The governor of the Mie Prefecture in Japan signed a new ordinance outlawing third parties from outing someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity, according to Soros News 24.
Outing “can destabilize family and working relationships and drive people into isolation by disrupting their friendships and contact with other people,” Governor Eikei Suzuki is quoted by Sora News 24.
The ordinance, signed into law on June 3, also outlaws third party attempts to coerce a person to publicly reveal their sexual orientation or gender identity against their will. A similar ordinance was passed in the city of Kunitachi, a Tokyo suburb, in 2018.
The new law is partially in response to reports from South Korea following a second outbreak of the ongoing global pandemic. Contact tracing revealed one patient had visited several LGBTQ+ nightclubs, and authorities urged patrons of those nightclubs to come forward, in effect, outing themselves. As a result, many people refused to be tested or even reveal themselves out of fear their sexual orientation or gender identity would become public knowledge and subject them to discrimination.
While there is plenty of precedent of LGBTQ+ relationships in the thousand-years history of Japan, the country is still conservative socially with great emphasis placed on family’s honor as well as shame. In 2015, a gay college student leapt to his death from a building at Hitotsubashi University after a fellow graduate student outed him.
Penalties for violating the law have not yet been determined. In the meantime, Suzuki made clear that the Mie Prefecture will stand strong with the LGBTQ+ community.
"I would like to make this prefecture a livable place for individuals with various backgrounds."