Fruits in Suits (FinS) has been running in Tokyo since 2014, and is the namesake of the original organization that began in 1996 in Sydney, Australia, as part of the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Business Association. With chapters also in Hong Kong, Singapore, Melbourne and Brisbane, it is the largest network of LGBTQ business professionals in the Asia-Pacific region.
FinS Japan holds its primary, semi-formal networking dinner events on a bimonthly basis, and collaborates with other LGBTQ organizations and our corporate sponsors to host events that support a wide range of initiatives and artistic projects in Japan's LGBT community. An overview of our 2017 calendar will be posted soon.
1. LGBTQ Community Development
FinS became a legal association on August 28, 2016, and continues to grow in size with a current membership of over 1,500 professional men and women (March, 2017). Our membership is diverse: 40% of our members are from Japan, and the rest are represented by over 30 countries, spanning from southeast Asia, India and Australia to North America and Europe. Our group is inclusive: there are no restrictions to membership. We welcome both those individuals who identify as sexual minorities and those who are allies of our community's mission.
So, one might ask the question: what is community? One definition is "a group of people with a common characteristic or interest living together within a larger society." On the face of things, this seems obvious. Community, however, has many layers of meaning, among which is "persons linked by a common policy." In this sense, discriminatory or unequal policies may engender and catalyze communities that were otherwise latent or unknown. For FinS, "community" means more than shared interests or being targeted by inequitable legislation--community is engaged social activity. It is fellowship. It is visibility. It is voice. We cannot afford to lack, sidestep or ignore these elements.
Our group is committed not only to creating a regular space and platform to give voice and foster fellowship among individuals and organizations within the LGBT community, but also to be a platform that provides access to resources and collaborates with local business leaders to further LGBT causes in JAPAN. See OUR WORK. Join our Facebook page.
2. LGBTQ professionals network
Our goal at FinS is to be involved in helping to change life for the better for the LGBT community of Japan. We achieve this not alone but by joining with many other groups and organizations in combining forces, intellect, experience, knowledge, and that basic instinct of wanting the same rights as everyone else, not to be treated differently but to be able to enjoy basic human rights. Over the years FinS has collaborated with various organizations to map out or create a specific program, a study or simply fight a cause. Below is some of our work and or donations to the community.
3. Support LGBTQ businesses in Japan
While building the professional network, we would naturally like to promote businesses in the community who available and could benefit from a collective marketing platform to our 700+ members.
Whether you need to buy flowers, arrange catering or a flight ticket; there should be a directory of all businesses servicing the LGBTQ community as either business owners or supporting institutions.
4. Support LGBTQ initiatives and projects
FinS EVENTS, primarily focus and showcase businesses, from the LGBT community and those who wish to market to the community. The businesses showcased collaborate with FinS on a theme, use the ‘home event venue’, work together on the set-up and how to best market products and services to our community and the FinS members. These not only are highlighted with an event at the monthly gatherings but also extend to e-newsletters, the FinS website, monthly marketing fliers and best of all ‘word-of-mouth’ awareness.
Ultimately we would like to be the central organization bridging between youth, LGBTQ organizations and the groups who are seeking funding for their plights.
A more focused effort in fundraising will allow grassroots organizations to get organized and achieve their goals more rapidly which is one of the main challenges of any groups especially those in the LGBTQ community.
Above photograph provided by Jared Chambers
HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED
- Participate in our events
- Donate to the Japan Pride fund
- Volunteer for one of our projects
- Volunteer at our booth for Tokyo Rainbow Pride (May 6-7, 2017)
- Recommend ideas and speakers
- Consult with us for LGBTA training and educational seminars at your work or school