HRW blasts Tokyo governor's anti-gay remarks
Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara must retract recent statements that denigrated gays and lesbians, Human Rights Watch said Feb. 1.
On Dec. 3, while discussing a measure to regulate the manga and anime industries, Ishihara said: "[This bill] is not just about the kids. We have got homosexuals casually appearing even on television. Japan has become far too untamed."
Then, on Dec. 7, in response to a reporter's question about his earlier statement, Ishihara said: "I think homosexuals have something missing from them somehow. It may be something genetic. I feel sorry for them being a minority. I saw a parade made up of gays (in San Francisco) and I really felt sorry for them. There were pairs of men and women, but it certainly did feel like they were deficient somehow."
HRW said that such comments "increase the stigma against lesbian and gay people and can promote discrimination against an already marginalized group."
"It is a matter of great concern that Gov. Ishihara, who is charged with upholding the rights and ensuring the well-being of all Tokyo residents, has characterized lesbians and gay men as somehow lower than other persons," said HRW LGBT rights researcher Dipika Nath. "When public officials make pejorative characterizations of particular groups of people, they can compromise people's ability to live their lives with dignity. It is the governor's responsibility to undo the damage he has caused."