“We Know Faggotry Very Well!”

Source: Levent Pişkin, “Biz İbneliği Çok İyi Biliriz!” (“Levent Pişkin: “We Know Faggotry Very Well!”) bianet, 21 November 2013, http://bit.ly/1aSIcIR

As someone who has participated in fag politics and has been a self-identified fag for years, I am filing a formal criminal complaint against the Prime Minister, we will not leave faggotry to them! We claim both faggotry and its honor and shame.

During his July 17th, 2013 speech at the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) provincial managers’ meeting, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said, “if Alevism is to love the Caliph Ali, I’m a perfect Alevi.”

I do not dare debate that Erdoğan misunderstood Alevism; the proper response was already handed to him at the time by Alevi foundations and federations. His subsequent opening of a “brotherhood project,” where a mosque and a cemevi [Alevi meeting house] are constructed within each other, goes to show how little he understands Alevis, who have been struggling against assimilation for so many years.

Around that time, we were running a campaign over social media with the hashtag “#AnayasadaLGBT” (“LGBT in the Constitution”). We, the LGBTI community, were wondering when it was going to be our turn to get Erdoğan’s constant comments of the state of “I’m perfect” and his scolding of others with “we will not be learning that from you.” Because Erdoğan was everything other than an Armenian, a Greek, or an LGBTI; he was a Kurd, an Alevi, and a headscarved woman and all of these he “knew very well.”

But LGBTIs also exist in this country. I mean the people that you find “very entertaining” and walk together during the Pride Parade but gaze upon with scoffing looks on the street otherwise; LGBTIs whose right to life is not granted and whose murderers are rewarded with “unjust provocation” reductions.

Anyhow, we were up against a Prime Minister who claimed ownership over oppressed identities and yet continued to oppress them. One had to ask, why leave the LGBTI out if you incorporate all oppressed identities into the self and also to question, why these oppressed groups continue to be oppressed despite this discourse. I had a limited number of characters to say this: only 140!

And once you write #AnayasadaLGBT, you are left with 125 characters. One had to say it somehow: we were running an LGBTI campaign and, as usual, the issue was not only about sexual orientation or gender identity but also the solidarity of sexual minorities with ethnic and religious minorities!

My expression to summarize the situation that day was: “Waiting for Erdoğan to declare, ‘I am a perfect fag. Obviously I will not learn how to be a fag from you.’ #AnayasadaLGBT.” We wrote this and then I kept on living my “ordinary” life and my “faggotry.” Till one day a police officer handed me a subpoena.

When they are not “writing mythologies,” apparently the cops of our supreme state also work as summons officers. The subpoena was informing me that there was a complaint against me for “insulting a public officer” and that I should therefore appear at the Vatan Police Department’s Security Office to give my statement.

When I asked our dearest officers if they knew what this was about, they responded, “You insulted our Prime Minister. You are expected at the station.”

I wondered, by God, what could I have said and decided to go to the station. Naturally, thanks to the most precious piece of information I gained as a result of my 4-year education in law, I was not going to give a statement but only learn my “crime.”

When I was united with my file at the station, I finally learned my “crime.” I called the Prime Minister a “fag.” I discussed the tweet for which I was being accused above. I disdain speaking about the legal aspects of the issue because since 1923, justice is only a precept written in the constitution of this country.

What the heck could law be in a place where the state gifts us with extrajudicial murders and unknown assailants, taxes and punishes us over our existence, jails lawyers, journalists, and elected officials?

We know law through unjust provocation reductions in cases of murders of women, trans, and gay people. Was it not about freeing rapists and punishing the victims in rape cases?

To sum it up, of course I am not going to argue that “crime is not committed” in this place where the state ignores the law that it is bound by. I am especially not going to argue that the “expression” was left at the attempt stage and did not “impeach” the specific person directly. Because there is no crime here, Erdoğan is committing the crime here. He is scorning a sexual orientation and targeting a specific section of society.

In so far as the term gay expresses an identity/ sexual orientation, the term faggot is no different, it is an identity that belongs to this land. It is as humiliating to call someone heterosexual as it is to call them gay/ faggot.

Insult has been the suitable treatment of LGBTIs for years. It is embodied by the fact that our murderers are being rewarded by unjust provocation and good behavior reductions. It is within the facts that imams refuse to bury us, that trans women’s hair is cut so they “look like a man,” that you practice discrimination in your anti-discrimination laws, in your denial of our existence, in your punishment of our existence every night using the Misdemeanors Law.

The insult is what Süleyman “the Hose” did in Ülker Street, what the Sledgehammer team (“Balyoz Timi”) did to trans individuals in Ankara. Therefore, this situation that may turn into a lawsuit is political, it is not a “criminal complaint” against me but against the LGBTI movement.

This is against everyone who is in solidarity with the fag and queer politics, who struggles for LGBTI rights, who resists heterosexism/ heteronormativity. This is why there is no “legal” defense that I will mount in this case. Law, in this case, is null and void! It is a non-existent provision!

The only thing I recognize in this lawsuit is “faggotry.” I, as someone who has been participating in fag politics and has been a self-identified fag for years, am filing a criminal complaint against Recep Tayyip Erdoğan; we are not leaving fags/ faggotry to him!

Being a fag is neither a sin nor a shame. We are reclaiming faggotry, we are reclaiming its honor and its shame too. Reclaiming an identity is the result of the accumulation of the organized resistance we have been mounting for 21 years. Erdoğan and his followers were unable to learn faggotry despite the shouts of 80,000 people in the last Pride Parade.

We can teach you. How about you learn this one from us? We know faggotry very well!

Translator’s Note

*The Turkish term ibne is originally derived from the Arabic word “boy” and is widely used today as a derogatory slang for gay men. The Turkish Language Institute Dictionary defines ibne as “a passive homosexual man” and “a word said in anger.”  The term is being reclaimed by many in the LGBTI movement in Turkey. The court case of Levent Pişkin can be seen as a critical instance of such reclamation.  In this sense, ibne’s current connotations lie somewhere between the American English terms “fag” and “queer.”


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