Mie has become the second prefecture in Japan to ban the outing of LGBT+ people without their permission under a new anti-discrimination law.
On Wednesday, June 3, Governor of Mie prefecture, Eikei Suzuki, announced new legislation which will prohibit third parties from revealing a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The new law will also ban individuals from coercing a member of the LGBT+ community to publicly reveal this information themselves.
Speaking on the impact of outing a person, Suzuki identified how this act “can destabilize family and working relationships and drive people into isolation by disrupting their friendships and contact with other people. We need to do more to create a society that cares for each other.”
As part of a wider anti-discrimination law introduced in Mie prefecture of Japan, the latest ban received widespread support from the public. Japan Today reported one person stated online, “This country should work for a future where any love is recognized.”
Penalties have yet to be settled upon by legislators. However, it has been expected that these measures will be drafted after a conference of experts deliberate on the matter.
In April 2018, the city of Kunitachi was the first prefecture to introduce a similar ban on outing LGBT+ people. A lawyer in the Tokyo office of the Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer law firm and a member of the Lawyers for LGBT Alliance Network.Alexander Dmitrenko, told South China Morning Post, “Japan is still lagging behind most of its Western peers in basic LGBT+ education. There are also no LGBT+ community centres, the types we are used to seeing in major Western cities. Therefore, Japanese LGBT+ individuals can struggle with coming out alone.”
The recent anti-discrimination law follows a rise in attacks on LGBT+ people living in South Korea. Following a spike in COVID-19 cases, media targeted the queer community and in some cases, outed members to the public.
A non-binary individual from a rural town in South Korea shared how COVID-19 has sparked a rise in anti-LGBT+ rhetoric, “These days, I feel more isolated and I’m afraid about my relationships with other people because they are shifting their anger about new coronavirus outbreaks onto sexual minorities.”
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