Sexual Minorities

 Same sex marriage has been legalized in the United States. I find it good news. Society should accept diversity.

 The trend is getting clearer in Japan as well. About 20 years ago, gay people and transgenders were not welcome. If they appear on TV, viewers would file big complaints. Today, we see a lot of showbiz people who are male but look and dress like female. I think it’s a sign that Japan’s society is getting tolerant of sexual minorities.

 Diversity is becoming widespread in Japan’s sex industry, too. More and more of sex clubs targeting gays and lesbians or providing “newhalves” are seen.

1 The word “newhalf” basically means gay men who look or dress like women. At least they’re trying to do so. The degree of trans-sexuality varies. Some of them use hormone injections, underwent breast augmentation or traveled to Thai to change sex. Others have breasts but still have the male genitalia.

 Next to Tokyo is Kanagawa Prefecture, which has one of the biggest red-light districts in Japan called “unfilial street.” It’s densely packed with a hako-heru type of sex establishments. Just a few minutes’ walk from there is an area where newhalves gather to sell their body.

 A strip near there was well known for another red-light districts with tons of illegal brothels about a dozen years ago. An international event held back then triggered severe crackdowns on them to hide a “shameful aspect” of Japan from other countries, ending up with virtually no female prostitutes.

 Interestingly, Japan’s law didn’t and doesn’t apply to transgenders. That’s why they alone can still be standing on the streets today.

 Prostitution is what women do for men. Technically, it’s inserting the male genitalia into the female one. Newhalves are not defined as women in a legitimate way. So they’re around publicly, and law enforcement agencies find troubles dealing with them.

 Kanagawa is not alone. Tokyo has more and more newhalf sex clubs. In most cases, they locate front desks or ready rooms in ordinary condominiums.

 Residents complain to the police about “strange-looking people” they often encounter in their life. They argue that they make them uncomfortable, and want them to get out because they do sexual things.

 The police can’t take care of them directly, because anti-prostitution law doesn’t apply to them. Still, they have to do something since citizens want them to. Leaving voices undone leads to lessened authority. That’s why they use other reasons like nuisance prevention ordinance to handle the situation. I guess it might be tough for the police themselves to resort to such a barbarian means.

 As sexual minorities gain more attention, the demand to alter the legal definition of them have been also increasing.

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