Compared to your home country, you may find that sexuality and LGBTQ issues are brought up much less in Japan. Because of this, some people who identify as LGBTQ may feel as though they do not have much of a support system in Japan. But the truth is, coming out here is not much different from coming out in your home country. Think about it, and if you feel comfortable coming out to certain people, then by all means, do so! Coming out will always be your own decision. Below are some support networks within the JET and Japanese communities.
- A community of LGBTQ and ally JETs. They have discussion forums and information on LGBTQ communities in cities around the country.
- Japan: http://stonewalljapan.org/
- For those who identify as transgender, Stonewall Japan has some very useful information here. http://stonewalljapan.org/resources/transgender-life/
- Hokoishi Clinic in Matsuyama provides hormone therapy in conjunction with the Okayama University Hospital’s Gender Center.
An active and well-regarded LGBT organization in Ehime. They have outreach programs to schools across Ehime and lots of useful links on their website (Japanese). They also have a LGBT Center called Nijikara Space in Matsuyama: http://rainbowpride-ehime.org/Site/nizikara.html
National AJET`s Life as a Queer JET (link currently broken)
LGBTQ Scene in Ehime
Much of the LGBTQ scene in Ehmie is centred around Matsuyama and tends to be small bars as opposed to the dance clubs you might expect. Generally bars are not mixed, and often will say “members only” where being a member is simply being of that sexuality. Matsuyama, like much of the LGBTQ, is male focused.
- Seek – Men only, staff speak a little English. Karaoke ok. Crowd mostly mid-20s.
- Happy Dragon – Bear Bar, men only. No English. The master is an excellent source of LGBTQ info in Ehime.
- Flock Cafe – Mixed, younger crowd. No English.