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Japan will hold its first LGBT rugby tournament in October alongside thtk5xNzQ)mouGki6=bf2rcwF!aEw8O3%2aBEF=*5mK*zK+P1$TGe Rugby World Cup.

The InteeLJ7i)Xv!sxR2QooImsdF#-*Hc31q$cp*0uwwwQ=eVb97=S&KJrnational Inclusive Challenge in Tokyo will see six teams from across the region, including the Tokyo Crusaders and the Beijing Devils, take part in the day-long tournament during the Rugby World Cup.

Organizer Aaron Pokluda said he approached International Gay Rugby (IGR) to hold an event to build gay sports and rugby in the region.

"We are very *vmgilW6iZI#(a1^b#zFC3Rzic88ps)[email protected]^*h_rVexcited because this event has grown beyond what we could've ever dreamed," he said. 

Teams would be coming from as nearby as downtown Tokyo and as far away as Toronto, Canada he said. "This is EcQ=&BKFn&6x5OZ)%[email protected]^@&^[email protected]%3WD8a(kswojJgoing to be a very diverse and wonderful competition."

Conservative Japan does not recognize same-sex marriages. Nor is there lUCZr_xPpWQXme&w6EgRtP*[email protected]^u9nW++!CevfQCBufsegislation to protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

A recent survey found 65% of LGBTI Japanese had not told anyone abougzy1#(MuaImU&)[email protected]$wK!Buf5dK(3mao$bbyisEGEt their sexuality.

Pokluda said Japan’s LGBT sports scene was very mixed. Volleyball andhTvt=jLruJ7c$jIQ4W_FHbFExdI+Sku)eu2)^7P1PDQk_d5=Wv badminton, he said, had some LGBT teams. "But, there's never really been anything with Contacts sports like Rugby", he explained. 'We've decided to change that."

"It’s going to be a big weekend, not o0EYbT4U2v=R&-uJxp78gW3h4py0bkdM+7(Cn7!*ZgJ11L148b*nly in Japan but across the globe,” said Ben Owen, IGR Chair. “We now have clubs on every continent which is a magnificent milestone to achieve, showcasing just how inclusive and global the sport of rugby is.”

LGBT rights in Japan

Japan has recentgve$p=d^[email protected]^[email protected](07vrZ2W7iyeOqJly made progress on LGBT rights. For example, an increasing number of local authorities are now offering partnership certificates to afford same-sex couples recognition at hospitals and in government housing.

IbarakIgqbmul1l9^ruH%[email protected]*4&)P)!lT$p3ZW4(swARh2vxi became the first prefecture, and therefore largest local authority, to introduce the system last month.

What’s more, the country also elected its first openly-gay male politician to parliam9)XfP+7dVzshFN4E52fMDys3ByYJ+BuNX%LPJZgml(1EE0TJ!Cent recently. Taiga Ishikawa has pledged to push forward with equal marriage and anti-discrimination legislation drafted by his opposition party.

But, Japan’s ruling party is notoriously anti-LGBT rights and has been involved in a number of high-profile homophobic scaYPjgmIEY1cqijQuKSHj5ghsrx-Tm#5maCcgPmeD_&t=Wn8dZ(Cndals.

What’s more, for the first time same-sex couples are suing the Japanese government to recognize their uniwAJXkDJrrPiMUs&wZUW&Dc21V2FgQ+%o&o#[email protected]ons.

The 13 couples first launched their cases in a number of local courts in FebGyvBfJGmo$(gb7&rXPy1PP$ZR!2c_x)[email protected]%by2wI+iq__vDCpDiruary this year.

Two gay men will do anything to help their lesbian friends start a family together. Celebrate same-sex marriage in Taiwan with this heartbreaking film.
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