【開催報告】English Meet-up (2020.05.07)
What is the English Meet-up for LGBTQ+ Students?
This bi-weekly meet-up held at Waseda Campus (currently held online) is a safe space for English speaking LGBTQ+ students, faculty, and staff and their allies to meet and connect with each other. This is a very relaxed event in which participants chat about everyday issues and concerns.
The May 7th Meet-up: COVID-19, job-hunting, BL/GL, gender identity and stereotypes
For this meeting, we checked in with our participants on how they were doing under the lockdown due to COVID-19. Many students still remaining in Japan voiced their loneliness, since most international students have returned home. It is even more difficult to be asked to stay in a cramped dorm room when you are extraverted and mostly spend your time outdoors. We talked about job-hunting in Japan which is becoming even more severe for international students who have time-limits on how long they could stay in the country based on their visas.
The topic of the week was identity, including both gender identity and sexual orientation. Some voiced their frustrations of not being able to be themselves in Asian cultural contexts, where there is a strong pressure to conform to social norms. Others questioned to what extent minorities need to explain their identities using labels in order to gain acceptance from the community.
When talking about stereotypes, one of our participants raised the issue that, in the west, queer cultural representations in Japan such as yaoi, BL and GL are negatively perceived as fetishized and inaccurate perceptions of LGBTQ+ people. She thought there is a lot of cultural bias from abroad directed at Japanese culture which is based on stereotypes instead of deep understanding about the culture. The author, being the facilitator of the event, connected this issue to the feminist debates in the "sex wars", in which feminists debated whether representation (in porn) is liberating or a tool of domination, as well as whether some representation with certain narratives should be silenced or whether we should encourage other narratives of representation to compete with the preexisting ones instead.
This sounds like fun. How can I learn more about future events?
You can sign up for our English Mailing List for more information about English events at the Gender and Sexuality Center.
That's it for today.
See you next time,
Aki (Student Staff, Waseda Gender & Sexuality Center)