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FOR 2019 RUGBY WORLD CUP

Tokyo: Pop-up Pride House opens for LGBT fans

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As the Rugby World Cup got underway recently, a pop-up venue for LGBT and other sexual minority fans opened in Tokyo. Organizers hope to build on for next year’s Olympics and beyond, according to Olympic officials.

The Pride House Tokyo 2019 in the capital’s Harajuku district will be open through Nov. 4 to disseminate information about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and other sexual minorities and serve as a safe space for them during the roughly six-week-long tournament.

Located in a community space for charities, it is the first venue dedicated to awareness of sexual minorities to be launched during a Rugby World Cup and also the first in Japan. It has a library of picture books for children on sexual minorities collected from around the world.

Organizers also plan to hold an event at which openly gay rugby referee Nigel Owens, a Welshman who was to officiate at the opening match between Japan and Russia, spoke.

While the space is a first for rugby’s showcase event, similar spaces have been established in host cities for the Olympics and other international sporting events since 2010.

The Pride House Tokyo Consortium, comprised of individuals, corporations and nonprofit groups, aims to open a similar venue during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

After 2020, the consortium is planning to launch a permanent LGBT center as a legacy of the sporting events, focusing on offering support and consultation services, particularly to younger members of sexual minorities in Japan.