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Same-sex marriage campaigner becomes first ever openly gay man elected to Japanese Parliament

Taiga Ishikawa is one of the most well-known, openly gay people in Japan

2019-07-24

Words: Steve Brown

A same-sex marriage campaigner has made history by becoming the first ever openly gay man to be elected to the Japanese Parliament.

Taiga Ishikawa publicly came out back in 2002 at the age of 28 through his memoir and has since gone on to become one of the most well-known openly gay people in Japan – a country deemed relatively progressive with its LGBTQ equality.

Ishikawa helped to lobby the Japanese government to allow Japanese citizens to marry foreigners of the same sex in countries where same-sex marriage is legal.

He was also the first openly gay person to run for leadership of a Japanese political party. He also won a local government position for the Social Democratic Party but left the party for the Constitutional Democratic Party in February last year.

And now, over the weekend, he was elected to the Upper House of the Japanese Parliament – known as the National Diet – making him the first ever, openly gay MP.

Speaking to the Asahi Shimbun, he said: “I would like to do my best to enact both pieces of legislation.

“I want to support vulnerable people in this society as a politician.”