TOKYO -- LGBTQ rights activists and supporters protested in front of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)'s headquarters on July 4 after an intra-party panel meeting circulated a booklet claiming that "homosexuality is a mental disease or addiction."
The rally held in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward was organized by volunteers in the LGBTQ community and allies. Participants took turns speaking with a microphone against discrimination, while others formed a long line on the sidewalk holding rainbow flags and signs protesting the booklet.
The booklet was distributed during a June 13 meeting of the LDP Diet members panel of the Shinto political league held in the capital. It included the text of a university professor's lecture titled "Understanding the truth of homosexuality and same-sex marriage."
The text was packed with false information, including "homosexuality is a mental disease or addiction," and, "It's not the case that high suicide rates among LGBT people can be attributed to discrimination within society." It also read, "We should not legitimatize the sexual lifestyles of sexual minorities as it will become a social problem which will destroy families and society."
LGBTQ activist and protest organizer Andromeda, 27, told the media, "During my junior and senior high school years, I believed there was something wrong with me for being gay, but it's dangerous to send out those kinds of (discriminatory) messages today, and I thought it should never be tolerated."
Gay activist Soshi Matsuoka, who first reported the booklet, told the protest audience, "How long do we have to be discriminated against based on such an illogical argument? All we're asking is to stop this discrimination and protect our human rights. That's all."
The Shinto political league is affiliated with the Association of Shinto Shrines, a religious corporation overseeing shrines in Japan. The league's Diet members panel is made up of lawmakers supporting the group's ideology.
(Japanese original by Miyuki Fujisawa, Digital News Center)