Gay pride march kicks off first ‘Tokyo Rainbow Week’

AFP-JIJI

Thousands of people joined a parade Sunday to kick off “Tokyo Rainbow Week,” a series of events aimed at supporting sexual minorities.

Organizers said about 12,000 people took part in the inaugural parade, which has been held for several years around the Harajuku district as a gay pride event. The week of special events runs until May 6.

“This is our first attempt to link up with many groups” of sexual minorities, said one of the organizers, Hiroko Masuhara, 35. “The parade is a symbolic event in the Tokyo Rainbow Week program.”

Masuhara, who “married” her partner at Tokyo Disney Resort last month, said support for gay rights is rising in Japan.

“We have the impression that we are seeing more women and various nationalities of people participating in our parade in recent years,” she said.

Gay marriage has no legal standing in Japan but is gradually gaining legitimacy elsewhere.