REPORTER: Ayaka Fukuda(16)

*We have omitted honorific titles from your names in this article.

 On October 27, 2023, I attended the 8th Equality Gala at the Tokyo American Club. The event was held by a group called  ”Lawyers for LGBT and Allies Network (LLAN)”.

   LLAN was founded in February 2016 by Naosuke Fujita and Alexander Dmitrenko as co-chairs, and was certified as a non-profit organization by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government in September 2017. LLAN’s website states the organization’s mission as follows.

The purpose of this legal entity shall be, by providing in particular legal assistance to promote the understanding of LGBT and other sexual minorities and to eliminate discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, to contribute to the realization of a fair society where all people may realize their full potential in safety and where due consideration shall be given to individual dignity and diversity.

Lawyers for LGBT & Allies Network

 One of its activities is the Equality Gala, the first of which was held in October 2016, and this will be the 8th event.

The Equality Gala

The Equality Gala was a seated party for LLAN supporting organizations and sponsors, as many as 200 people from a variety of industries, including domestic and international law firms, real estate and software companies, and investment banks. Participants actively interacted with each other, and the room was filled with enthusiasm for people who want to achieve the LLAN’s goal of realizing an “equal and inclusive society for all.

Annual Equality Gala

At the same table where we had our meal, I had a talk with Yukiko Otani, who belongs to Mori Hamada & Matsumoto law firm. Otani lived in England until she was in second grade of junior high school where she saw openly gay and lesbian couples on a daily basis, while she noticed she did not see so many openly gay and lesbian couples in Japan. She said that this experience was one of the reasons she joined the law firm where she now works and became involved in LGBT issues.

 The meeting was closed by Jon Gray, LLAN board member and publicly disclosed as LGBT. Jon Gray’s secretary told me that he and his same-sex partner, whom he met in their college days, registered their marriage in New York last year. He said he would postpone his wedding reception until same-sex marriage is legally recognized in Japan. It was very interesting to hear what Jon Gray says about the current situation in Japan and the U.S for LGBT. I would like to request another interview with Jon Gray.

After attending the event

 The number of countries in the world that recognize same-sex marriage by law or judicial precedents is rapidly increasing, and Japan is now the only country among the seven major G7 countries that does not have a national same-sex marriage or equivalent partnership system in place. I would like to focus on how gender issues will be resolved in the future.

*We have omitted honorific titles from your names in this article.

It was the first time for me to write an article and I did not know how to do it, so it was a big challenge for me. But I was relieved that I managed to finish writing it. Participating in this meeting also reminded me that so many adults are seriously tackling gender issues, and I wanted to devote myself to tackling gender issues.

  I recently finished reading “Seiyoku(正欲)” by Ryo Asai, which was lent to me by a friend. I used to love reading in my childhood, but with the use of electronic devices, the quantity and quality of my reading seems to be inverse proportion to my love of reading. I can’t go back to the way I was before reading “Seiyoku”. Please pick up a copy and take a look.