Drag queen and activist Madame Bonjour JohnJ has an important weekend ahead of them. They’re one of the main coordinators of a float aimed at fighting the social stigma and lack of education surrounding HIV and AIDS, and that float will be a part of a parade on Sunday that marks the triumphant post-pandemic return of Tokyo Rainbow Pride.

“The message of #UpdateHIV is, ‘Let’s work together to end the AIDS epidemic. Reduce discrimination to zero, AIDS diagnoses to zero, new infections to zero,’” says JohnJ, 59, who publicly goes by their drag moniker and uses they/them pronouns. “Now, I’m working with designers to visualize the float’s main theme, make flags and placards, and choose who will ride it. We’ll set it all up and decorate it the day before the parade. For the first time, we’re having HIV-positive members walk in the front row, carrying a ‘We Are Positive’ flag. I am deeply moved by our mission.”

Tokyo’s annual Rainbow Pride — one of the largest LGBTQ pride festivals in Asia — is bouncing back in full following a three-year hiatus brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year saw a somewhat muted return to an in-person celebration, with a cap on the number of participants and, of course, international borders closed. This year, with Japan’s borders reopened and over 1.5 million tourists flooding in from overseas, organizers are expecting a larger Pride festival than ever before.