Naha city makes LGBT City Support Declaration

Naha city makes LGBT City Support Declaration

Naha City Mayor Mikiko Shiroma (center) reading out the "Rainbow Naha Declaration" at the Tenbusu Square in Makishi, Naha on July 19.

July 20, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo

Pink Dot Okinawa, an event promoting a society more accepting of sexual minorities, also known as LGBT, was held at the Tenbusu Square in Makishi, Naha on July 19. For the event, Naha City Government made a “Rainbow Naha Declaration,” which set out the city’s aims to publicly promote itself as a prefectural capital that actively supports LGBT diversity and awareness about LGBT issues. Naha has become the second administrative region in Japan to declare support for the LGBT community, following Yodogawa District in Osaka. Naha City Mayor Mikiko Shiroma declared, “Naha City Government will work with citizens to remove discrimination and prejudice against gender minorities and homosexuals, and aim to make an environment where everyone can live safely.”

With Shiroma’s declaration, the Naha city emblem was displayed on a big screen in pink with a rainbow flag. Co-representatives of Pink Dot Okinawa executive committee Hideki Sunagawa and Yuka Miyagi presented Shiroma with a rainbow flag, which is a symbol of LGBT pride and the LGBT social movement.

The city set up a Women’s Department in the late 1980s and has been making policies to create an environment where everyone can express their individuality and achieve their goals regardless of gender. Since 1997, the Naha City Women’s Center regularly held courses related LGBT. Support for the LGBT movement gathered momentum within the city government, which led to the Rainbow Naha declaration.

From the next fiscal year, the city will open a counseling corner for LGBT people. The city officials will discuss whether the new counseling corner will be exclusive or opened within existing counseling services. Counselors with LGBT knowledge will be available to support LGBT clients. The city government will also hold workshops for city officers.

At Pick Dot events, LGBT people and their supporters wear pink colored outfits or carry pink colored accessories to promote creating a society that recognizes sexual diversity. The events started in Singapore in 2009 and have spread to various parts of the world. The Pink Dot Okinawa events have been held three times since 2013. The Pink Dot Okinawa executive committee organized this year’s event, which was co-hosted by the Naha City Government. According to the organizers, about 1,100LGBT people and their supporters took part. Miyagi delivered a speech at the opening ceremony, stating smilingly; “A pink seed which was planted three years ago, has begun to sprout and the flowers will come out. I would like to share my joy with other people.”

(English translation by T&CT)

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