It’s been 3 months in Kyoto and this place already feels like a home I’m going to miss dearly. I still have another 5 or so weeks left, so I’m not getting pre-nostalgic or anything, but it’s a lingering fact indeed. Classes are in the stages of final papers/projects/lessons and everyone is either murderous or a shell of themselves. How comforting to know that the end of the semester cram is the same regardless of where you study.
Today for my minorities class I gave a group presentation on modern LGBT identity and issues in Japan, with our topics ranging from general opinion to BL manga to media representations to bullying. I presented on the latter, and hot damn if this country’s school system doesn’t have a serious issue with bullying, nevermind LGBT bullying. I’m not going to super-bore you with facts, but here’s a brief intro to school bullying issues here.
- it’s all about conformity. you’re different, gay, whatever? fix it, because it’s selfish and disruptive. the administration will seriously put you down.
- gay? lesbian? trans? what is that? apparently only 7.5% of teachers know anything about these issues, according to a 1,000+ person survey. no wonder you can’t help if you don’t even know about the subject.
- teachers either stand on the sideline or participate in the bullying of queer youth. they typically won’t tell the administration they’re struggling because it reflects the idea that they as a teacher are performing poorly and unable to handle students.
- the way most kids hear about these issues is through 86% of their peers (& 29% of that is their teachers) making jokes about the LGBT community. or through their teachers calling them or others ‘homo’ both on and off the clock.
- the gov’t takes no responsibility for this through the Bullying Prevention Act, or in the case of suicides. at most, the grieving family will receive money for mental grievances. otherwise, how was the teacher/school to know that such ‘harmless teasing’ (aka intense mental, sometimes physical bullying) could possibly lead to suicide? never mind the long record of cases that show that exact trend.
There is sooo much more but as I said, I won’t bore you. I will however leave a link to the 84-page report from the Human Rights Watch on it, published in May of this year, titled ‘The Nail That Sticks Out Gets Hammered Down‘. This link it to a website version that’s pretty smooth reading, just be prepared for a lot of anger and sadness.
Other than that I’ve been enjoying the stress that’s melted away since giving that presentation, enjoying a Japanese ice cream sandwich (that’s what I’m calling it) before a nice tonkatsu dinner. Myu-chan even came down for a bit, and not only did I hold her, albeit awkwardly, but she even licked my hand! She then proceeded to try and wreck my backpack, which is apparently asking for it if the fact that Miao-chan pulls the same crap is any indication of that, but oh well. Getting close to bedtime so I’ll end it here. Have a good night friends.