LGBT children are unfortunately a high-risk group for suicide or suicide attempts in Japan.
”The fundamental principles of comprehensive policy for suicide “, approved by the Japanese cabinet on August 28, 2012, specifies that LGBT people, which comprises 7.6% of the population, belong to the high-risk group. Nearly 58.6% of them have considered committing suicide, and the frequency of this consideration is particularly high adolescents as a student at junior high schools. In addition, nearly 68% of LGBT children have experienced bullying and violence at schools, and around 29% of transgender students went through refusal to attend school. In terms of guaranteeing the education for every child too, it is crucial to create schools where LGBT students can participate safely.
On April 30, 2015, the Japanese Ministry of Education issued the note “About the enforcement of careful correspondence to students with gender identity disorders”, stating the necessity to support students of sexual minority at schools, including those with Gender Identity Disorders, and to improve the understanding of the school staff and students about the issues involved. However, the revised edition of the government curriculum guidelines in 2017 did not include any word about LGBT.
As the Olympic Charter incorporated phrases to prohibit discrimination of sexual orientation, the attention to LGBT issues is growing in Japan in time for the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020. Local governments are working to establish ordinances for LGBT, companies are increasingly engaged in LGBT activities, and it is estimated that more than 120,000 people will take part in the pride parade in Tokyo. Such attention is sometimes ridiculed as an “LGBT fad”, but we cannot treat the protection of the lives of children as a mere “boom”.
To build the society where all children including LGBT children can grow up as they are, the engagement with the issue must continue in the field of education.
By Mika Yakushi (The NPO Corporation ReBit)
*The text originally appeared in Multiple Spirits vol.1. Courtesy of the author.