One Out Of Ten Belong to the LGBT+ Community in Japan

One Out Of Ten Belong to the LGBT+ Community in Japan

An online survey was recently conducted in Japan to check the population of the LGBT+ community. And the results showed that one in every ten people identify as LGBT+ individuals. This includes other sexual minorities too.

This study conducted by the Japan LGBT+ Research Institute Inc., had a poll in April and May. The institute is a Tokyo-based think tank. They specialize in issues related to sexual minorities.
Out of the 4,28,000 Japan individuals aged between 20-69 years of age participated in the survey. Although, among them, only 3,48,000 were valid responses. The responses concluded that around 10 percent identified as LGBT+ or some sexual minority.

How Many of Each?

One, according to the survey, 2.8 percent of them described themselves as bisexual. And around 1.4 percent of people said they were questioning their sexuality. This means that a good number of people identified themselves as asexual and gay as well. And in both cases, it was 0.9 percent.

Japan LGBT Women
Image Courtesy: Nippon

Two, analysing the gender identity, the survey concluded that 2.5 percent as non-binary, 1.8 percent identified as transgender. And 1.2 percent stated that they questioned their gender identity.

Consequently, the result showed that the LGBT+ community is 10 percent of the total population. And in November, the institute that conducted the study suggested: “our society needs to face (the reality) in a sincere manner.”

Are You Here? Can You See Me?

To add to the clarity of understanding the survey, you should know that the words were defined in order to achieve accuracy. So when they said sexual minorities, they defined it to be those who do not identify themselves as heterosexual cisgender. Heterosexuality is the sexual attraction to the opposite sex only. And those whose gender identity corresponds to the sex they were assigned at birth are termed cisgender.

Now that we have that out of the way, let us look at another survey that the think tank conducted. This time it was on 2,578 people. And the result of that survey showed that the presence of the sexual minority was not well-recognised.


Where are all the LGBT+ individuals?

The survey shows that around 83.9 percent say they “were not aware of any LGBT people around them.” And that is a bit of a shocker is. But it can be tracked to the 78 percent of the LGBT+ individuals or sexual minorities who have not come out. They haven’t told anyone about their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Japan Pride March
Image Courtesy: Metropolis Magazine

Coming out to family, peers, at work, or school and not be judged for it? Now that is a privilege only for a few LGBT+ individuals. Coming out demands to take a serious look at the probable repercussions. And therefore there is a constant risk of ostracisation and outcasting by their own family and friends. While workplace or schools is a whole other game.

Would You Come Out?

According to the survey, 25 percent of the participants said they would come out. But only if it would not affect their daily life and work. And strangely 40 percent of them said they would not come out even if there was no harm.

Approximately half of the LGBT+ and sexual minority respondents think the central and prefectural governments, as well as local companies, and municipal set-ups have to make better efforts. This refers to the efforts to create a wholesome, inclusive, discrimination-free environment.

We know education plays a big part to improve conditions for the LGBT+ community and sexual minority. So, educating people at workplaces, educational institutes and other public spaces of interaction can help create a more inclusive atmosphere. Among the respondents, only 12 percent said that they had programs at their schools or companies. But it is a win considering it was low as 4.4 percent in 2016.

Why Sexual Minority?

Why did the survey had to use the term “Sexual Minority”? The survey in itself has an answer to that. This is because many people are familiar with the acronym “LGBT+”, they barely know who belong to the category. And the survey has statistics to reflect just that

According to the survey’s results stated by Japan Times, “91.0 percent were familiar with the term, while only 57.1 correctly understood its meaning.” Which can be considered serious progress in comparison to 2016.

LGBT in Japan with Flags
Image Courtesy: LGBT Token

Progress? Maybe.

Only 54.4 percent were familiar with the term “LGBT+” and 32.7 percent understood what it meant. This was back in 2016. Japan LGBT Research Institute says this means measures to improve the understanding of the LGBT community should be taken.

Japan like most other developing countries is struggling to create inclusive, diversity-promoting, and non-discriminatory atmosphere and environment. Yet, the country has the potential to create a safe haven for LGBT+ individuals where their sexuality does not affect societal perception. And it’s not the only reason. Even the disparity between familiarity and complete understanding of the “LGBT” term shows that there is a lack of awareness and education.

Since Japan is one of the most fastest-growing nations in the world, it should be able to capture the progressive changes quicker. But the country has its own rich culture and societal discipline that pushes them into certain restrictions. And sadly, within the country itself, people are unable to progress towards a pro-LGBT+ scenario, maybe because of the stigma and ostracisation.



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