Global Equality Caucus members meet in Tokyo to discuss LGBT+ priorities for Asia-Pacific region

 
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Global Equality Caucus members meet in Tokyo to discuss LGBT+ priorities for Asia-Pacific region

Members of the Global Equality Caucus held a series of meetings in Tokyo last week (19-20 September 2019) with politicians from the Asia-Pacific region to highlight priorities for LGBT+ rights campaigns in their countries.

In collaboration with the multinational law firm Freshfields and the Lawyers for LGBT & Allies Network (LLAN), parliamentarians from the Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, New Zealand and the UK addressed the fourth annual LLAN Equality Gala to share their experiences campaigning for improved equality laws.

Members of the Global Equality Caucus at the LLAN Equality Gala, hosted at the Capitol Hotel Tokyu.  © Global Equality Caucus

Members of the Global Equality Caucus at the LLAN Equality Gala, hosted at the Capitol Hotel Tokyu. © Global Equality Caucus

Guests at the Equality Gala heard from Louisa Wall MP (New Zealand), Mei-Nu Yu (Taiwan) and Caucus Chair Nick Herbert MP (UK), who were all leading voices in campaigns for marriage equality in their respective countries; Risa Hontiveros, who has pushed for sexual orientation and gender identity anti-discrimination laws in the Philippines; and Ray Chan, Hong Kong’s first openly gay legislator. Guests also heard from the two openly-LGBT parliamentarians currently serving in the Japanese Diet, Taiga Ishikawa and Kanako Otsuji, who have been vocal advocates for the introduction of improved equality laws in Japan.

The gala was also addressed by the UK Government Trade Secretary Liz Truss MP. In her first international engagement as the United Kingdom’s new Minister for Women & Equalities, the Minister reaffirmed the UK’s commitment to LGBT+ equality and the importance of international human rights. The UK Government, in its capacity as co-chair of the Equal Rights Coalition, is coordinating with the Global Equality Caucus to host an international LGBT+ conference next year.

Japanese politician Taiga Ishikawa addresses the LLAN Equality Gala.  © Global Equality Caucus

Japanese politician Taiga Ishikawa addresses the LLAN Equality Gala. © Global Equality Caucus

UK Minister for Women & Equalities Liz Truss MP addresses the LLAN Equality Gala.  © Global Equality Caucus

UK Minister for Women & Equalities Liz Truss MP addresses the LLAN Equality Gala. © Global Equality Caucus

Caucus members then attended a dialogue with LLAN board members to discuss the challenges and opportunities across the region, including the push for employment protections and other legal rights for same-sex couples in Japan and legislative efforts to introduce equality laws in Hong Kong and the Philippines.

The Caucus also facilitated one-to-one dialogue between Taiwanese and Japanese politicians to discuss the legalisation of same-sex marriage. Mei-Nu Yu, a member of the Legislative Yuan who was at the centre of the successful campaign to legalise equal marriage in Taiwan, met with Japanese Diet members Taiga Ishikawa and Kanako Otsuji to share her expertise and experiences of bringing forward marriage equality legislation in her country.

LLAN Dialogue with Global Equality Caucus.  © Global Equality Caucus

LLAN Dialogue with Global Equality Caucus. © Global Equality Caucus

Taiga Ishikawa of Japan (left) meets with Yu Mei-Nu of Taiwan (right).  © Global Equality Caucus

Taiga Ishikawa of Japan (left) meets with Yu Mei-Nu of Taiwan (right). © Global Equality Caucus

Kanako Otsuji of Japan (left) meets with Yu Mei-Nu of Taiwan (right).  © Global Equality Caucus

Kanako Otsuji of Japan (left) meets with Yu Mei-Nu of Taiwan (right). © Global Equality Caucus

Japan remains the only G7 nation not to have legal unions for same-sex couples, despite polls suggesting most Japanese citizens support them. Going forward, the Caucus will continue to support members in the region hoping to introduce same-sex marriage legislation and equality laws in general.

 
Andrew Slinn