Half of LGBTI graduates in Japan have found job interviews ‘uncomfortable’

LGBTI advocates and supporters take to the streets in Sapporo, northern Japan. (Photo: Twitter)

Almost half of all LGBTI graduates in Japan have experienced uncomfortable job interviews, a new study has found.

This trend is even more pronounced for trans graduates, where the number rises to 80%.

Respondents said that discomfort often stems from interviewers assuming that they were heterosexual or displaying a negative attitude towards LGBTI people.

Tokyo-based LGBTI support group ReBit conducted the survey, The Japan Times reports.

The group found that 42.5% of lesbian, gay and bisexual people and 87.4% of trans people had experienced some form of discomfort during job interviews.

For the survey, ReBit questioned 241 respondents about their experiences of job hunting over the past 10 years.

In response to the findings, ReBit said that ‘company officials in charge of personnel affairs should be aware that job-hunting students include a certain percentage of sexual minorities’.

Mika Yakushi, the head of the Rebit, added that ‘assuming that job-seeking students are not LGBT could lead to harassment’.

Remaining closeted in the workplace 

The findings also showed that LGBTI employees in Japan often choose to remain closeted at work.

According to the survey, 78.0% of respondents were not open about their sexuality to their companies.

70.8% said they were concerned about experiencing discrimination and harassment at their workplace. 68.9% worried that it would lead to their employers making negative decisions.

Yakushi said the findings show that universities should offer support to students who are preparing to look for full-time employment.

Increasing awareness 

A separate survey released in January found that around nine percent of Japan’s population identify as LGBTI.

This is up from 7.6 percent in 2015 and 5.1 percent in 2012.

The study also showed a tangible growing awareness of LGBTI issues among Japan’s population.

80 percent of respondents said they were in favor of same-sex marriage, and 70 percent said they understood the meaning of the LGBT initialism.

However, the study also found similar, with over half of respondents saying that they had not ‘come out’ to their work colleagues and that there is no support network in place for LGBTI employees.

Japan is considered as generally progressive for LGBTI rights and has implemented a number of pro-LGBTI policies.

However, the LGBTI community still lacks full equality in Japan, with same-sex marriage banned and trans people being required to be sterilized before their gender can be officially recognized.

A number of LGBTI rights advocates are challenging these policies.

Last month, 13 same-sex couples filed lawsuits against Japan’s government to demand that they recognize marriage equality.

Author: Calum Stuart

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Virginia LGBTI rights group launch employment equality awareness campaign

Equality Virginia

An LGBTI rights group in Virginia has launched a new awareness campaign about the discrimination sexual minorities experience in the state.

Equality Virginia’s month-long campaign will erect billboards throughout the state.

The billboards will read: ‘Someone you know is gay . . . They can be fired for who they are.’

This is a reference to the fact that it’s legal in Virginia to fire someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

‘It is still legal to discriminate against people simply because they’re gay or transgender’

The campaign is designed to combat the lack of protections for LGBTI people in the state.

There is no anti-discrimination legislation protecting LGBTI people in employment or housing in Virginia, the Washington Blade reports.

Past moves to introduce anti-discrimination bills have received bipartisan support in the state’s Senate.

However, none of the bills have made it past the House of Delegates, as Republican leadership has resisted calls to hold a vote.

‘Many people are surprised to learn that it is still legal under our state’s laws to fire a hardworking employee, deny them an apartment, and otherwise discriminate against people simply because they’re gay or transgender,’ said Equality Virginia’s Executive Director, James Parrish.

‘The goal of this year’s campaign is to increase understanding of the lack of legal protections these communities face and demonstrate the toll discrimination takes on LGBT Virginians and their families,’ Parrish added.

Inherent optimism

Equality Virginia is working in conjunction with fellow LGBTI rights group the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

‘Over the past several elections, Equality Virginia and HRC have worked to elect pro-equality champions at every level of Virginia’s state government,’ HRC said in a statement on their website.

Despite the difficulties in the past, the group remains optimistic about the future outlook.

‘The good news is, support for equality has grown by leaps and bounds and people from all walks of life have come to understand that we all have LGBT loved ones, coworkers, and friends,’ Parrish concluded.

Despite the poor record of LGBTI anti-discrimination laws, the state made history in November 2017, when trans woman Danica Roem was elected to the House of Delegates District 13 seat.

Roem’s victory was the first time in US history a trans woman had been elected to state office.

Author: Calum Stuart

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