Washington Blade: Japanese lesbian loses historic race for office (Aug 3)

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Japanese lesbian loses historic race for office

Friday, August 03, 2007

TOKYO — The first openly gay candidate in Japanese national politics failed to win a seat in upper house elections last week, but vowed to continue her fight for minority rights, according to a Reuters report. Kanako Otsuji, 32, who is backed by the main opposition Democratic Party, had campaigned in front of rainbow flags, with loudspeakers declaring to passers-by she was a lesbian. She appeared to be holding back tears at her election headquarters in the heart of Tokyo’s gay community on July 23. The report said supporters were also emotional as Otsuji thanked them, many of whom had waited until dawn for final numbers. Otsuji, formerly a local legislator in Osaka, said she decided to go into national politics because it took her five years to come to terms with the pain and isolation she felt in accepting her sexual orientation, Reuters said. She made headlines in 2005 when she married her wife, Maki Kimura in a commitment ceremony.