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Thousands gather to protest LDP lawmaker's discrimination against sexual minorities

People take to the streets in front of the headquarters of the Liberal Democratic Party, in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward, on July 27, 2018, protesting the discriminatory remarks of lawmaker Mio Sugita toward sexual minorities. (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- Thousands of people flocked to the headquarters of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to protest LDP legislator Mio Sugita's bigoted remarks about sexual minorities on the evening of July 27.

Participants carrying rainbow flags that represent sexual diversity and others holding placards raised their voices, pleading, "Don't discriminate," and, "We don't need a Diet member who has no regard for human rights," outside of the LDP headquarters in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward. LDP lawmaker Sugita, elected to the House of Representatives in the Chugoku proportional representation bloc, wrote an article in a monthly magazine that sexual minorities "do not bear children, and therefore are not 'productive.'"

The roughly 5,000 people who organizers claim gathered to protest Sugita's claims included people of various sexual orientations and identities as well as their allies, who spoke one after another into a microphone.

"Discriminatory insults are like getting spit in the face," said Minata Hara, who has engaged in support activities for sexual minorities for many years. "I remained silent until now because I thought it would eventually come to an end, but now is the time to speak up and demand an end to this."

Hiroko Masuhara, 40, who identifies as lesbian, stated, "Sugita's article is hate speech, and is truly twisted. I am also disappointed in the LDP's stance of tolerating her remarks."

Mameta Endo, a 31-year-old representative of an organization offering support for young members of the LGBT community lamented, "I feel strong resentment (toward Sugita) knowing that children and young people who identify as sexual minorities are shocked by her article."

(Japanese original by Miyuki Fujisawa, Medical Welfare News Department)

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