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Masa Yanagisawa | TEDxTokyo 2012

Acceptance. We all crave it, but some perfectly wonderful people still feel that they have to hide their true selves. Last summer, the nonprofit organization Good Aging Yells opened an LGBT-friendly cafe, Colorful Café, in Hayama. Open only on weekends, it still drew more than 1100 customers and sponsorship by major corporations like Softbank and Alfa Romeo. Masa Yanagisawa, 2011 Colorful Café’s manager and project head, says he’s no activist, just an ordinary salaryman like you see every day. That’s the whole point of the café—although we should say cafés, since this summer the project is expanding to twenty cafés in Tokyo and Kyoto as part of the Welcome Café project. These bistros will welcome lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender customers and non-LGBT folks alike, providing a place to just hang out and be yourself. Good Aging Yells also hosts seminars on topics such as financial planning for sexual minorities and produces LGBT student recruiting events.