A group of U.S. lawmakers last month met with a prominent transgender activist in Japan while they were in the country. U.S.
Reps. Mark Takano (D-Calif.), Maxwell Alejandro Frost (D-Fla.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and French Hill (R-Ark.) met with Fumino Sugiyama, a former member of Japan’s female fencing team who is now fighting for legal recognition of trans people in Japan.
The D.C.-based Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation, which organized the congressional delegation that also included a trip to South Korea, arranged the meeting. “Members of the delegation were very, very impressed with Fumino,” Takano told the Washington Blade last week during a telephone interview.
Frost, who is the first Gen Z’er elected to Congress, on Feb. 24 in a series of tweets praised Fumino and his advocacy efforts. “One of my favorite meetings in Tokyo was meeting with trans organizer and activist, Fumino Sugiyama,” tweeted Frost. “Japan is still working through passing real anti-discrimination laws to protect LGBTQ+ folks and I felt incredibly inspired by Fumino and his fight.” “He laid out the struggle and how the community is battling both legal and cultural roadblocks to even be recognized,” said Frost. “I spoke with him about the current fight in Florida and how Gov.