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Pride House Tokyo info center to open ahead of Tokyo Olympics

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Pride House Tokyo

Pride House Tokyo info center to open ahead of Tokyo Olympics

Despite the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralymics this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pride House Tokyo LGBTQ information center is set to open by October.

The Pride House Tokyo Legacy, which can be used for free, has books and material on LGBTQ people, as well as space for counseling.

Pride House Tokyo to help ahead of the Games

The LGBTQ facility will open on October 11 in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward. The date also coincides with International Coming Out Day.

“We decided to open it earlier after some people told us that it’s tough to spend time inside the house with a family who have no understanding,” said Gon Matsunaka, head of the Pride House Tokyo Consortium.

“We want to make this a place for those young people,” Matsunaka said.

The Pride House was scheduled to open by next summer after the Games. But with the postponement of the Games to next year, this gave the consortium more time to organize the new facility.

The new LGBTQ info center– which is run by a consortium made up of individuals, companies, and nonprofit groups– will remain even after the Tokyo Games ends.

Pride Houses a major part of the sports world

The center– which will have a library to house Japan’s first “LGBTQ Community Archives”– is an official Tokyo Games programme set to run from October 11 to December 31 this year.

A mainstay of the Olympics, the Pride House movement was first established in 2010 during the Vancouver Winter Games. It was launched by local nonprofit organizations to promote better understanding of LGBTQ athletes.

Since then, LGBTQ info centers have been established in host cities during the preparations for the Olympics and other international sporting events.

For example, a Pride House Tokyo 2019 was opened during the Rugby World Cup. During the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, a record 56 known LGBTQ athletes had participated.

However, during the Sochi 2014 Winter Games, the project was not run by the Russian Ministry of Justice, which coincides with that country’s current anti-LGBTQ laws.

Pride House Tokyo to give a safe space

On their website, the consortium said they had changed their plans based on the results of their survey, “LGBTQ Youth Today,” which was conducted early on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Their survey identified the need for a safe way for LGBTQ people to come together. The group said: “This need is particularly relevant as we look to live with the pandemic in the mid to long term.”

Shiho Shimoyamada, a 25-year-old female soccer player for the second-division Sfida Setagaya, as well as a member of the consortium, has promised: “I’ll let more people know about the importance of diversity.”

Shimoyamada had come out as gay last year during an interview for Pride House Tokyo. For more about the Pride House, check out their video below:

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