What does LGBT mean?

 If your body is female, does that make you a ‘woman’?

If you wear a tie, does that make you a ‘man’?

Are women the only ones who are interested in men?

The many different combinations of gender identity and sexual orientation are referred to as ‘sexuality’. Gender  

identity is the gender you express yourself as – not necessarily the same as your biological sex.

Sexual orientation is the sex(es) you are attracted to.

Those whose sexuality differs from most other people are known as sexual minorities.

Awareness of sexual minorities in Japan is increasing and they are often referred to as the LGBT community.

LGBT stands for:


Lesbian – a woman who is sexually/romantically/emotionally attracted to women;

Gay – a man who is sexually/romantically/emotionally attracted to men;

Bisexual – a person who is sexually/romantically/emotionally attracted to both men and women;

Transgender – a person whose gender identity/expression differs from their biological sex.


5.2% of the Japanese population, or 1 in 20 people self-identify as LGBT (Dentsu Research Institute 2012). This means that out of Yodogawa Ward’s 170,000 residents that about 8840 people identify as LGBT. You most likely know an LGBT person (even if you are not aware of it).

Let’s take a moment to think about the LGBT community.




The Diversity of Sexuality


In reality, there are countless forms of sexuality. It is difficult to define a person’s sexuality using questions such as “What kind of person do I want to be?”; “How do I feel different?”; “How do I experience romantic love?”

“We started the Rainbow!” is the slogan of our LGBT movement and the Rainbow Flag is a worldwide symbol that represents the many different types of sexuality.

Sexuality, like the colors of the rainbow, are not cut straight, but blur into one another. Futhermore, sexuality is not something that is decided by another person, nor can anyone know without asking you – it is the way you want to express yourself.


What kind of body do you feel comfortable in?

What kind of clothes do you like to wear?

How do you want to be treated?

What kind of people are you attracted to? Not attracted to?

Are they masculine? Feminine? Neither? Both? Unwilling/unable to decide?


If you think about it like that, you will notice that it isn’t possible to neatly categorize gender and sexuality into the familiar categories of L, G, B and T. Some people will be attracted to the same sex, while others are attracted to the opposite sex, or a mixture of both. Some people will have many relationships, while others may not be interested at all. While there are some people who do not want to define their gender, there are those who feel they are very much a ‘man’ or a ‘woman’.

We hope that the Yodogawa Ward LGBT Support Project will encourage you to think about who you want to be, and about society from the LGBT perspective.