More of 160 openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer athletes will participate in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, which makes this year’s Games the most inclusive of all time.
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This highlighted Japan, which activists say is out of step with much of the rest of the world and has not yet undergone the same social changes that have made same-sex marriage and more inclusion a reality in other countries.
While Japan is known for its strong democracy and civil society, human rights activists say it is far from solving the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) issues.
The Olympic charter prohibits discrimination, and while Tokyo passed an anti-discrimination law three years ago, it doesn’t have the same legal protection for the rest of the country.
Activists hope to use the Games as an opportunity to raise the issue and garner public support for LGBTQ agendas.
“I think a lot of people think that Japan is a human rights defender, but it’s the opposite, because we don’t have marriage equality, we don’t have laws banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Gon Matsunaka, founder of the first Japan’s LGBTQ center, Pride House.
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