LGBT. Perhaps many of you here know what it stands for. It is an abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. I am a bisexual transgender student and I would like to make it clear that sexuality and gender do not always fall into a simple categorization. Thus, I think it is very important that conversations about sexual and gender minorities be more open so as to increase understanding. I personally feel that such conversation is a taboo around me and lack of understanding causes a negative impact to the attitude against sexual and gender minorities from an early age. You can easily find examples of the negative attitude in our everyday life.
For example, when I was in elementary school, I liked a girl so I told her. All her friends who found out that I liked the girl said I was gross and a freak. I was upset to learn homosexuality isn’t acceptable for some people. Also, there is a data from a survey done in 2008 in Japan saying that more than 50% of the gay men who answered said that they were called names when they were in school. So, it is clear that there is a negative attitude towards LGBT people. As I said in the beginning, I believe the way to change this is by talking about it more openly and understanding it. This is because I think it will cause people to think about it more seriously. But how and where should it start? I say schools. I know for a fact that there are clubs and meetings for LGBT people at universities. However, not many non-LGBT people are involved in those groups so it is not an effective way to educate people about LGBT issues. I think it should be talked about from elementary schools onwards because the only way to stop prejudice is to grow up in an educated prejudice free environment. Next, I will talk about how we should be talk about sexuality and gender in the early stage of schooling. I have never heard LGBT people being mentioned during sex education in Japan. It should be taught that sex and gender do not always fall into neat categories. Children should know there are diverse sexual orientations and gender identities and it’s perfectly normal, healthy and fine to be that way. Sex education generally starts at the age of about 7 with the introduction of human birth, and if education about LGBT issues is taught, the views of young children will be more open minded and less prejudiced. Also, the number of bullying incidents against LGBT youth will hopefully decline.
Actually, I have read in the newspaper, The Times, that, in 2009, compulsory sex education will include discussions on gay unions and civil partnerships in the UK. Also, the Spanish Government declared that “diversity education” will be a compulsory part of the school curriculum from 2007. According to LifeSiteNews.com, this education will train children to overcome homophobic prejudice and reject discrimination with regard to gender. These changes have raised a strong opposition because some think that it will promote or “convert” students to LGB or T. I think this opinion is the result of lack of knowledge. If people have the correct information, they will realize that homosexuality and transsexualism is not contagious. Some also say that it goes against their religious beliefs. While I respect others religious beliefs, I strongly think that everyone should have the correct knowledge. Religion shouldn’t be an excuse for being ignorant since there are LGBT people who are religious.
I don’t know the outcome of these movements but I‘m sure this is a firm step to a better world. I hope the changes suggested here will happen in Japan soon.