In March this year, the first lesbian couple to marry at Tokyo Disney Resort released pictures of their special day on Twitter, with many netizens strongly supporting their union. Now, the Asahi Shimbun has covered their story in an online article, which has already received thousands of Facebook likes and been re-tweeted and re-blogged countless times.
Although Japan does not legally recognise same-sex marriages, the LGBT community is growing ever more visible and vocal. This fairytale Disney wedding partly symbolises how far the community has come, but also how far is still to go.
While netizens are overwhelmingly supportive of this beautiful couple, others point out that had it been two men, or two less attractive women getting married, people may not have been so accepting.
From Asahi Digital:
Lesbian Couple’s Dreams Come True At Tokyo Disney Resort; Both Brides Wear Dresses At Ceremony
“Mickey came, and everyone congratulated us. It really was a splendid day” said Higashi Koyuki (28), looking back on the wedding ceremony she and her partner held at Tokyo Disneyland in March. Her partner is Hiroko (35), a company employee. Both the brides wore wedding dresses, and held the first ever lesbian wedding ceremony at Tokyo Disney Resort.
Higashi and her partner Hiroko are lesbians. Higashi hails from Kanazawa, where she also works as a representative for “Rainbow Kanazawa”, an exchange group for sexual minorities such as homosexuals and those with gender identity disorders [transgender people].
The new wedding service at Tokyo Disney Resort was announced in March last year (2012). Higashi inquired about it immediately, but at first the response was that a ceremony for a lesbian couple ‘would be possible if one of the couple wore a tuxedo, and that they looked like a male-female couple”. It was hardly usual, however, for either Higashi or her partner Hiroko to dress as men.
“The fact that they said it was alright if one of us were dressed as a man means that they really weren’t accepting of homosexual weddings”. When a dejected Higashi tweeted about this, it had a huge response.
Higashi first realised that she fell in love with women when she was a student at a high school in Kanazawa. The girl she confessed her crush to already had another female student who she was interested in. It was a shock to Higashi, but she realised that “it was fine to be in love with another girl”.
After graduating high school, she went on to the Takarazuka Music School, where she performed on stage for two years, playing male roles with the stage name “Aura Naoki”. Still, at that time she couldn’t come out as a lesbian. She left Takarazuka after suffering with health problems, became active in a human rights organization for LGBT people.
Higashi acted as the facilitator in a programme broadcast over the internet aimed at homosexual people, and also planned events. It was also through these activities that she met her partner Hiroko. They began living together in summer last year. Even though they have had a marriage ceremony, they have no legal security as a same-sex couple; there are even case where a partner has been refused visitations when they other has been hospitalised through illness or injury. Why was it unacceptable for them to do the things that a male-female couple would normally do? It was that thought that moved them both to action.
In Holland and Spain, same-sex marriages are legally recognised, and even in Germany and France, a system is being introduced whereby the rights of same-sex couples are protected. It is thought that of the more economically developed nations, it is only Japan and Russia where the system for same-sex marriage is entirely inadequate. In a survey by the UK government, that people who are homosexual or transgender [Japanese: gender identity disorders] constitute 6% of the population of the UK. According to Dentsu Research, in Japan this population constitutes 5.2%. If you take it that this is one person in twenty, then it means that LGBT people are alongside you, even in your school or workplace. It’s just that because the person themselves doesn’t make it clear, or perhaps can’t make it clear, that you haven’t noticed.
“When it comes to being loved and feeling happiness, it doesn’t matter if you’re gay or straight. Families come in all shapes and sizes, and we want to send the message that we live as we do, so that it becomes easier for people of all kinds to live more easily”.
Higashi feels that “Times are beginning to change, bit by bit”.
Comments from 2ch.net:
No change [ie they're cute].
Both of them are real beauties. It’s not a question of who should be playing the man.
How do they have sex?
Seeing two women in kissing in wedding dresses is kinda hot.
When it’s two women together it’s beautiful. Saying that, if it was two men I couldn’t bear to look at it w
So you can have a same-sex wedding ceremony at Disney Resort! Disney is accepting of that kind of thing.
Both of them are really pretty. What a waste!
This is great. Congratulations!
Hey, if you guys want kids, leave it to me!
It’s only dirty if it’s between guys.
They look truly happy.
In our society, if you’re good-looking you can get away anything.
Look out, I started imagining various things and got an erection.
Come on, why can’t the fugly girls be lesbians instead of the beautiful ones! Such a fucking waste!
I guess that if it were two gay men people wouldn’t accept it.
The differences between gays and lesbians are getting bigger and bigger.
Comments from Twitter:
I get the impression that this kind of story isn’t so rare these days.
This is great!
Seems like this is the first same-sex wedding at Tokyo Disney Resort.
The sex of the person you will spend your life with is irrelevant. There are also people saying that this correlates with the falling birthrate, but it’s an entirely different issue. We need an environment where homosexual people can work and act freely.
Disney Resort is surprisingly tolerant!
I think it’s a good thing that this is widely accepted. However, if there is the opportunity in the future, I’d like them to cover a wedding ceremony between a male same-sex couple, too.
Without Twitter, there may never have been a same-sex marriage between two women. Congratulations!
They look so so happy!! And they’re both beautiful. A lovely couple ～
This is a brilliant article.
In the land of dreams, there was even a wedding between two women. Let’s look after them warmly!
This is so Disney! (In Japan it’s owned by Oriental Land, though.) Still, I bet there are a lot of parents who won’t be able to explain this to his kids.