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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