A circle of friends connected by a goofy touch! The “FIST BUMP” corner of the radio program “GRAND MARQUEE” features a relay of people who live and enjoy Tokyo, and on April 10, Fumino Sugiyama, co-chairman of the non-profit organization Tokyo Rainbow Pride, will appear. He is also a board member of the Japan Fencing Association and the JOC, was involved in the establishment of Japan’s first same-sex partnership system in Shibuya, and is currently struggling to raise his children as a father.
Until things change, we will keep going” – Progress to “Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2023
Takano (MC): Tokyo Rainbow Pride will be held on April 22 this year, but may I ask you again about the reason why you started this event?
Sugiyama: The Pride Parade is a movement started in the U.S. in 1970 to encourage people to live with pride and not be ashamed of their sexuality, and it is now being held all over the world. In Japan, the first Pride Parade was held in 1994, and since then, some years we have been able to hold the event, while other years we have not been able to. Tokyo Rainbow Pride, a voluntary organization, was established to make it possible to hold such an event on an ongoing basis, and it has been held every year since 2012.
Takano: It has been about 10 years since we started.
Sugiyama: That’s right. This year is the 12th time. Next year will be the 30th anniversary of the parade in Japan.
Celeina (MC): I’m looking forward to it. It has been 10 years since the 2012 event. Have you noticed any changes in the awareness or thoughts of the participants in Japan over the past 10 years?
Sugiyama: Well, 10 years ago, the term “LGBT” was barely recognized at all, so from that point of view, I think it has become common knowledge. However, although awareness of the term has increased, I feel that there are still many people who don’t feel familiar with the term or think it has nothing to do with them. For example, they say that all people are equal, but there are people who can marry and people who cannot. Such things do not change the lives of the people concerned, so although awareness has changed a lot, I think it has not reached the point of changing the rules.
Celeina: We all need to raise our voices.
Takano: I know you will have a chance to talk with the participants here, but do you have any memorable words that you would like to share with us?
Sugiyama: What impresses me the most is that everyone says “it’s fun.” There are people who say that they are not involved in the event, but they really enjoyed it and learned a lot of things. Some people wonder if they can go alone, or what if it is revealed that they are a party to the disease, but many say that it is fun and they are very happy to know that they are not alone.
Recently, we have been seeing a lot of families, and some LGBTQ people bring their children. Some of them are “allies,” people who are not involved in the LGBTQ community, but are actively supporting it.
Takano: Of course it is educational, but I like that the entrance is fun.
Celeina: What do you have in mind for this year’s Tokyo Rainbow Pride in 2023?
Sugiyama: The theme of this year’s event is “Keep going until we change” and will be held in Yoyogi Park on April 22-23. There will be over 200 booths at the Yoyogi Park venue, including individuals and organizations working to raise LGBTQ awareness, as well as companies offering their support. We are also holding the event as a real festival, with food and beverage booths. On stage this time, Kenichi Mikawa will be there to support us, as well as Tokyo Gegegay and Miracle Hikaru. ……
Celeina: Aisho Nakajima, who will be performing, is a friend of mine.
Sugiyama: I see! I haven’t met her yet, so I’m really looking forward to this event.
Celeina: I’ve never met her yet, so I’m really looking forward to this show. I’m sure it will be great.
Sugiyama: I am looking forward to it. The parade itself will be held on the 23rd, so I hope you will come and join us. The parade will start from Zelkova Avenue in Yoyogi Park. There will be a “float car” at the front of the parade, so please choose one that matches your theme from the various themes and walk along.
Raising a child in a three-parent style with two fathers and one mother
Takano: And Mr. Sugiyama, you are currently struggling to raise your children, and you are planning to publish a book about your struggles in 2020.
Sugiyama: Yes, I am. It’s called “Former High School Girl Becomes a Dad”. I may look like an old man now, but I used to be a high school girl. I am transgender, but I received a sperm donation from a gay friend. My partner conceived and gave birth through IVF and our children are now 2 and 4 years old.
Celeina: They are so cute!
Sugiyama: They are cute, but it’s very chaotic (haha).
Takano: Chaotic (haha). Is it really hard work?
Sugiyama: Yes, it is. I wonder how people in the world manage to raise children while working. But I have a problem if there is no equality in the home, even though I talk so much about equality outside the home. I can’t force it on my girlfriend. We enjoy raising our children together.
Takano: Did you have any interesting experiences in child-rearing?
Sugiyama: We have a gay friend named Gon-chan who is a sperm donor, and we decided to be involved with him as parents, not just as a donor. We don’t live together, but we see him regularly, and we also share the child-support expenses. So, we have a three-parent style with two dads and a mom.
Celeina: That’s wonderful.
Sugiyama: When you have three parents, you have six grandparents. It’s a great scream (haha).
Takano: It’s a big family (haha). This is “Former High School Girl Becomes a Dad” published by Bungeishunju, so if you are interested, please check it out.
Celeina: Yes, I am. I know that you have been thinking about LGBTQ issues based on your own activities, including Tokyo Rainbow Pride, but what kind of activities do you have planned for the future?
Sugiyama: First and foremost, I wish for a society where people do not have to be active. For example, if I said, “I’m having a baby,” there would be a flood of press coverage. It is not that I want to be an activist, but if I say, “Here is what I am,” that would become an activity. In order to create a society where such things do not have to happen, I wonder if we still need to conduct various awareness-raising activities.
I used to be a member of the Japanese national women’s fencing team, and recently I have been thinking that I would like to communicate about sports and diversity from various angles.
Takano: Thank you very much. Now, I would like to play a song. I asked Mr. Sugiyama to choose a song that he would like everyone to listen to together on the radio at this time. What song would it be?
Sugiyama: It is a song called “NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN” by ryuchell, who will be performing on stage at this year’s Tokyo Rainbow Pride.
If you take action, you will surely find various places to be.
Takano: Mr. Sugiyama, were you originally acquainted with ryuchell?
Sugiyama:I’ve had the pleasure of working with ryuchell at various events, and we’ve also had dinner together in private. ryuchell is really trying to be himself, and lately, he’ve been communicating in his own way.
Takano: I think there are many people who feel a sense of discomfort in their current place or are searching for their own identity in April. If you have any message for such listeners, Mr. Sugiyama, please let us know.
Sugiyama: If you are in the neighborhood, I would like you to visit the parade. In this day and age, you can get all kinds of information with just a smartphone, but I think it is precisely because we live in such an age that you should go somewhere on your own, and by taking action, you can experience the many different places you can be.
Takano: I see. You mentioned that it is fun. I think that is the reason why people are more likely to participate and discover various things. It’s great to hear that you think it’s fun, and it makes us happy as an organizer.
Sugiyama: That’s right. Our keywords are “be yourself, have fun, and be proud,” so we want to be “be yourself, have fun, and be proud” this year as well.
Celeina: Yes. Tokyo Rainbow Pride will be held from April 22 this year. Now, “FIST BUMP” is a circle of friends connected by “Goo Touch,” and we are asking you to introduce your friends to us.
Sugiyama: This is a dancer named Tsuki Takamura. I just recently got acquainted with him, but when I met him at an event, he gave a really great performance and I instantly became a fan. I would like to ask Mr. Moon to appear in this program.
Takano: In a word, how would you describe Mr. Takamura?
Sugiyama: If I had to describe him in one word, I would say that he is “a performer that cannot be described in one word”.
Celeina: I am looking forward to it.
Takano: Tomorrow, I will connect you to dancer Tsuki Takamura.
Celeina: Today’s “FIST BUMP” guest is Fumino Sugiyama, co-chairman of the NPO Tokyo Rainbow Pride.
Sugiyama: Thank you very much.
J-WAVE (81.3FM) Mon-Thu 16:00 – 18:50
Navigator: Shinya Takano, Celeina Ann