But like how?

Currently, there is no nation-wide law protecting Japan’s LGBT community from discrimination. Laws protecting LGBT individuals are dependent on the city and prefecture, some which have acknowledged same-sex partnerships or even passed laws against outing closeted individuals.

However, recently the re-examination of the lack of such legislation has resurfaced when a Tokyo assemblyman claimed that providing legal protection to LGBT individuals would have negative consequences on his district.

▼ And here we go again…

78-year-old Masateru Shiraishi, one of the assemblymen representing Tokyo’s northwestern Adachi district, has come under fire for this following statement:

“If we are to talk about protecting the lesbians and gays by law, then my district will ultimately face ruin.”

The motivation behind his comment comes from his irrational, bigoted fear that, in his own words, “If all Japanese people were lesbian and gay, then the next generation would not be born.” It’s an absurd, small-minded reasoning, to say the least.

Masateru’s fellow assembly members from Adachi district did not take kindly to his comments. In fact, the assembly leader, Akira Shikahama, delivered a stern warning to Masateru, asking him to apologize for his comments. However, instead of apologizing for his previous statement when confronted, Masateru opted to make his hurtful remark into an even bigger storm of trouble by doubling down.

He followed up with a quip:

“Even if I make someone uncomfortable, so what?”

▼ I mean, if you want to lose your next election that badly, keep going.

Most Japanese netizens were in agreement with assembly leader Akira and in opposition of Masateru’s conduct:

“If you make someone else feel uncomfortable, isn’t it only natural that you apologize?”

“Hey fellow gay folks, let’s not live there, cool?”

“If more assemblymen like this are elected, then of course the districts themselves are gonna fall to ruin.”

“I mean, isn’t it better that an elderly assemblymen is saying this? No one in the younger generations are really saying this are and that’s what counts most.”

However, several days after the tussle between Masateru and his fellow assembly members, an apology was posted on the Adachi City Assembly website:

“We, as the assembly members representing Adachi district, formally apologize for the inappropriate comments our colleague, Masateru Shiraishi, made during an assembly session on September 25. We will continue to further our efforts to create a district that supports and upholds the human rights of all our community members.”

▼ To be honest, we weren’t expecting an apology at all, but hey, good for them.

Whether or not Masateru was included in the apology-making is unknown, but it’s a relief to see that the assembly members took a formal, collective stand against his hurtful comments.

Hopefully, these same assembly members not only talk the talk, but also walk the walk and support efforts to provide legal protection to the LGBT community in the future, especially in an era where several companies have already made the shift to using gender-inclusive language as well as supporting their LGBT employees.

Source: Mainichi Shimbun via Hachima Kiko, Ashahi Shimbun
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert images: Pakutaso (1, 2, 3)
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