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Japan passes legislation to promote tolerance and understanding of LGBT+ people

Japanese LGBT+ activists capitalized on the global focus of the 2021 Olympics, making significant strides in securing legal protections for LGBT+ people.

As Japan prepared to host the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in July 2021, there was growing international concern over the nation's lack of national legislation safeguarding LGBT+ people against discrimination.

The Olympic Charter explicitly prohibits “discrimination of any kind,” including sexual orientation. However, in the absence of such legislation, LGBT+ athletes, officials, fans, and visitors were at potential risk of encountering discrimination during the Olympics.

In light of this, All Out, in collaboration with Human Rights Watch, Athlete Ally, and the Japan Alliance for LGBT Legislation (J-ALL), seized this opportunity to pressure the Japanese government into passing the #EqualityAct – a national anti-discrimination bill aimed at ensuring equal rights and protections for LGBT+ individuals.

Together, we delivered 106,250 signatures, including over 62,000 from All Out members, to the Japanese Diet (the national legislature of Japan) and the Olympics Commission.

Unfortunately, the proposed bill to protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity was not approved in 2021.

But our partners in Japan did not give up. They channelled the international solidarity and global LGBT+ community to fight for their rights. And it worked!

In June 2023, the Japanese Diet finally passed the first-ever law to promote the understanding of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The law states that “all citizens, irrespective of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity, are to be respected as individuals with inherent and inviolable fundamental human rights.” It also mandates the Japanese government to develop a comprehensive plan aimed at promoting understanding of LGBT+ individuals and protecting them from “unfair discrimination.”

This progress would not have been possible without the unyielding support of over 100 organizations and the countless individuals who rallied behind the #EqualityActJapan campaign.

Do you also want to make a difference? Create your own petition in defence of LGBT+ rights!