In a nation where prejudice against sexual minorities persists, the annual Tokyo Rainbow Pride parade has sought to counter the trend by openly spotlighting LGBT residents and spreading their voices.
But this year, LGBT participants and proponents seemed particularly joyous, emboldened by what they see as a blossoming of LGBT-friendly moves by municipalities and companies.
Last month, an unprecedented ordinance passed by the Shibuya Ward Assembly in Tokyo saw the district become the first in the nation to issue legally nonbinding certificates that would declare same-sex partnerships as “equivalent to marriage,” allowing them to be treated on a par with married couples in terms of hospital visits and apartment rentals.
The recent explosion of online abuse has exposed the limits of law enforcement’s ability to police the predators and abusers as their behavior migrates online—and as social media amplifies the ability of online harassers to inflict damage on their victims. Wu claims she loses at least a day each week “explaining the Internet” to the police, saying that she’s had to convince numerous officers that Twitter isn’t “just for jokes,” but is in fact her primary means of marketing her business. In February, Wu pulled Giant Spacekat from the mammoth PAX East conference in Boston after police declined to beef up security, even though she’d shown them death threats she’d received via email and social media.
When Quinn has spoken to police, she says she’s had to print out the threats and explain what a user name is. She regularly hears suggestions that she simply stay offline. “In 2015, that’s like saying, ‘Oh, there’s an angry mob camped outside on your sidewalk, just don’t ever go outside again,’” she says. Quinn also wants to change the vocabulary we use to describe online abuse. “These aren’t trolls,” she says. “And it’s not online bullying. Bullying is something that gets you a pink slip in high school. These are people stalking, sending death threats, trying to get the cops to raid homes. These are criminals.”
“Bernie Sanders,” he said. “That’s the one who cares, right?”
“Right, that’s the guy,” I said.
Palestine has offered continued assistance to American pro-democracy activists, sending anti-tear-gas kits to those protesting police brutality in various American cities. Egyptian pro-democracy groups have also said they will be sharing their past experience with U.S.-made counter-protest weapons.