When asked for his opinion by a viewer who said “I was born a woman; I feel like I’m a man”, theologian Hatipoğlu responded: “You have to control your will.” Social service specialists demanded that theologian Hatipoglu correct his statement following the incident.
Source: “Social service specialists to Nihat Hatipoglu: ‘the expert opinion’ you provided is wrong!” (Sosyal Hizmet Uzmanlarından Nihat Hatipoğlu’na: Verdiğin “Uzman” Bilgisi Yanlış), bianet, May, 24,2018, https://bianet.org/bianet/lgbti/197474-sosyal-hizmet-uzmanlarindan-nihat-hatipoglu-na-verdigin-uzman-bilgisi-yanlis
Social service specialists published a statement, asking the theology professor Nihat Hatipoglu to correct his mistake conflating sexual identity with sexual orientation.
Hatipoglu was in a live broadcast in Sultanahmet Square for a Ramadan program while he was answering peoples’ questions, one asked: “I was born a woman but I feel myself a man and I like women.”
Hatipoglu replied: “You’re a woman, you were born a woman. This is a test for you and you have to struggle with it. It’s not your desire, but your belief and your mind you must surrender to.”
The Association of Social Service Specialists (SHU-Der) branches in Ankara, Istanbul, Izmir and Diyarbakir, together with Kaos GL and Genc LGBTI+’s Social Services Studies Groups made a joint declaration and have asked Hatipoglu to amend his statement.
The social service specialists said: “The responsibilities of specialists must be recognized, while the ones who have these responsibilities must leave behind their biases/prejudices. We want Nihat Hatipoglu to correct the statement he has made; reminding him that his ‘expert’ opinions were wrong, he should ask for the expertise of psychologists who are working with LGBTI individuals as well as social service specialists.”
The press statement follows below:
“We all know that in 1990 on 17th of May, homosexuality was declassified from the list of International Classification of Diseases by the World Health Organization.
Because of society’s heteronormative perspective on LGBTI individuals’ sexual identity and sexual orientation, they are facing many problems such as being rejected, misunderstood, repressed, censored, as well as the violation of their fundamental rights.
Lecturer Doc. Koray Basar from Hacettepe University stated on Kaos GL website: “such prejudices from doctors or theologians disguised as ‘expert opinions’ will only turn the lives of the people and their loved ones to hell. Experts have to know their responsibilities and should not let the prejudices take over their responsibilities.”
“As a result of hate crimes, LGBTI individuals are deprived of their most fundamental rights, the right to live and and as such they face difficulties in accessing social services, employment, education, accommodation and healthcare. Problems LGBTI individuals experience in these domains render them potential recipients of social services and psychological counseling.”
“Human rights and social justice are the basis of social service work. Within this framework, based on human rights, the fight against discrimination based on race, ethnicity, nationality, skin colour, gender, sexual identity and sexual orientation, marital status, political opinion, religious belief and mental or physical disability; is one of the responsibilities of this job. Therefore, we demand that Nihat Hatipoglu correct the statement he has made; and we remind him that his “expert” opinions were wrong. Hatipoglu should ask for the opinion of psychologists and other social service specialists who working with LGBTI individuals.”
“In spite of the limited capacity of public services due to a lack of policies, we want to remind that social service specialists and psychologists are here to assist all LGBTI individuals to protect their rights, to provide the psychosocial support they need until a better model is developed to protect against discrimination.”