KESK Union Co-president: All norms should be radically shaken!

The 3rd Symposium against Discrimination brought the Confederation of Public Workers’ Union (KESK), Education and Science Workers’ Union (Egitim-Sen) and Cyprus Turkish Teachers’ Union (KTOS) together.

Source: Hakan Ö., “KESK Union Co-president: All norms should be radically shaken!”, kaosGL.org, 17 December 2014, http://kaosgl.org/page.php?id=18273

Kaos GL Association’s Symposium Against Discrimination took place last weekend in Ankara. Held at Tum Bel-Sen (Trade Union for All Workers of Municipalities and Local Administration Services) Conference Hall, the symposium spread the message that “LGBTI rights are trade union rights”.

The session on union experiences in Turkey and Northern Cyprus was moderated by Turkan Karagoz from Izmir Egitim-Sen Branch No. 2 LGBTI Commission. Below are the highlights from the session’s speakers.


LGBTI rights are trade union rights!

Unionists from eight countries and representatives from LGBTI organizations met in Ankara this weekend for the Kaos GL symposium.

Source: Ömer Akpınar, “LGBTI rights are trade union rights!”, kaosGL.org, 16 December 2014, http://www.kaosgl.com/page.php?id=18255

The 3rd Symposium Against Discrimination that was organized by Kaos GL Association spread the message that “LGBTI rights are trade union rights!”

Activists joined in the budget protest on Saturday, mobilized by the Confederation of Revolutionary Trade Unions (DISK) and the Confederation of Public Workers’ Union (KESK), asking for a “budget for people, rather than palaces.”


“LGBTI people are subjected to self-censorship at workplace”

The 3rd Symposium against Discrimination was opened by Ulrike Lunacek, co-president of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBTI rights, via a video message.

Lunacek emphasized that the European Union’s chapters 23 and 24 should be opened in accession negotiations with Turkey, which focus on judiciary and fundamental rights, and justice, freedom and security.

Stating that laws are not enough to tackle discrimination, Lunacek stressed that LGBTI people are subjected to self-censorship in the workplace.

“How come a police officer can be fired based on his sexual orientation in 2014 in Turkey?” asked Lunacek, pointing at the importance of heterosexual allies in the fight for LGBTI equality. Below are some highlights from the sessions of the symposium.


Teachers against homophobia and transphobia met in Balikesir

Source: “Homofobi ve transfobi karşıtı öğretmenler Balıkesir’de buluştu” (“Teachers against homophobia and transphobia met in Balikesir”), KaosGL, 23 September 2014, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=17577


The KaosGL Foundation held a transphobia and homophobia training session for teachers in Balikesir on 13-14 September 2014. The session was hosted by the Education and Science Workers’ Union.

About 50 teachers attended the training session. During the session, KaosGL’s Umut Guner presented on the development of sexual orientation and gender identity and related concepts and definitions. KaosGL’s advisory committee member Prof. Melek Goregenli lectured on the ideologies that constitute the building blocks of discrimination and homophobia.

Discussions focused primarily on the moments of encounter between a teacher, school administration, families, and classmates and an LGBT student or a student who does not conform to gender roles.

Attendees searched for answers to such questions as “What do we do when we encounter the child? What do class teachers do? How about their classmates, the guidance counselor, and the school administration? The attendees emphasized that LGBT children, as are LGBT individuals, are usually associated [in public imagination] with the concept “problem.”

LGBTI Kids Are Under Siege

Source: Yıldız Tar, “LGBTİ Çocuklar Kuşatma Altında,” (“LGBTI Kids Are Under Siege,”) kaosGL.org, 03 February 2014, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=15743

In the panel hosted by the Education and Science Workers’ Union’s (Eğitim-Sen) Sixth Universities Branch in Istanbul last weekend, Ali Erol talked about the historical aspects of the discourse on sin, crime, and sickness; Remzi Altunpolat said, “Looking like the majority is presented as a virtue. LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex) students in the education system are made out to be bad, seductive, exogenous, and harmful;” and psychologist Yasemin Şafak said, “LGBTI kids grow up under siege.” This event was co-hosted by the Pink Life and Kaos GL associations within the Rainbow Coalition Against Discrimination Project.

Kaos GL and the Education and Science Workers’ Union (Eğitim-Sen) co-hosted a discussion “Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Education” at Eğitim-Sen’s  Sixth Universities Branch in Istanbul.


Big Reaction to the Peoples’ Democratic Party’s Homosexual Event

Source: “HDP’nin eşcinsel eylemine büyük tepki,” (“Big reaction to the People’s Democratic Party’s homosexual event,”) Haber 10, 15 January 2014, http://www.haber10.com/haber/468587/#.Utfg82SSzEh

The Education and Science Workers’ Union (Eğitim-Sen) and the People’s Democratic Party’s (HDP) panel of gays and lesbians in southeastern city of Batman led to big reactions from the people of Batman.

Eğitim-Sen’s panel entitled “Students Living with Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity,” held last weekend at the Batman Municipality Conference Hall  drew the reactions of Batman locals. Activists from the gay movement and the representatives of Batman Eğitim-Sen Branch attended the panel. Remzi Altunpolat- LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and intersex) activist, Kaos GL member, and HDP member- and psychological consultant Berna Savcı attended Batman’s first ever panel as speakers.

What’s the goal of such activities in Kurdistan?

Şirin Işık said that they cannot understand why such a panel would be held in Kurdistan and added, “Panels like this are situations that do not fit our religion and customs. The people who organized this are trying to spread the perversion of communism to our society. It’s curious that a perverted event like this was held in a place like Batman that is bound by its religion and customs. What’s the goal of such activities in Kurdistan? We strongly condemn the people who host such events and do not want it to happen again.”