After going two years without a Pride Parade in Tokyo, organizers are happy to announce that 2012 will be a wonderful year of celebrating LGBT pride. This year, there are currently two gay pride parades set to march around Tokyo's busiest metropolitan streets.
The 1st Annual Tokyo Rainbow Pride (TRP), scheduled for Sunday, April 29th, 2012 begins the festivities at 11am, while the Parade starts at 2:30pm and ends at 4:30pm. Since the event is scheduled during "Golden Weekend", we can not only enjoy the perfect weather that Tokyo has to offer during this season, but we can also enjoy the national holiday on the following day. TRP will be held at Yoyogi Park Event State area, and the planned pride route is as follows: Yoyogi Park Event Plaza→Keyaki Namiki Avenue→Kōen Dōri Street→Shibuya→Meiji Dōri Street→Harajyuku→Harajuku Station→Yoyogi Park Harajuku Entrance (about 3.5 km)
The Tokyo Rainbow Pride event has a different set of organizers than the original Tokyo Pride, which usually takes place in mid-August. This group of younger generation organizers came together in May 2011 to plan a pride parade for 2012. In 2011, this group contacted the Tokyo Pride organizers to ask whether there was an event going to be planned for 2012. Since a definite answer could not be given at that time, this genki group went ahead with their plan to make sure that Tokyo has a Rainbow Pride Parade for the year 2012. The original Tokyo Pride has been sporadically planned throughout the years, so one of TRP's main goals is to plan a sustainable event that can be planned annually in Tokyo, thereby making it easier to keep in contact with sponsors, and increase numbers of attendants. By planning almost monthly "Countdown Parties", the group has a chance to meet often throughout the year, as well as raise funds all year long.
Tokyo Rainbow Pride's grassroots philosophy focuses on the celebration of diversity and sexual minorities which includes all the spectrum of the LGBTQ rainbow. In order to increase sustainability, they have tried to cut costs and focus on the collective power of the community. Since they are still a new group, they are seeking supporters. If you take the time to meet some of these organizers, you will find that they are friendly, accepting and open to the ideas of all facets of the community. Since welcoming our international AJET Stonewall group to help volunteer with the parade, the organizers have been quite easy to work with and open to new ideas.
This type of organization will be a positive new force in the LGBT community.
Of course, Stonewall will support all LGBT events happening in Japan, and will seek to help Tokyo Pride with volunteering closer to the date, August 11th, 2012.
Please stay tuned to this post regarding updated information, such as after-parties. There are rumors that organizers are trying to organize with Ageha to hold a mixed after-party, to go along with "diverse" atmosphere of the parade.