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This is an excerpt from Sexuality and Translation in World Politics. Get your free copy here. The owner somewhat understood the latter, but asked me to be more specific. I explained that I was referring to people who love people of the same-sex or whose gender identity does not match their biological identity.

Is this about homo s [6]? However, discrimination exists at a systematic and institutional level, as Japan does not have an anti-discrimination law, same-sex partnerships are only recognised to a limited extent in certain cities, and workplace discrimination, bullying, and suicide rates continue to be a problem for the queer population. The current consensus seems to be that queer culture is tolerated, so long as it stays segregated and does not disturb the majority Equaldex n.

In addition to their fight for human rights within a national context, the queer community is facing an additional internal struggle regarding their direction, approach, and even terminology. Until then, the Japanese queer community had evolved differently than the Western model, intertwined but facing different obstacles, developing separate terminologies and performances McLelland , A paradigm shift occurred in , which saw an almost full switch from local terminology and discourse to Anglicised terms and symbolism that gained national attention, in what is informally referred to as the LGBT Boom Horie This chapter offers a short overview of queer discourse in Japan, the state and terminology of the LGBT Boom, and its position within national and global queer discourse.

Though cases of same-sex love, cross-dressing, and individuals living as genders different from what was assigned at birth are documented throughout premodern Japanese history, they do not match current understandings of gay or transgender identities, as they were consolidated within strict social roles, linked to lifestyle or religious occupations, not placed within a heterosexual dichotomy, and referred almost exclusively to males Horie , —; Itani , —; McLelland In the late nineteenth century, Japan adopted many Western values in the handling of relationships, institutions, familial relations, and social values, which extended to public stances on homosexuality.

Though the Japanese sodomy law was lifted after only twelve years, the taboo lived on in the public consciousness, and transsexualism was pathologised McLelland , 22—25; Itani , —; Mitsuhashi , Removed from the public sphere, Japanese queer culture steadily developed throughout the twentieth century in bars, underground magazines, and an entertainment sector mostly consisting of gay men and crossdressers Yonezawa ; McLelland Attempts to politicise their discourse and form alternate communities are noticeable starting in the s, within grassroots gatherings, gay magazines, and the occasional breach into politics or mainstream entertainment McLelland et al.

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Most notably, transgender advocates achieved a series of successes starting in the mids: Gender Identity Disorder GID was translated into Japanese in , which led to the legalisation of sex reassignment surgery Itani , In , trans woman Kamiwaka Aya became the first elected Japanese LGBT politician, and worked to introduce a law which allowed trans citizens to change their gender in the Official Family Register.

While severely limited, this set a precedent as the first legal recognition of queer people in Japan, Kamikawa ; Taniguchi Pride celebrations spread across the country, and over 70, people attended the Tokyo parade [7]. The international wave of civil partnership laws prompted discussion among the national policy-makers, and Shibuya ward in Tokyo was the first to make them official in [8] , followed by another five districts and cities the following year.

The — election season brought another four LGBT politicians into city councils and even the national assembly. By , it seemed that Japan had managed to establish a solid queer presence that breached into mainstream politics. Within the community, a counter-discourse is forming around members who are against LGBT Boom goals and values such as same-sex marriage, coming out, focus on visibility and assimilation, and the terminology of the discourse itself.

The following section is concerned with the terminology and symbolism that are currently employed by the Japanese queer community, and how they entered the vernacular. Loanwords in the queer community are not a recent phenomenon.

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However, these terms were used exclusively within queer spaces, especially in gay bars and cruising sites. Most of the currently used LGBT terms were initially adopted in the post-war period, but their meanings and extent have shifted considerably; it was during the Gay Boom that queer terminology took a more definitive Anglocentric approach, and previous terminology borrowed and native alike started to be considered archaic, old-fashioned, or derogatory.

The change was amplified by the efforts of queer activist groups in changing and adopting Japanese queer terminology in a direction that separates it from allusions to femininity, prostitution, and medicalised jargon Lunsing , 82— To keep up with the shifting terminology, members of the community employ various tactics. One way in which activists confront the linguistic barrier is through the constant explanation of terms. Many queer websites and pamphlets feature explanations of the terms in a visible area; the following is a typical example, as seen in a pamphlet advertising IDAHO the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia :.

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Figure 1. Reproduced with permission. Explanations start by singling out the letters of the LGBT acronym in the Roman alphabet, then rendering it phonetically, followed by a short explanation of the meaning either mechanically women who love women, men who love men, people whose lifestyle does not match the one assigned at birth, etc. Often, they add an explanation as to why the native or commonly used terms are considered inappropriate.

The Discourse-Historical Approach

Activists are currently in favour of LGBT terminology, despite the linguistic barrier. This is mainly due to the history of these terms and their development within — and especially outside — the community. The following is a breakdown of how L,G,B, and T entered the Japanese vernacular, and what they are meant to replace. As the Japanese language does not feature the letter L , lesbian has entered the language as r ezubian.

The word rezubian was first recorded in Japan in , referring to a female bartender dressed as a man Sugiura , Later, its abbreviation, rezu , became associated with male-oriented pornography, though it was one of the many terms employed by grassroots lesbian movements starting in the s. R ezubian as a self-named identity took over during the s Horie One major problem that it faced was the negative connotation that the word rezubian especially rezu had for being used by male-targeted lesbian pornography — not only did lesbians have to inform others of their existence, but they had to erase the previous negative usage of the word Kakefuda Rezubian was shortened to bian by the Lesbian community around the mids, as they wanted to refer to themselves using a word that discarded its mainstream connotation.

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Such discourses may in turn reproduce or modify social relationships. In a particular example of how this process of language community formation happens in a specific LGBTQ community, transgender people and transvestites may use vocabulary that includes members and excludes non-members to establish social identity and solidarity and to exclude outsiders. As these social groups are particularly likely to be viewed negatively by outsiders, the use of a private language can serve to keep membership in the group a secret to outsiders while allowing group members to recognize their own.

Some members of a community may use stylistic and pragmatic devices to index and exaggerate orientations and identities, but others may deliberately avoid stereotypical speech. In this way, for example, speaking forcefully is associated with masculinity but also with confidence and authority.

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Speakers may have a shared interest, and respond to a mutual situation, and through communicating regularly they may develop certain speech norms. The innovative speech norms that LGBTQ people may use within their communities of practice can be spread through institutions like schools where person of many classes, races, and genders come together. These particular speech traits may be spread through the adoption of use by people with association to LGBTQ identities. People often are members of multiple communities, and which community they want to be most closely associated with may vary.

For some gay men, the primary self-categorization is their identity as gay men. To achieve recognition as such, gay men may recognize and imitate forms of language that reflect the social identity of gay men, or which are stereotypically considered to be characteristic to gay men.

For example, they may be used only in jest, or may be used more seriously to stabilize a group of gay men and bond its members together. The development of gay identity may differ for men and women. For many women, regardless of orientation, female identity is more important than sexual identity.

Where gay men feel a need to assert themselves against male heterosexual norms, lesbians may be more concerned about sexism than about lesbian identity. Most studies of lesbian speech patterns focus on conversational patterns, as in Coates and Jordan and Morrish and Saunton Women draw on a variety of discourses, particularly feminist discourses, to establish themselves as not submissive to heteropatriarchy by using cooperative all-female talk, which is marked by less distinct turns and a more collaborative conversational environment.

Often the conversational bond between women overrides their sexual identities. An example of a distinctive way of speaking for a female community is that of female bikers. Dykes on Bikes , a mostly lesbian group, and Ladies of Harley, a mostly heterosexual group, have demonstrated shared experiences. Though the two cultures differ, both have a focus on female bonding and motorcycles and have a shared female biker language.

Their shared language helps to establish their shared identity in a largely male-dominated domain and to mark boundaries between them and traditional femininity. Changing speech styles, or code-switching , can indicate which identity individuals want to put forward as primary at a given time. Choices of language use among gay men depend on the audience and context, [39] and shift depending on situational needs such as the need to demonstrate or conceal gay identity in a particular environment.

Likewise, lesbians may foreground lesbian identity in some contexts but not in others. For example, a gay man might use certain key words and mannerisms generally known by the community as a test to see whether they are recognized by the interlocutor. This allows the gay man to establish solidarity with a community member previously unknown to him without having to disclose his orientation to a heterosexual and potentially hostile person.

However, inconsistency of language use between different sub-groups of the LGBTQ community, along with the existence of non-members who may be familiar with a gay mode of speech, can make such exploratory switching unreliable. People may also use code-switching to comment on society or for entertainment. Imitations do not necessarily represent actual language use of a group, but rather the generally recognized stereotypical speech of that group. In the language of drag performers, language play is also marked by juxtaposition of contradictory aspects such as very proper language mixed with obscenities, adding to the queens' and kings' deliberate disruption of cultural and linguistic norms.

Don Kulick argues that the search for a link between sexual identity categories and language is misplaced, since studies have failed to show that the language gay men and lesbians use is unique. Kulick argues that though some researchers may be politically motivated to imagine a LGBTQ community that is a unified whole and identifiable through linguistic means, this speech community does not necessarily exist as such. Further, Kulick takes issue with frequently circular definitions of queer speech. Studies of a speech community that presuppose the existence of that community may reproduce stereotypes that fail to accurately depict the social reality of variance among subgroups within a community and overlapping identities for individuals. Furthermore, studies of gay male language use often look at middle class European Americans who are out as gay to the exclusion of other subgroups of the LGBTQ community, and hence may draw misleading conclusions about the community as a whole. Rusty Barrett suggests that the idea of the homogeneous speech community could perhaps be more accurately replaced by one of a queer community based on community spirit or a queer cultural system, since language use varies so greatly. This section explores how traditional approach to the study of language and gender may be flawed and why.

George Lakoff explained the inaccuracy of metonymic models , through which people jump to conclusions without sufficient elaboration, giving rise to prototype effects , in his book Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things. First of all, we commonly consider typical examples as the better examples of a category. For instance, in the category of fruits, apples and oranges are typical examples.

It is common practice that we engage in reasoning by making inferences from typical to non-typical examples. As a matter of fact, an enormous amount of our knowledge about categories of things is organized in terms of typical cases. We constantly draw inferences on the basis of that kind of knowledge. Second, salient examples, which are familiar and memorable, are unconsciously used in our understanding of things. For instance, if one's best friend is a vegetarian and they don't know any others well, they will tend to generalize from their best friend to other vegetarians.

This is what Tversky and Kahneman referred to as the " conjunction fallacy ". To understand this notion via probability theory , think of two mutually unrelated events. The theory assumes that the likelihood of the co-occurrence of the two events is lower than that of the occurrence of either, ignoring the fact that the two events are actually unrelated to one another. To understand this with regards to lavender linguistics, just because two individuals are both self-identified bisexual males does not necessarily mean that they must engage in the same linguistic patterns and social styles.

The failure to capture this asymmetry between prototypical and non-prototypical cases results in ineffective study of lavender linguistics. Typical and salient examples are just two kinds of metonymic models. Others include social stereotypes, ideal cases, paragons, generators, and submodels. A significant multitude of scholastic studies have shown that the linguistic styles of GLB and straight people are not mutually exclusive. Munson et al. The 44 talkers included equal number of GLB and straight people.

When averaged across the 40 listeners, ratings for individual talkers showed some overlap between GLB and straight people. For example, the two men who were tied with the most-gay average ratings included one self-identified straight man, and one self-identified gay man. While there are group level differences between GLB and straight people in the gay soundness of their voices, overlap does exist, providing a serious challenge to a simple model in which speech differences were the inevitable consequence of sexual orientation.

Contemporary sociolinguistic studies suggest that styles are learned, rather than assigned at the time of birth. With that said, identities emerge in a time series of social practice, through the combined effects of structure and agency. Because social identities are not static, the speech community model , which was traditionally employed as a sociolinguistic framework in the study of language and gender, is not as reliable as the community of practice model , the new framework emerged from practice theory.

Doyle, G. Godwin, B. Hollows and S. Nye eds Assaults on Convention: essays on lesbian transgressors , London: Cassell, pp.