Seven members of the Bristol, England
gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender group Freedom Youth are
visiting Japan to take part in an inaugural educational exchange
program, reports the Kyodo News International.
The seven will arrive in Tokyo August
18th, and also plan a cultural trip to Kyoto.
While in Tokyo, the seven young people,
aged from 16 to 21, will be co-facilitating educational workshops on
LGBT issues affecting young people. A larger public event on August
24th at Tokyo's International Youth Center is set to
involve a couple of hundred people.
Organized LGBT events aimed at young
people are rare in Japan and where gay youth support networks are almost
“LGBT young people are amongst some
of the most disadvantaged young people in the country. They are a
group who are often denied access to mainstream opportunities.
Involvement in the planning and delivery of an international exchange
provides a unique platform where they can develop personally and
socially,” Rose Richards, Bristol City Council Head of Youth and
Play Services, told Kyodo News.
“The impact of this exchange has been
phenomenal already. Just by giving young people the opportunity to
come together and overcome their isolation by developing their social
networks, they secure mutual support, self-confidence and
self-esteem,” she said.
A group of LGBT Japanese youth are
scheduled to travel to Bristol, England in 2009.
The entire trip is set to be the
subject of a Japanese documentary by the Japan Broadcasting Co.
On the net: Freedom Youth website is at