TV & Radio
Gender confused get ticket to ride in women's only carriages - Mainichi
Lesbians have been ticked pink that since earlier this month nearly all Tokyo commuter trains have women's only carriages during the packed morning rush hour, according to Weekly Playboy (5/31). Straight women have welcomed the move to ban guys from one carriage on most commuter trains, saying it has made for more spacious, less smelly commutes without the likelihood of being molested, an occupational hazard for nearly every woman passenger in the capital at one time or another.
While most railway companies have dismissed questions about policies regarding lesbians, transsexuals or homosexual men riding in women's only carriages, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government's Transport Authority, which runs three subway lines, willingly obliged with a reply.
"Of course lesbians are welcome to ride (in women's only carriages)," an authority spokesman tells Weekly Playboy. "In cases where men try to ride in the carriages, we are getting station attendants to convince them to cooperate with the policy. However, if a man insists that he is a woman, a transsexual or suffering from a gender disorder, we will allow them to ride in the restricted entry carriages."
Lesbians, meanwhile, have generally welcomed the women's only carriages as much as the vast majority of women who have elected to use them, if not always for the same reasons.
"A packed carriage with only women inside is like a dream come true," Ken, a butch lesbian, tells the men's weekly. "I thought that with every rock of the carriage, it would allow me and my partner to kiss and mash our boobs. But actually, the carriages are so damned quiet, it's like a morgue inside them."
Kan, a femme lesbian, has no such gripe.
"Many women become lesbians because they've been through some past terrible experience at the hands of a man. That's what makes (women's only carriages) so relieving," Kan tells Weekly Playboy. "(Women's only carriages) are sort of like a train version of lesbian bars for entertainment. We feel more at ease in a lesbian bar than we would at a normal drinking place and it's the same on the trains."
Some warn that other members of Japan's homosexual community views the women's only carriages in a slightly different light.
"If women's only carriages don't have the same packed conditions as other carriages, it can only mean that those other cars are more crowded than ever before. That makes it even more likely women traveling in those carriages are going to be felt up," Mikaeru, the (male) mama-san of gay bar Beard Girl, tells Weekly Playboy. "And don't forget, train gropers don't only target women. If regular carriages are even more crowded and men are more densely packed inside them, I wouldn't be surprised to see a rapid increase in the number of gay molesters and straight men who have been groped by them."
May 20, 2005