of this world were here first, but suddenly then there were demons and fae. Why did the rifts happen? Let’s just say sometimes gods get bored and decide to mess with the boundaries of their spheres and shit goes down in not a good way.
Due to this, the fae eventually claimed Ravenwood as their “domain” which is more or less the forest which holds a whole other parallel world. That’s to the west of the Northern Province. The demons ended up taking over the deserts to the far north. Note, not the Northern Province of Surene, but the Demonic Wastes of the Far North. They live close to some sulfur pits and a volcano, where the royal family of the demon line lives.
So as you can imagine, the Northern Province is kind of the place for battles and what not in the past. However, things are getting lax in this day and age. Ravenna ascended to power after overthrowing King Varen (who was a dick and no one misses him), and that was two hundred years ago. The Demon Wars got settled a year before Duke Nathaniel and Lady Brienne got married, so everyone is kind of in a peace state of mind.
This long explanation is basically to get to the point that the fae helped to mold the monarchy of the human world. The fae don’t go by bloodlines, because they live too damn long, so they have the Contender system that the humans ended up adopting.
Elan grew up with basically all the Contenders. Flora is the oldest at twenty-two, Elan and Amelia are twenty, Larent is nineteen, and Jaleck is eighteen. Flora, Elan, and Amelia were shuttled off in summers to hang out together. Larent and Jaleck kind of hung out with their HUGE plethora of cousins well into their teens. It wasn’t until The Call for Contention came out that the kiddos all came together at the castle.
Elan and Flora became the obvious top two contenders pretty quick. It took about two years of training before Queen Valeria finally just took them both into her inner circle to mold them into future queens. Usually, it would only take one, but it’s also unusual for two contenders to excel like Elan and Flora did.
Elan can do a bunch of things well. Horseback riding, dancing, painting, singing, playing the harp, you name it she is at least decent at it if not really good. However, does she particularly enjoy doing any of those? NOPE!
Elan is like that popular kid you knew in high school whose parents were always throwing them into after school activities to look good on college applications. If you asked Elan what she enjoyed doing in her free time, her answer would probably be, “What free time?” She’s always doing something, for her future, for the kingdom, for her mother, and it never really ends.
The other contenders had more or less normal upbringings. Their parents were strict, but fair, and allowed the kids chances to discover things they liked and allowed them chances to make mistakes. Flora and Amelia were allowed to have a childhood full of imagination and creativity. Flora fell in love with botany, and in fitting with her namesake, she ended up accumulating a lot of gardening and medicinal knowledge. Amelia can sing like an angel.
Larent and Jaleck’s parents kind of assumed their adorable baby boys weren’t up to snuff for the King role, with Larent preferring to read rather than interact with people, and Jaleck tends to run off into a hunt rather than study literally anything. The only reason Larent didn’t drop out with Jaleck was because he adored Amelia and wanted to spend time with her.
Meanwhile, Elan was dealing with a mother who started her training early, teaching her history and strategy from the moment Elan could basically talk. Also, Duke Nathaniel got her into fencing and shooting arrows at a young age, too. As a child of both the Northern Province and a Contender, Elan had to deal with a lot of high expectations. No matter what she does, she’s always gotta be moving up, or she’s punished.
And these punishments will play a role in a lot of stuff later on.
Flora being crowned Princess of Surene was kind of shocking to everyone for a multitude of reasons that probably won’t make it into the book, but the key reason being that the Northern Province has done SO MUCH for the kingdom. It was kind of assumed that Queen Valeria would recognize the sacrifices of the North during the Demon Wars to name the child of that province as heir to the throne. With Elan being the super capable person she is, it seemed like a slap in the face to choose Flora.
We’ll be delving into the the consequences of all this history, both the personal and the cultural, in chapters three and four.
Apologies in advance, I’m not feeling like myself today. I suspect I’m heading into a small bit of depression. I might take tomorrow off to just relax and do nothing and post Chapter Three on Monday (Sunday for people in the USA). I appreciate your understanding, as in the midst of a pandemic, the stress be very real.
When pillars of a community screw up so royally they get featured on PinkNews, we kind of expect a message to come from them directly at some point. Chiga Ogawa finally gave us her message about “the events” that took place on that fateful night when Elin McCready was turned away for “not being feminine enough” to gain entry.
Anyways, Chiga Ogawa’s statement came out. It’s…a good start, but it’s not the best response to give in this kind of situation. You can follow the link for the PDF if you like.
Now, here’s the thing: This apology lacks the impact it wants, because before this Chiga Ogawa talked to Shingetsu News about the events that took place. To be sort-of fair, Chiga Ogawa wasn’t quoted directly (which is some BAD journalism, but that’s a whole other nickpick). Instead her words were paraphrased all to hell, so what she exactly said is lost in this muddled interpretation of what she said, which doesn’t make her look very good in relation to this apology. Chiga Ogawa’s section in the report says:
In her exclusive interview, Ogawa explained that Bar Gold Finger does not have a policy of excluding transgender people. Six nights a week all members of the LGBT community are welcome to patronize the bar, and they have transgender customers.
Moreover, Bar Gold Finger has held specifically transgender-themed events, even in earlier times when the acceptance of LGBT people was not as wide as it is today. Ogawa herself has offered various kinds of personal support to her transgender friends.
The recent notion, therefore, that she is a “TERF” simply doesn’t accord with the decades-long record of Ogawa’s personal behavior and the policies and patronage of Bar Gold Finger.
Just because you have trans events doesn’t mean that you aren’t a TERF. Having a business that allows in a certain set of customers (as in FTM and Cis-gender) means that you’re specifically excluding trans women because YOU DON’T CONSIDER THEM WOMEN. Excluding trans women is the act of a TERF, a very specific minded TERF.
Sidebar: The article tries to make it sound like Elin McCready “started this controversy” but no, she didn’t. Bar Gold Finger staff started this controversy when they decided to be exclusionary. Plus, I’m the one calling Chiga a TERF, not Elin. Just to be clear, Elin has been a ray of sunshine in butterflies. I’m the bitchy one.
Also, where the hell are these trans friends of Chiga’s? Why aren’t they being quoted? Where is the actual evidence that she’s allowing trans gender people into the bar? Pictures, videos, testimonials, hell hit up Google and look at the reviews on the bar or something.
As someone who has been in the various communities getting a shit ton of feedback about the bar from people, I can tell you that I have received a lot of really discouraging comments about other people who have been turned away from Bar Gold Finger.
Before you’re like, “Only three isn’t a ‘shiton,’ idiot!” I chose these three out of the bunch because they were the most anonymous. I don’t want to go around outing friends and community members.
Many other long and heartbreaking stories have made their way into my inbox on Facebook and Twitter. A pattern very easily developed. Trans women were consistently asked for ID, had their attire questioned/analyzed, the way they spoke mocked, consistently asked, “Are you really trans?” in Japanese, and so on. You get the idea.
But don’t worry! Chiga Ogawa has a fantastic explanation for these stories!
Ogawa indicates that McCready was not allowed entry to the Women Only event because she and her staff felt that her presence was likely to be disruptive to other patrons, and that she didn’t have an entirely feminine presence about her in dress and demeanor.
Ogawa also noted that decades of operating a bar in Nichome has taught her to be careful. Not all individuals who are born male and wearing female clothes are genuinely transgender. In her own experience she has seen cases of heterosexual men cruising Nichome in drag with the intention of picking up women, as part of their own sexual fetishes.
Ogawa accepts the principle that transgender women are women. But running a bar in Nichome encompasses practical judgments as well as ideological ones. That means not all patrons will be given a welcome. Sometimes individuals will be turned away if there’s a sense that they may disturb the other patrons. Rightly or wrongly, McCready was judged to fall into this category in the context of the long-established Women Only event.
Still, Ogawa owns up to the fact that putting the “WOMEN (cisgender) ONLY” message on the May event poster was “a big mistake” on her part. It was a ham-handed attempt to settle the controversy which only made things much worse, and didn’t truly reflect her own feelings or the bar’s policies.
The bullshit excuse was underlined and put in bold by me, not the news agency.
As I said previously in my video, using the excuse that you’re equating trans women as drag queens or cross dressers is a flimsy way to hide your transphobia. Harassment is illegal and assault is illegal, period. Also, these supposed “men dressing up as women” might be like me, a genderqueer who identifies as both, or genderfluid, or myriad of other non-binary identities.
We don’t pretend to know for sure, though. We don’t think that this is something that anybody knows. The question, however, is what to do in the absence of knowledge. The sentiment, “better to be safe than sorry!” often surfaces at this point: we’re pretty confident about the relative risks of violence against women from cis men and cis women respectively; trans women are an unknown quantity; so better to play safe.
If, on the other hand, trans women are thought of as a subset within ‘women’ – much like the group ‘white women’, for example – then this just raises the question of why some women’s safety should take precedence over that of others, especially when the risk allegedly posed to cis women by trans women seems to be purely theoretical – not supported by evidence – while the risk to trans women from cis men is beyond doubt. The World Health Organisation’s systematic review of violence motivated by perception of sexual orientation and gender identity in 2017 found that transgender people suffer from a disproportionately high prevalence of physical and sexual violence. Research suggests trans people are more likely than cis people to experience homelessness, and trans women in particular are more likely to engage in sex work – both of which make a person more likely to experience sexual violence.
Excluding trans women from women spaces can kill them, like straight up get them beaten and murdered. Holding this line for who and who doesn’t “pass” in order to get into this bar tells trans women, “We would rather you be out there in danger than safe in here with us. You make us uncomfortable, and we would rather not question our own internal transphobia tonight. Get out and stay out.”
I find it hard to believe that just after doing this interview, Chiga Ogawa has done a complete 180 on her stance. Even though her official statement says trans women will be allowed into women only night, how the hell can I trust that to be true when I’ve got all the evidence pointing to all these past events wherein trans women were kicked out? And then this interview with her giving the standard TERF reasoning for not letting MTF and trans women not into women only spaces?
Now, also like I said in my previous video, I don’t want Gold Finger cancelled. I do want to see real, tangible change occur. I have hope. Even if this apology message has come far too late, and contradicts a news article days before Ogawa’s official apology was released, I do still have some hope.
Personally, I might have felt more at ease if Elin got a name drop in this apology, even if it was just one sentence. It seems like it’s just intended to bring back business, not actually ask for forgiveness. It doesn’t help that the news agency also predominantly displayed the next June Bride event at Gold Finger. This feels more like a business decision, not a sincere attempt to bridge the troubled waters between Gold Finger and the trans community.
No doubt the #BoycottGoldfinger movement that started on Twitter made an impact. I know also that Tokyo Weekender pulled an old article titled “Bar Gold Finger Chiga Ogawa: What Nichome Means to Me” off its website (although the video with Chiga is still up on YouTube). She’s losing her place as a leader in the community, and not without good reason.
Because really, this whole thing isn’t really about her, it’s about the constant stomping on trans women and their right to exist to women only spaces.
The first comment I got on my blog was a transphobic one. I removed it, because screw you whoever you are in Hokkaido. I didn’t want my trans and genderqueer friends to see that shit if they didn’t have to be exposed to it. But I need to make a point, so I’m going to show it and another transphobic comment I got on YouTube.
And also, I was a member of a group on Facebook and this happened (be forewarned, a lot of anti-trans rhetoric).
When transphobia pops up, other transphobes get in on the action. I’ve had people hitting up my Twitter threads and trying to convince me that men sneaking into bathhouses are the same as trans women. TERFs got bold in these past couple of weeks, coming all out of the woodwork to express their stance “with Gold Finger” in “protecting women.”
The consequences I care about aren’t about Gold Finger’s attendance or boycott or whatever. I know for a fact that this fight is about pushing back against TERFs and transphobes who are belligerently ignorant. They don’t want to understand, they just want to hate and hurt trans people.
The apology is out there, but it doesn’t really fix the damage done. There is trust broken and a lot of healing to do. Nichome is supposed to be the place we can go to feel safe, but the safety of trans people should be included in those priorities. I still don’t feel like it is.
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]
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.
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.
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).
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”
Hi, so I’m Bi-sexual. Yep, the rumors were true kids. If some of you asked, I was honest, but I didn’t volunteer that information much. Some of you told me in whispers that you were girls that like girls or boys who liked boys, and I was always supportive of you. However, there were so many of you still in the closet, might still be. This letter is more for you than for the others, but I think both of you could benefit from it.
I wanted to tell you all that I supported you 100% for whatever partner(s) you chose for yourself. The road can be hard and long to finding love, but trying to find love in the conservative inaka where you’re not sure you can be yourself around anyone, that’s a lot harder than the average straight love. I would say to you now to go to LGBT Youth Japan to connect with people like yourself online, so you know for a fact you’re not alone in your struggles.
You deserve to be treated equally and fairly. I would be an idiot to think none of you were bullied for it when I wasn’t looking. No one should bear the burden of senseless hatred and malice. If you were bullied or cast out for being yourself, I’m so sorry. It’s not your fault. You’re worthy of love and acceptance, let no one else make you think otherwise.
On that scary note, I do want to encourage you to try to come out to people you trust. It’s better for friends to know who you really are, because only true friends will love you for all that you are. I told some of my friends in Ibaraki, and of course some understood and some didn’t. Most of those friends, though, tried to pretend I was just kidding or didn’t know what I was saying. But there was a solid mix of Japanese and international friends who accepted me, and I chose them over the others as my other family.
Find the people who will accept you, not tolerate or begrudgingly “put up” with your queerness, but celebrate it as a part of you. Life is too short to waste it trying to make narrow minded people happy. You shouldn’t have to drain your emotional energy on people who will never see you as the wonderful person you are. Instead, find the ones who are open minded, who will boost you up and lift your spirits when you feel down. It’s the most important thing to me, that you are happy and with people who make you happy.
There are actually several different groups you can find online if you don’t feel comfortable coming out just yet. Nijiro Gakkou (NPO法人にじいろ学校) is another organization more focused for students in general. If you are all in university by this point, that would be a better group for you. If you would like to join a more international crowd, there is Stonewall Japan which is the organization I’m currently affiliated with as it is the most English friendly. There is also a queer friendly media news outlet called Out In Japan if you want to find good articles to help you with your journey of self discovery.
In hindsight, I wonder if I should’ve been more open for all of you. Maybe I should’ve worn more rainbow ribbons? Maybe I should’ve pushed for more posters or materials of acceptance around the schools? I wonder these things because I know for a fact that there were more of you than I knew. So many of you were in the closet, hiding who you were, bidding your time until university when you could be yourselves.
But also looking back, I know that in telling those other students and my few co-workers probably meant that everyone knew. I mean, if everyone knew I was going to the grocery store on Saturdays, it’s ridiculous to think information like my sexuality somehow didn’t spread like wildfire. I hope at the very least I wasn’t a disappointing role model for being queer, somehow.
It also soothes my soul that I know I was donating, volunteering, and doing things for the community whenever I had time. If you’re ever at the Tokyo Rainbow Pride events, you’ll find me there until I leave the country. I will always be a body there to count among the thousands in support of LGBTQIA+ equal rights. I’ll always march for it, for you, in the hopes that one day you’ll get those rights.
With each passing year LGBTQIA+ rights are improving, slowly but surely. Same sex marriages still aren’t legal, but Shibuya and Osaka are allowing for certificates. It gives me hope for the future, for those of you who would want to have a wife or husband who is the same gender as you, or a transperson, or intersex, just so long as you’re both consenting adults. Everyone deserves the equal right to marry the person they love.
I hope you will have that happiness, you deserve it.
As you are probably all well aware, I’m very much interested in LGBTQ rights, and as such I’m a part of the drag community in Tokyo. I’ve just recently been promoted from “that girl hanging out and doing stuff backstage all the time” to official position of Production Manager. Moral of the story kids, do enough free work for your friends and you’ll get a job (volunteer work of course).
Kara, the creator of the YouTube channel “Wherever With You,” decided to come to Tokyo Closet Ball to interview people about their performances. I ended up getting interviewed as well!
If you like it, give it a thumbs up, and go subscribe to Kara on YouTube. Her videos are fantastic!