THE GREAT UNKNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN GREAT: Prewar attitudes toward queer sexuality in Japanese-language press

This is the 16th year that I have had the pleasure of presenting my annual queer history column. I want to start today’s installment by acknowledging the 2020 online J-Sei exhibit “Seen & Unseen: Queering Japanese American History Before 1945,” co-curated by Nichi Bei Weekly columnist Amy Sueyoshi and Stan Yogi. It was a landmark […]

Court says ban on same-sex marriage constitutional

TOKYO — A Japanese court ruled June 20 that the country’s ban on same-sex marriage does not violate the constitution, and rejected demands for compensation by three couples who said their right to free union and equality has been violated. The Osaka District Court ruling is the second decision on the issue, and disagrees with […]

Exhibit promotes ‘accepting’ Queer Nikkei in S.F.’s JA community

In December 2021, Elena Nielsen, a Japanese American Citizens League San Francisco chapter board member and Japantown Rainbow Coalition member, approached Tomo Hirai to help solicit support for the JACL’s LGBTQ Pride flag raising project. It will celebrate Pride next month in San Francisco Japantown’s Peace Plaza. In asking for support from the National Japanese […]

Tokyo same-sex partnership plans highlight road ahead for LGBTQ rights

TOKYO — Many welcomed Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike’s recent announcement that a same-sex partnership system would be introduced for all of Tokyo in fiscal 2022. But some LGBTQ activists have pointed out that much more work needs to be done to reach true equality in Japan. Currently, 12 of the 62 municipalities in Tokyo have […]

Creating Space For Queer Nikkei: Okaeri holds online conference to educate and form community

Delayed by about a year, and held wholly online, Okaeri Los Angeles held its fourth conference to connect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Nikkei and their allies from across the country. The two-day conference, held over Zoom meetings, featured presentations on mental health, the state of the campaign for marriage equality in Japan, and […]

Janice Mirikitani, poet, Glide Memorial Church leader, dies

SAN FRANCISCO — Janice Mirikitani, a beloved San Francisco poet laureate who together with her husband ran the city’s Glide Memorial Church, which caters to the poor and homeless, has died. She was 80. Mirikitani died suddenly July 29, the church confirmed in a message to supporters who were scheduled to attend a virtual justice […]

Report: Hate crime laws lack uniformity across the U.S.

NEW YORK — More than half a century since they were modernized, hate crime laws in the U.S. are inconsistent and provide incomplete methods for addressing bias-motivated violence, according to a new report by advocates for better protections. The report, first shared with The Associated Press ahead of its July 28 release, is a comprehensive […]

Japan court says same-sex marriage should be allowed

TOKYO — A Japanese court for the first time ruled March 17 that same-sex marriage should be allowed under the country’s constitution, a moral victory that does not have any immediate legal consequence but could bolster efforts for legalization. The Sapporo District Court said sexuality, like race and gender, is not a matter of individual […]

5 Queer Nikkei ancestors everyone should know about

As we uplift the achievements and ongoing struggles of LGBTQ communities this Pride season — which, friendly reminder, exists because Black trans women rioted against police violence — we want to highlight the stories of the queer ancestors within our own Japanese American community. Despite the often deliberate erasure of their contributions to our history, […]

L.A. ministers criticize anti-gay policy of United Methodist Churches

LOS ANGELES — Disturbed by the United Methodist Church’s continuing anti-gay stance, Revs. Mark Nakagawa and Sunyoung Lee, two local ministers with connections to Little Tokyo’s Centenary United Methodist Church, publicly criticized that decision and declared their continued support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer persons. The controversy followed the United Methodist Church’s Special […]

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