Before we go any further, a disclaimer: Tokyo Comic-Con is not related to Comic-Con International in San Diego. Comic-Con International does not have the a crossplay restriction at their event.
Score one for equality!
Earlier this week, the Tokyo Comic-Con raised eyebrows among the cosplay community for imparting a ban on male crossplayers. The news broke shortly after the convention released its annual rules and regulations.
At a glance, the restriction looked pretty boilerplate. The usual details, such as locker room usage times, registration fees, and the like are present, along with a list of banned costumes.
The banned costumes list was similarly simple. It includes the expected, like transparent costumes and real military uniforms, along with more fuzzy listings like “costumes that show too much skin.” Oh, it also banned crossplay.
One of the bullet points on this year’s “banned” list was a specific restriction for male cosplayers who wish to cosplay as female characters. A similar limitation wasn’t in place for the opposite case.
Thankfully, the ban didn’t last long. The convention released an update regarding the policy:
A rough translation is below:
The event’s committee consulted regarding this policy, and we are happy to announce that we are cancelling the crossplay ban.
Incidentally, along with the cancellation of the ban, we will issue cosplay registration badges by color to specify gender.
We do ask that attendees confirm their cosplay registrations at the entrances of bathrooms, changing rooms, and the like.
Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.
The news comes just days after various outlets reported the news.
In particular, photographer Naoko Tatibana, who built her career around serving the LGBT community commented on the ban in a column with Rocket News 24. She noted that, “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.”
The publication also reported that event staff express fears of events being overrun by the stereotypical unattractive male in a schoolgirl uniform, or similar.
Sadly, the rule is becoming increasingly common at fan event across Japan. For example, crossplay was totally banned at 2013’s “Cosumel in Cosmo Tower” event, which was held in a government building. In that event’s case, though, residents were also able to lobby the government to lift the restriction.