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26/08/2015

Why an anime character can be openly gay in Japan

"I just kind of said it quickly, 'Hey, I’m gay,'" he recalls.

“Stop it. That’s disgusting,” she said, according to Hayshi. That really hurt.

Japan — unlike the US — doesn't have a Puritan history that says homosexuality is some kind of cardinal sin. And for years it wasn't uncommon to see a cross-dresser on TV giving fashion advice or a Japanese cartoon with gay characters.

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But while being openly gay has been OK for famous people or anime characters, on an individual level, it’s been really hard to be out in Japan. Schoolyard bullying and discrimination are known problems. And LGBT individuals often feel isolated.

In college, Hayashi was doing research on the untapped LGBT market in Japan. One day a friend — the only other friend he had who was openly gay — said he wanted to start a company to do same-sex weddings. Hayashi jumped at the idea.

Together they planned a wedding and life services company for the queer community. And they won a huge student business competition. At first they were doing it mostly for fun, but then they started learning about the high suicide rate of sexual minorities in Japan. And then a friend committed suicide. And their sense of purpose changed.

"Say someone like me comes out to their parents in five years, and they’re also told that’s disgusting," Hayashi says. "That’s unacceptable. If we don't do something, the next generation will suffer just as much."

Today Hayashi is the CEO of Letibee — meant to sound like Let it be.

The company runs Letibee Life. It’s a media site featuring everything from news to stories on trans- and gay-friendly hair salons to people writing about their own coming out experiences. It’s the first of its kind in Japan.

They do corporate consulting, teaching companies about sexuality, sexual minorities — and how to respond to LGBT as customers and employees. And they’re about to launch an app they hope will provide a safe space for LGBT to connect and build community.

It hasn’t been easy. On top of the ups and downs of running a startup, Hayashi has been a running a startup aimed at a community no one thought was important.

And then in April, everything changed. Shibuya, one of the most well-known districts in Tokyo — think — Times Square mashed up with the West Village, but with more governing power — recognized same-sex marriage. Hayashi says until that moment, seeing LGBT rights splashed across the front page of the newspaper was unimaginable.

"We went from, 'Can you really be a company providing services to the LGBT community?' To: Letibee, your time has come," Hayashi says.

In July, Setagaya, another influential district in Tokyo, recognized same-sex marriage.

James Welker, a professor who studies gender and sexuality in Japan, says although neither district’s decision is legally binding it’s created a certain momentum about same-sex partnership and LGBT rights in a really short period of time.

The Japanese Parliament now also has a committee looking into how to end discrimination. And Yokohama, Japan’s second biggest city, adjacent to Tokyo, recently announced a city-supported LGBT festival for this fall.

"Because of the more positive normalizing — and normal is a problematic word in media discourse — ... more people are open to the idea that, hey, some people are gay or lesbian or bisexual. It’s not as big of a deal any more," Welker says.

One big way to tell perceptions are shifting is by looking at what’s happening to Tokyo’s gay pride festival. In 2014, 15,000 people participated in the festival. In 2015, the number was 55,000.

Since coming, Hayashi and his mom have made amends.

On a societal scale, Hayashi says Japan really is getting better. But on an individual level, there’s still a long way to go. But Letibee, Hayashi says, will play a part in changing that.

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05:01 Publié dans wedding | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)

20/08/2015

Sooraj Sits For Marriage While Sandhya Follows Chandu

Diya Aur Baati Hum's August 18th episode: The Boss comforts Sandhya when she breaks down after seeing her family. He tells her to concentrate on the mission. She regains her composure and becomes determined to catch Chandu, the mastermind of Garjana. Boss gives her a secret communication device. Shekhar sits for a secret meeting with his comrades, before going to the stage.

Diya Aur Baati Hum: Sooraj Sits For Marriage While Sandhya Follows Chandu

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Sandhya sees that the drama costume is changed just before the show. The artists are given luminous jackets; Sandhya thinks it must be for some special purpose. She sees her boss promoting a pizza brand on the function ground. The Independence Day program starts with an announcement of a special power project to solve the present power issues in Rajasthan. The Minister gives a speech on the same. Shekhar’s team performs a masked show with the luminous suits. Sandhya keeps close watch on the situation. Shekhar keeps looking for an opportunity to escape from the function hall. He secretly leaves the hall just after the show is over. Sandhya sees someone escaping; she follows him without knowing it is Shekhar.

Bhabho carefully makes the last minute preparations for Sooraj’s wedding. Ved helps Sooraj get dressed in his wedding suit. Sooraj notices Ved’s grim face. Bhabho explains that Ved is upset because his special suit has not been delivered by the tailor. Meenakshi thinks she will never let Sooraj get married to Lalima. As Sooraj is afraid of fire, Bhabho wets the pieces of firewood, so that they can never get ignited during the marriage ceremony. Meenakshi cleverly changes the wet pieces of firewood with dry ones, so that they easily catch fire and Sooraj’s condition can be revealed before Lalima. Sooraj and Lalima are taken to the wedding ground as per the schedule.

Also see: sheindressau.com

04:38 Publié dans wedding | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)

13/08/2015

Weddings in Wales: 'Everything was perfect - like walking into a dream'

Sodira and Geraint Holmes on their wedding day

Tied the knot recently?

If you have married within the past six months - or know someone who has - we'd love toshare in your celebrations . A well as appearing on WalesOnline you could be featured in the South Wales Echo, too.

To take part just fill in the simple form at the end of this story.

It doesn't matter where you married, as long as one of you is Welsh or you live in Wales.

This week's couple live in Fairwater:

Sodira and Geraint Holmes on their wedding day

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The couple

Sodira Holmes (nee Andreou), 26, from Danescourt, Cardiff, and Geraint Holmes, 28, from Aberystwyth. Sodira is an operations coordinator and Geraint is a supply chain manager. They both live in Fairwater, Cardiff

The venue

The couple were married at the Greek Orthodox Church of St Nicholas, in Butetown, and had their reception at Cottrel Park Golf Resort on May 24.

How they met

Sodira and Geraint met six years ago at Square music festival, which is run by one of Geraint’s friends and held in Borth, Ceredigion. A few weeks later they went on their first date back in Cardiff at St Fagans.

Sodira said: “I liked the fact he was a bit random and quirky when I first met him, and he made sheep noises.”

Related: Read all our Weddings in Wales stories

The proposal

Geraint took Sodira back to where they first met in Borth to propose to her.

He took her up to a picturesque clifftop and got down on one knee before a rambler passing by stopped to see what was happening.

He then proceeded to watch how things turned out, including, of course, her answer to the big question, making for an awkward and tense

few moments for the couple.

Sodira said: “Before I said yes, I did a little shriek, like a sort of happy yelping.”

The wedding

80 people attended the ceremony, with about 220 present for the reception, which was an Alice in Wonderland-themed celebration. And everything from the cake to the bridesmaid dresses to the tables followed the theme, inspired by English graduate Sodira’s favourite childhood book.

The bridesmaids wore three different coloured maxi dresses with roses on one arm.

The groomsmen wore tuxedos with pink bows.

Sodira and Geraint had their first dance to Muse’s Feeling Good, and prepared a routine after having about 15 dance lessons in preparation.

Sodira said: “On our wedding cake we decided to have the words “Holmes in wonderland” on it.

“And it really was just like being in wonderland. Everything was perfect, it was like walking into a little dream.”

The honeymoon

The couple went to Cuba, spending four days in Havana and then 10 on the coast.

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05:09 Publié dans wedding | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)