How a gay student’s suicide after being outed is helping Japan’s LGBT community speak up

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04/22/2019

The name of a gay student who died after being outed may remain known to only a small number of people – his immediate family, friends, classmates, and the university where he studied – because even in death, his privacy is considered important in Japan. But his death four years ago is changing the legal and social landscape for the LGBT community in a nation where, as the saying goes, “the nail that sticks up gets hammered down”. The parents of the 25-year-old man were in court in February to hear the judge reject their damages suit against Hitotsubashi University for failing to respond appropriately after another student outed their son as being homosexual without his consent. The lawyer representing the family said they would appeal the decision to a higher court on the grounds that the university had failed to perceive the matter as a human rights issue, and had not created an environment that prevented the harassment of individuals by educating students that mocking sexual minorities constitutes sexual harassment.

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