Pride House Tokyo Legacy will open on National Coming Out Day, 11 October, as Japan’s first LGBTQ+ centre.

Setting up in Tokyo’s Shinjuku ward, Japan’s new information centre will be dedicated to raising awareness of community issues and will host a range of events and produce content in an effort to support LGBTQ+ rights.

Pride House Tokyo will be a gigantic first step in creating a progressive LGBTQ+ space, ahead of the Olympic Games in 2021.

This effort will bring together 35 NPOs and activists, 14 corporations, and 19 embassies to “secure a place to broadcast information on and by the LGBTQ community”.

The centre was expected to open a year after the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games, but due to the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on queer communities, the project was launched earlier.

Following Pride House’s LGBTQ Youth TODAY survey, data revealed a need for “people to come together regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity”, which was stressed to be particularly necessary as many “look to live with the pandemic in the mid to long term”.

Currently, Japanese LGBTQ+ spaces are incredibly rare, although 8.9% of Japanese people aged between 20 to 59 identify as “LGBT”, according to a Dentsu poll.

The survey also highlighted that 78.4% of people (in the same age bracket) approve of same-sex marriage.

These stats are promising, but same-sex marriage is still illegal in Japan. In some cities, same-sex partnerships are issued, but they are not legally supported.

With the Pride House Tokyo Legacy project becoming the first permanent LGBTQ+ centre established in Japan, we hope this educational centre will be the first of many.