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[Internal online event] Why I came out as gay: Accountant gives online lecture

An online lecture entitled "Why I came out as a gay accountant" was held from 17:00 through 18:30 on July 28 in Japan, featuring Certified Public Accountant and Licensed Tax Accountant in Tokyo, Takenori Watanabe as our guest. Some 400 Sony Group employees participated in this online live event. During the interactive lecture, guest speaker Mr. Watanabe responded to online questions and comments submitted anonymously by over 100 participating employees.

Kicking off the event, Kenichi Mochizuki, General Manager, Diversity & Engagement Electronics HR Division said, "The expression LGBT is gradually becoming better-known and understood concept for us as a result of in-company training programs and recent social trends. The fact remains, however, that the parties concerned are not very visible yet. How can we remedy this? What is the problem? I suspect there are factors that are difficult to identify. At today's event, we hope that we could feel a realistic idea of the parties concerned through Mr. Watanabe's lecture." Then master of ceremonies Toshihiro Kazama, Senior Manager, General Affairs and HR at Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE)appeared wearing an SIE rainbow T-shirt. An anonymous post saying it was cute was liked by many participants, evoking a sense of closeness among the participants.

Staff photo through the screen (before the event started)
Master of ceremonies appeared wearing a rainbow T-shirt
Message for the online event
Mr. Watanabe spoke frankly about himself.
Attentively reading anonymous comments and questions …

Mr. Watanabe said, "I think I met people from Sony for the first time at the LGBT Workshop during the 2015 Diversity Week. I recall the session on basic LGBT knowledge and a workshop which were held on the first floor of Sony's head office building. During the 2016 Tokyo Rainbow Pride the following year, people from the Sony Group asked me to participate as a volunteer, and I worked with them on running the Sony booth. It brings back happy memories. I hope everyone I met on that occasion is well!" Reading the comments and questions that were flooding in, he told his story about coming out, feeling participants closely.

Points of Mr. Watanabe's coming out story

  • The relationship with his partner helps him grow
  • The sense of tension telling people he was gay is the same as telling them he is from Hokkaido
  • He wants to lower the barriers to coming out
Mr. Watanabe responds to comments and questions with a smile as he says, "That's great!"

In conclusion, Mr. Watanabe said "I am not sure how well I have conveyed my thoughts and gained your understanding, but the most important thing is that you will get closer to the people involved first. I think it's good if you get in touch with your own feelings, and start thinking about them. They may be that some of your relatives, family, friends, or colleagues close to you at work. There could be relatives, family members, friends, and colleagues close to you who are facing a similar situation. I believe communications based on mutually gentle feelings will help promote diversity activities, leading to greater comfort in work and life." In this way, he tried to make the participants feel more familiar with diversity and the importance of understanding.

Master of ceremonies Kazama closed this online event by commenting that "Hearing about the changes in Mr. Watanabe's feelings reminded us about the importance of proper understanding and the creation of an environment where anyone can reach their full potential at work. It's been a precious time for us to learn, think and feel.

Excerpts from the online questions and impressions posted during the event

  • How did your parent react when you came out?
  • We should never impose our values on others about anything. I want to become more compassionate.
  • There are various genders, aren't there? Everything I learned through this lecture was new to me.
  • It's great to be in a company where you can express your true feelings. It makes me feel safer psychologically.
  • I don't think events like this would have been possible a few years ago. I wonder if the company has changed a lot, too?
  • This opened up a new world to me. It was a real lesson.
  • It wasn't a one-way lecture. There were questions and answers. It was really great, easy to listen to.
  • People expressed their true thoughts, especially through their comments. I somehow felt a strong connection …
  • I read the comments as during the lecture, and was impressed by the diversity of perceptions, even though people were listening to the same lecture, which is not surprising.
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