“The nail that sticks out gets hammered down.” This saying is a popular cultural norm in Japan.
Harmony through conformity determines behavior in Japan.
If you are seen threatening this conformity, you are seen as the “nail that sticks out” and society will do what it can to hammer you down.
Schools in Japan hammer down LGBT students in the form of lack of support.
The dearth of informed teachers and officials in education regarding the LGBT community is astonishing.
When students approach their “trusted” teachers and counselors, they are met with ignorance, and worse, bullying. Students find themselves running from peer bullies to teacher bullies.
The international community has certain guidelines that help schools determine regulations regarding this issue.
With a roadmap on how to confront these issues, teachers shouldn’t find themselves interjecting their own personal views in order maintain the “harmony” of the school.
Rather, they should be abiding by a set of procedures that educate them on how to counsel young teens and children regarding their self-discovery.
The rate of suicides and homelessness in the LGBT community worldwide is outrageous. To prevent these dire conditions, educators have to start taking responsibility.
With the 2020 Olympics coming up, the world’s eyes will be on Japan, ramping up the pressure on how they deal with social issues, etc.
The Human Rights Watch organization recommended some actions that could be taken in their report on this issue.
One of these recommendations was to establish standards in teacher training and the curriculum to educate themselves on the LGBT community.
Another stipulation recommended creating a category for LGBT students as a group vulnerable to bullying.
These types of actions allow for a brighter future for students questioning and discovering their gender identities in Japan.
Maybe it is time that we as an international community look to the “nail that sticks out” and instead of hammering it down, we study it to learn more about ourselves.
Looking to each other to learn more about our humanity is not only a way to reduce violence and exclusion, but also increase the progress in our societies.
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This is Kyosei.