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35% say they would find it offensive if colleagues were homosexual or bisexual, Rengo survey

  • January 8, 2017
  • , Nikkei , p. 31
  • JMH Translation

The Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo) conducted a survey of 1,000 company employees to probe their views on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. A total of 35% said they would find it “offensive” or “generally offensive” if their superiors or colleagues were homosexual or bisexual. This suggests that workers’ understanding of sexual minorities is low. More men than women and more older persons than younger persons said they would find it offensive.


Some 22.9% of respondents said they have witnessed or heard of harassment, including use of abusive language, toward LGBT people at their workplaces. Some 11.4% said that they had seen or heard about discriminatory treatment, including desk assignment changes.


A full 81% said that discrimination at the workplace “should be eliminated” while 15.9% said that it is not necessary to eliminate it.


Some 26.3% said they found transgender individuals offensive. In response to a question on bathroom and changing room usage (multiple responses permitted), 47.2% said workers should be allowed to discuss and make arrangements in their offices so that transgender colleagues can use toilets and locker rooms according to their gender identity. Meanwhile, 27.0% said that such considerations were not necessary in particular.


The Rengo survey was conducted online in June and July 2016, of 1,000 male and female company employees between the ages of 20 and 59. Among them, 8% said identified themselves as LGBT. This is about the same as a 2015 Dentsu poll, in which 7.6% of pollees said they were sexual minorities.

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