(Translator's note: This post is a continuation of a previous entry.)
Cross-Dressing and Society
My Dearest Desire: Same-sex marriage was recently ruled legal in USA and it may become legal in other countries as well. Do you think Japan will eventually legalize it?
Kaoru Oshima: I definitely see that happening. One problem though about same-sex marriages is the general population's still somewhat lack of understanding about homosexual relationships. I think that—understanding—is the first big step Japan needs to achieve in order to have same-sex marriages legalized in the future.
MDD: Do you think there are many cross-dressers in Japan like yourself?
MDD: Is discrimination against cross-dressers strong in Japan? Have you ever encountered it from the police or a government official?
KO: I haven't experienced much discrimination. Everyone's actually pretty nice. The treatment of LGBT's in Japan is rather cautious and muted, but not necessarily in a bad way.
MDD: Your Facebook page says that you live in Osaka which is known as a very lively place. Are there more cross-dressers there than in Tokyo?
KO: I'm pretty sure there are way more cross-dressers in Tokyo.
MDD: Do you feel that the popularity of internet social services like Twitter and Facebook have helped those who cross-dress and those who identify as a LGBT be more comfortable with who they are?
KO: Yes, I think social networking sites are great for LGBT's because it's proof that there's many of us out there and we can easily communicate with each other.
MDD: The Japanese corporate work environment does not seem to welcome change and individuality. College seniors keep their hair black, wear recruit suits, and act like machines during interviews. For someone such as yourself who truly identifies as something far from the norm, do you feel your options for work outside of the entrainment industry are limited?
KO: I don't think it's that bad now. I feel there are definitely companies now that have adapted and would hire a cross-dresser without issue.
MDD: What changes would you like to see as to how LGBT's are treated in Japan? Is there anything you, Kaoru Oshima, hope to do to help?
KO: I don't feel that there's much I can personally do.
MDD: Lastly, do you have anything you would like to say to your foreign fans in Portuguese or English (or both!)? Don't be shy!
KO: Ola！Eu e Kaoru Oshima. Eu vou ao Brasil algum dia. Tchau tchau.
Hi! I'm Kaoru Oshima. Have you see my video yet? I'm happy that you look at this. Xoxo.
Kaoru Oshima was kind enough to provide a small sample from his new photo essay book:
“I set a path for myself when I was 23. It felt like I was all alone. Was I straight? Gay? Transitioning to female or what? Neatly categorizing myself ended up looking like a non-option. More than anything, it felt like I really was alone in defining my unique stance at life and this is what makes Kaoru Oshima such an iconic figure.
He's not straight, not gay, and not a newhalf. He's Kaoru Oshima, the living version of 2D cross-dressers from mangas and giving up this lifestyle also was something that simply could not be done.”
Read Bokurashiku here at Amazon
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