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Saturday, August 13, 2005

Tokyo Lesbian and Gay Parade 2005


Gay Pride
After a hiatus of two years, the Tokyo Lesbian and Gay Parade was back. The fourth Parade took place in Shibuya, Tokyo, on Saturday, August 13. Defying all naysayers it was a roaring success with, what organizers estimate, at least 3000 paraders and another 2000 supporters.

The theme was diversity. A true celebration of sexual diversity, not only gays and lesbians, but even asexuals had their retinue in the march around the streets of Shibuya. And represented amongst the gays and lesbians was the whole range of pursuits, beliefs, practices and fantasies ranging from drag kings and queens to American footballers, leathermen, Christians, anti-war gays and lesbians, to boys and girls next door.

Gay Pride
While rain had been forecast, the marchers were treated to a generally fine - at worst sometimes overcast - if roasting, summer day: a perfect opportunity to peel right down, which large numbers gleefully took. In typical Japanese style the parade had its own hierarchy with the organizers taking the lead, followed behind by a multitude of different parties led by an uplifting brass band - glinting silver and gold - and multifarious baton/rainbow flag twirlers. With a light police escort the parade moved to the streets drawing smiles and waves from even the most curmudgeonly.

The march left Yoyogi Park (also the venue of Tokyo Plage, featured in the previous blog entry) at and it wasn't until that the final group came home. Meanwhile, the irrepressible crowd milled around stalls, snapped pictures, laughed, talked, met up and enjoyed while the Tokyo gay scene's famous DJ Patrick spun house tunes from the soundshell stage.

Tokyo Gay Parade The final ceremony took place on the stage at to cheers, applause, tinsel, fireworks and bubbles, and - most importantly - to the promise roared in echo by the crowd of the Fifth Lesbian and Gay Parade next year.

Then, as if on cue, as the final words were said a clap of thunder sounded, and as the crowd dispersed the rain came down in buckets.Tokyo Gay Parade
The Parade was followed by a Parade party "After Spice" at club Ace in Shinjuku from .

The next day, Sunday, is the Rainbow Festival in Shinjuku 2-chome.

The streets will be closed to traffic and thronged with lesbian and gay revellers.

Tokyo and Lesbian Gay Parade 2006

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