Mickey Mouse Is Totally Cool With Gay Marriage (in Japan, Anyhow)

Illustration for article titled Mickey Mouse Is Totally Cool With Gay Marriage (in Japan, Anyhow)

Progressive politics isn't the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Disneyland, which is why everyone was surprised this week when Disneyland in Tokyo said it will allow same sex couples to get married in the park—though their policy appears to be something of a work in progress.

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A lesbian couple had initially sought to get married there, and they were told they could if they dressed "like a man and a woman." The park was apparently worried that visitors might not be able to bear the shock of seeing two people in wedding dresses or two people in tuxedos. Anyway, a spokeswoman for the park later said it had all been a misunderstanding, and the couple was welcome to marry there wearing whatever they liked, but they just couldn't do it in the wedding chapel because of "Christian teachings." The couple has yet to set a wedding date, but, according to one of the women, they did visit the park to break the good news to Mickey: "Mickey first looked surprised to hear that we are a couple of girls. But we said we were there to thank him … and he celebrated with us." That must have been quite a sight.

The park has now said it will accept all applications for same-sex weddings. Though they're only symbolic ceremonies at this point, since the Japanese government doesn't recognize gay marriages. The only reason a couple might not choose to take Mickey up on his kind offer to host their wedding is that it costs 7.5 million yen, which is more than $93,000. On the bright side, that exorbitant price does include a ceremony in Cinderella's castle and a full guest list of Disney characters.

Mickey Mouse follows Obama in backing gay marriage [Guardian]

DISCUSSION

kyosuke
Kat Callahan

The value in this is in exposure. In Japan, the general consensus when it comes to LGBT individuals is that it is private and it is not a problem unless it becomes public. There are a few LGBT lawmakers, but even they have to navigate very carefully. The biggest threat to LGBT acceptance in Japan is, in my opinion, the various shows which have over-the-top LGBT characters. Haado Gay comes to mind. However, recently shows like Aoi Hana and Hourou Musuko have been portraying LGBT individuals in realistic and accurate ways, especially in terms of showing how discrimination is conducted in a passive-aggressive manner. In the West we are focused on coming to terms with LGBT individuals as normal members of society. It has become increasingly hard for even extremely conservative individuals to honestly say that do not know someone who is gay. In Japan, there is barely a recognition that LGBT individuals exist outside of as stereotypes in popular media. It isn't quite as bad as Iran and President "We Have No Gay People," but there is definitely a sense of, "We have so few, it isn't something to worry about."