This summer Elena Atluri, now a junior majoring in Product Design at School of Engineering, completed her 10 week internship at the end of August. During her two-month internship she pursued her own project exploring real lives of LGBTQ+ people in Japan.

She particularly focused on “Q+ (questioning, queer plus),” which represents loosely categorized people whose sexual orientation and/or gender identity does not fit comfortably in dominant gender labels and conventional social norms.
Her goal was to better understand the real lives of Q+ people in Japan, and to share her findings within i us, who are also not familiar with both the term itself and the people in this group.

She single-handedly approached Q+ people by visiting community spaces both real and virtual. She also approached Q+people through our very few private network. Thankfully, people she managed to meet were all very welcoming and supportive to her project, and she enjoyed fruitful dialogues with each of them.

In the closing presentation for her internship she showed us her vision as a designer to naturally create things and services that take Q+ people into consideration. The reality of words and feelings of Q+ people that emerged from her presentation was a real eye-opener for all of us, and it inspired us to think and discuss this issue as our own.

With Elena, this internship program resumed after the three year break due to COVID. We cannot thank more the people at Stanford Kyoto Program who had diligently kept the window open during the pandemic and made our great learning opportunity with interns happen again.