A Scottish drag queen and musician from Perth has used her performance at an event for the Tokyo Olympics to protest the country’s LGBT laws.
Scarlet Skylar Rae was performing at the Kansai Music Conference, an international music industry conference based in the city of Osaka, Japan.
The event will feature within the wider Tokyo Olympics programme.
Tokyo Olympics has enforced a rule which bans political protests at the games and venues related to it.
The Perth artist said she wanted to use her performance to protest Japan’s anti LGBT laws and highlight the ongoing campaign to legalise same-sex marriage in Japan prior to the Tokyo Olympics.
The country is currently the only G7 nation not to recognise same-sex marriage, and a court in the country recently ruled that the ban was unconstitutional.
A request for damages by three same-sex couples was rejected by the Japanese court, but the overall judgment was seen as a victory for the campaign to change the law.
As part of the protest, Scarlet performed an acoustic show of her songs ‘Pride’, ‘Come on you Saints’ and ‘Same old me’ in front of decorated Japanese flags which read ‘Japan has no gay marriage’, ‘Japan has no laws against LGBT employment discrimination’ and ‘Same-sex couples are not allowed to adopt in Japan’.
In addition to this, Scarlet also taped ‘LGBT RIGHTS NOW JAPAN’ onto her guitar.
Scarlet’s protest follows a recent report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development which rated Japan second last for ‘laws supporting LGBT inclusiveness’ in developed countries.
Scarlet said that in recent months the Japanese LGBTQ+ movement has had “great progress”.
LGBT equality in Japan
The Japan Alliance for LGBT Legislation (J-ALL) recently submitted a petition with over 100,000 signatures to the Japanese Parliament to introduce the ‘LGBT Equality Act’.
However, the new proposed ‘LGBT Equality Act’ was altered after a consultation, with the proposal now only requiring the government to “promote understanding of LGBT people”.
It also no longer includes protections for LGBT+ people from discrimination.
“This does not comply with the Japanese government’s international human rights obligations,” Scarlet said.
Numerous petitions have also been submitted to legalise same-sex marriage prior to the Olympics.
First for Scarlet
Musician Scarlet Skylar Rae has enjoyed recent success, including her performance at Global Pride 2020 and her unofficial cup song for St Johnstone – ‘Come on You Saints’.
In November 2020, Scarlet’s song ‘Pride’ was also the first song with a Drag Queen to be broadcast in The Gambia when it was played on Gambian Radio.
Scarlet Skylar Rae, Drag Queen Performer, said: “With the current LGBTQ+ rights situation in Japan, I didn’t want to be silent.
“I feel as a fellow member of the LGBTQ+ Community, I have a responsibility to use this platform I have been given by being invited to perform at the Kansai Music Conference to call attention to the incredible work the Japanese LGBTQ+ Community are doing to protest their government’s anti LGBTQ+ Laws.
“With the focus of the world on the Tokyo Olympics, I feel we all need to draw attention to the inequalities that exist within Japan and direct as many people as possible to sign the petitions to gain equal rights and support the Japanese LGBTQ+ community in their struggle.
I think we all want the Japanese government to live up to the Olympic Charter
“I have only highlighted some of the inequalities that exist in Japan and encourage everyone else to do their own research. Some additional inequalities include that Trans people are only legally recognised if they undergo full surgery.
“I fully recommend that everyone reads reports from organisations such as Stonewall, Amnesty and the Human Rights Watch.
“I think we all want the Japanese government to live up to the Olympic Charter which bans “discrimination of any kind” including on grounds of sexual orientation”