In 2015, a competition entitled “Waseda Vision 150 Student Competiton” was held in Waseda University. In the competition, each student group gave a presentation of their choice and that year, “Team Diversity Waseda” won the 1st prize. In their presentation, the team talked about the importance of establishing a center for LGBTQ stundents on campus. This year, their vision finally came true. In 2015, a competition entitled “Waseda Vision 150 Student Competiton” was held in Waseda University. In the competition, each student group gave a presentation of their choice and that year, “Team Diversity Waseda” won the 1st prize. In their presentation, the team talked about the importance of establishing a center for LGBTQ stundents on campus. This year, their vision finally came true.
The first on-campus LGBT students center administrated by a Japanese university, “Waseda University GS Center” opened on April 3rd. The word “GS” stands for “gender and sexuality” and the center aims to provide a place where all the students interested in gender and sexuality can have access to a variety of information they need. (On-campus Students Gender Research Center had already been established by International Christian University.)
According to “Waseda Weekly,” the center has a rainbow sign at the entrance. To go to the center, you need to go to Building 10 on Waseda campus, and go to the 2nd floor. Then, you can see the rainbow sign at the entrance. Anyone who’s interested in gender and sexuality, including students’ parents and guardians can visit the center. The staff will help you find the answer/s you are looking for.
“Waseda University GS Center” is now planning to work together with other LGBTQ students circles and groups to host a variety of events where people can come and see LGBTQ movies and learn gender and sexuality more deeply. The center is now hosting a gender and sexuality book fair on each campus.
Furthermore, the members of the center are going to join “Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2017” as “LGBT Waseda Tomonkai.” (“Tomonkai” is the name of groups for all the people that graduated from Waseda University.) The center is also planning to host “WASEDA LGBT ALLY WEEK 2017” between May 22nd and May 28th. Participants can enjoy a variety of seminars and presentations.
Waseda University is now working on creating learning environments for students that embrace diversity in gender and sexuality on campus. The university made “Daredemo Bathroom,” which means a bathroom for anyone. The university also asked all the professors and instructors to delete all the unnecessary sex-identifying questions on documents and call all the students with “san.” (“San”is used like Mr or Mrs. but you can use it regardless of sex.)
There are still some universities, like Hitotsubashi University, that tried to look the other way, get away with the responsibilities, and went to trial for that after their students killed themselves because of discrimination and bullying on campus, but it is great that an university like Waseda University stands up for the LGBTQ community in Japan. Many more universities are expected to follow suit like many LGBTQ-friendly businesses in Japan.