Tokyo Comic-Con Lifts Ban On Men Crossdressing During Cosplays

Did Tokyo Comic-Con just ban men from cosplaying women characters? Well apparently, they did. But not for long.

Cosplay has become a huge part of anime and gaming conventions and, most of the time, not only members of the LGBT take this opportunity to dress up as the opposite gender. How many men have we seen trying to cosplay the magical girls from Sailor Moon, and how many women have we seen going to comic-cons as the male character they adore?

Sailor men [Image by rjrgmc28/Flickr]
Sailor men [Image by rjrgmc28/Flickr]

Crossdressing has become a significant part of cosplays at conventions, and we're pretty sure a couple of men are already gearing up to wear their tiny skirts to the upcoming Tokyo Comic-Con.

But hold on, it seems the Tokyo Comic-Con committee apparently listed in the original cosplay guidelines for the Tokyo Comic-Con that no male shall be allowed to cosplay as a female character. For men who look forward to expressing themselves on such occasions, and of course, to the huge number of gender equality advocates attending these comic-cons, this came as a huge disappointment.

Anime News Network was one of the first to report on this crossdressing cosplay ban, which only applies to men trying to cosplay as women. Women who want to cosplay as men are not included in the ban and may continue to do so. Apparently, these bans are common in comic-cons and other trade events in Japan because organizers worry that an alarming number of men in skirts show up at the convention.

Who wore it better? [Image by Anthony Chodor/Flickr]
Who wore it better? [Image by Anthony Chodor/Flickr]

A Rocket News report writes about photographer Naoko Tatibana, who has not only dedicated her life to advancing the LGBT cause, but also put up a a cross-dressing studio in Tokyo called Taiyodo, where she offers help to men who want to learn how to become more beautiful women. According to Naoko,

"Despite all the exposure transsexuals and cross-dressers are given on TV and in magazines in Japan, men are forbidden from dressing up as the opposite sex at the one place you would think it would be most acceptable: cosplay events."
This is why this time, the Japanese are holding their ground and have approached the Tokyo Comic-Con committee to lift the ban. Take note that in Kabuki Theatre, a traditional form of art in Japan, there are no women actresses allowed on the stage. All the female characters are actually played by men wearing female clothing. The Tokyo Comic-Con crossplay ban has come off as extremely double-standard against men who have seen cosplay as an escape or a way of transformation, and has angered many LGBT advocates and cosplay enthusiasts.

It seems the Tokyo Comic-Con has heard the pleas of its patrons and just today, Kotaku Australia reported that Tokyo Comic-Con has lifted its ban on men dressing as women at the upcoming convention.

The good news has been confirmed by a Reddit member who has noticed that Tokyo Comic-con has already made modifications to the cosplay guidelines listed on its site.

The Tokyo Comic-Con, as a workaround, will be giving attendees color-coded badges upon registration to signify their true gender. This badge will be presented upon entrance to event bathrooms to prevent men crossdressing as women at the Tokyo Comic-Con from entering the female toilets.

Now that sounds like a more reasonable plan.

Crossplay wins! [Image by Greyloch/Flickr]
Crossplay wins! [Image by Greyloch/Flickr]

The Tokyo Comic-Con will run from December 2 to December 4.

[Featured image by Charmaine Morgan Photography/Flickr]