LGBT-rights activist Taiga Ishikawa recently won a seat in Japan’s national parliament, becoming the first openly-gay man elected to office in a country where same-sex marriage is illegal.
Ishikawa will be representing the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ) in the House of Councillors, one of two houses in Japan’s legislative system, according to Asahi Shimbun.
“I was calling for the acknowledgment of LGBT people in the election,” he was quoted as saying after his victory was announced.
“A lot of people all over Japan plucked up their courage to vote for me. This acknowledges that we are here.”
In April 2011, Ishikawa won a seat in the Tokyo’s Toshima ward assembly, becoming one of the first two openly-gay male politicians along with Wataru Ishizaka to win an election in Japanese history.
In Japan, same-sex marriage is illegal, according to Reuters. Its national laws also do not have legislation in place that shields members of the LGBT community from discrimination. The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), the current ruling party, is known for its anti-LGBT stance.
However, the recent election saw at least eight openly-LGBT politicians getting elected in regional councils and parliamentary posts.
The CDPJ has also recently drafted bills in a bid to establish LGBT rights protection in the country.
Upon his election, Ishikawa vowed to push bills for marriage equality and protecting LGBT people from discrimination during his tenure as a lawmaker.
“I would like to do my best to enact both pieces of legislation,” Ishikawa said. “I want to support vulnerable people in this society as a politician.”
Featured image via Twitter / @ishikawataiga
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Taiga Ishikawa was the first openly-gay lawmaker in Japan’s parliament. Ishikawa is the first openly-gay man in Japan’s parliament. The first openly-gay lawmaker elected to legislative office in Japan was Kanako Otsuji, the first openly-gay lesbian who was elected to office in the National Diet (Japan’s “Congress”) in May 2013. Sorry about that everyone, we’ll do our best to be better.