LGBTI rights in Turkey

On IDAHOT, LGBTI individuals face countless problems in Turkey

May 17th, the day homosexuality was removed from the classification “illness”, has come to be celebrated for the last 11 years as the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia. Many years have passed since the Declaration of Montreal on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Human Rights, which was published following the International Conference on LGBT Human Rights, has called for all nations to recognize this date. Yet, the stigmatization of and discrimination against LGBTIs continue to this day.

This Sunday, May 17th marks the 11th year of the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT), which was established in order to fight against homophobia and transphobia, to raise the public’s awareness about LGBTIs, to draw attention to rights violations and discrimination, and have their voices be heard. Following the removal of homosexuality from the classification of “illness” by the World Health Organization on May 17th, 1990, and published after the International Conference on LGBT Human Rights, which was organized by the UN, the Declaration of Montreal called for all nations to recognize that date and the wide array of rights and freedoms that ought to be secured. Until now, 130 nations did so formally. Yet, unfortunately, even though many years have passed since then, the stigmatization of and discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and trans continue.

In Turkey, as in many other regions of the world, prejudice and discrimination not only cause LGBTIs to be excluded from health programs and limit their access to health services but also deprive them of the most basic human rights. Furthermore, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity also show themselves in the forms of violence and hate murders. While numerous LGBTIs are massacred in hate murders, many others are forced into making their voices heard through suicide. In the meantime, the government, which refuses to recognize the very reality of LGBTIs, fails to take any legal precautions to protect LGBTIs whom it deprives of basic human rights.

SPoD (Social Policies, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association) has began its journey with the goal of drawing attention to the discrimination against LGBTIs, of showing that gays, lesbians, bisexuals, trans, and intersex are neither alone nor in the wrong, and of producing stronger solutions to their problems. In preparation of May 17th, the day to protest and struggle against all physical, moral, or symbolic violence on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, SPoD has compiled the following 24 problems commonly experienced by LGBTIs.

  1. LGBTIs’ existence is defined through concepts such as illness, perversion, sin, immorality, and other terms of negativity and negation. This situation, in turn, pushes LGBTIs into hiding their identities, into acting as that which they are not, into depression, and into thoughts of suicide. Yet, the medical institution defines homosexuality not as an illness but as an expression of human sexual diversity.
  2. Unrecognized and unprotected by the Constitution’s article on equality [Article 10], which fails to specify them by name, cannot benefit from social and economic rights afford to “all citizens.”[1]
  3. Their most basic rights, such as the right to life, to labor, to housing, to health, and to education, are disregarded.
  4. The current government and the pro-government media publicize them to be ill and perverted and target them.
  5. They are subjected to humiliation and verbal and physical harassment and violence.
  6. They are forced into exile to large urban centers in order to be free, to live comfortably, and to be free of social pressure.
  7. They are allowed only in certain regions of the cities.
  8. They are readily evicted from overpriced rental properties.
  9. Because they are not protected as a recognized disadvantaged group [by law], they either cannot find employment or have to endure long periods of unemployment. When they announce their identities or orientations, they are fired, subjected to workplace harassment, sexual harassment, and blackmail.
  10. LGBTIs, who already have limited access to health services, are pushed out of health programs. They have difficulties especially in accessing services related to sexual health.
  11. Sexist, homophobic, and transphobic discourses are deployed in textbooks. LGBTIs who are educators face dismissal under the pretense of acting against public morality or of acting dishonorably.
  12. LGBTIs who lack social security and stable income are clearly targeted more by discrimination and have a difficult time protecting themselves.
  13. While the internal dynamics of hetero relations are not questioned, LGBTIs are always subject to public curiosity [and scrutiny]. Homosexuals are treated as if they were merely sexual beings [2]. Their sexuality is scrutinized and pulled to shreds while they are subjected to absurd and offhand “jokes,” as if such behavior were part of ordinary life.
  14. The lack of the right to establish legal partnerships [civil unions –Trans.] brings with it economic and emotional problems. They are not afforded any of the related rights, including the right to making medical decisions when the spouse gets sick or the right to inheritance if the spouse dies. The state does not provide any legal protections to couples who have been cohabiting for years, even decades. Spouses are obstructed from visiting their partner in the hospital, or even from attending to their partner’s funeral.
  15. They are not legally allowed to adopt children.
  16. The majority of LGBTIs live alone when they become elderlies. Because the state does not produce any protective effort or projects, it is not only more difficult for them to fight against discrimination but they also experience various problems in relation to housing and care. They are once again forced to keep their sexual orientation and gender identity as they age.
  17. A widespread exclusion is experienced by those who are discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity in school, at work, at home, on the streets, and in the public sphere.
  18. They cannot benefit as they need from public transportation services due to various prejudices.
  19. In murders of LGBTIs, the murderers either remain unidentified and uninvestigated or enjoy impunity in the judiciary as their sentences are reduced under the pretense of “unjust provocation.” As violence is legitimized, instances of suicides among and of hate crimes against LGBTIs increase.
  20. According to the 2015 Trans Rights Europe Map and Index, Turkey, which demonstrates significant shortcomings in protecting trans people and recognizing gender identity [and gender expression], is 9th highest in the world for the frequency of hate murders against trans individuals. There are countless cases of assault, bodily harm, and murder with LGBTI victims, who are one of the most targeted groups in hate crimes.
  21. The harder it is for LGBTIs to announce their sexual orientation or gender identity, the harder it becomes for them to access the legal system and to bring to the judiciary their struggles. Another important problem is the chaos in the legal system and the vagueness of laws as they relate to LGBTIs. Even bars lack commissions regarding this issue.
  22. Many LGBTIs are subjected to hetero/sexist profanities, insults, and police brutality, with trans people being targeted by such dishonorable conduct the worst.
  23. Lesbians, bisexuals, and trans women are not allowed in shelters when they are subjected to violence. Gays and trans men, on the other hand, do not have any resources they can appeal to when they are subjected to violence.
  24. In situations where their appearance is perceived not to abide by the color of their ID card [3], trans women and men are subjected to various allegations [by law enforcement officers and private security and citizens alike –Trans.], such as “is this yours or is it your sibling’s?” or “did you steal this ID card?”

Mehtap Doğan
Media Director, Media Partnership Communications Consultation
mehtapdogan at

LGBTI NEWS TURKEY is the official translation source for SPoD LGBTI’s “In school, at work, in the parliament: LGBTIs are everywhere!” campaign, which is endorsed by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC).


Lesbian Municipal Assembly Member Sedef Çakmak and Mayor Murat Hazinedar on LGBTI Rights and Politics

Sedef Çakmak (33) is the first municipal assembly member in Turkey who has disclosed her lesbian identity. She graduated from Galatasaray University, Faculty of Sociology. She worked at Lambda Istanbul (LGBTI Solidarity Association) and she took part in the establishment of SPoD (Social Policy, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association). Following the local elections in 2014, she started to act as consultant for the Mayor of Beşiktaş, Murat Hazinedar, and last Monday she was elected as a municipal assembly member. We discussed her battle for LGBTI individuals’ rights in Turkish politics with Sedef Çakmak and Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) LGBTI expansion with Murat Hazinedar.

Source: Elvan Yarma, “Türkiye’de LGBTİ hakları değil, kadın hakları geriliyor” (“It is the women’s rights that regress in Turkey, not LGBTI rights”), Hurriyet, 10 March 2015,

When did you realise that you are lesbian?

Coming out to myself happened when I joined Lambda Istanbul in 2004. I was studying sociology and I joined in with a sociological curiosity concerning gay and trans individuals’ way of living. Then, I started thinking about this and I discovered myself.

Could you tell your family when you realised it?

Of course not! But, I told my family that I had been in an association defending gay and trans individuals’ rights since 2004. At first they had a hard time accepting it. Following the moment a member of the parliament from CHP mentioned LGBTI rights, my mother had an enlightening experience. Since then, she has openly supported me.


What kind of difficulties have you experienced as a lesbian? More precisely, have you experienced any difficulties?

I could not find a job for 6 years. It was stated in my CV that I worked at Lambda Istanbul. They said “Oh, well, we will call you at a later time”. One day, I revised and censored my CV. They reverted back instantly by saying “You are the exact person that we are looking for”. When I told them in the interview that I was lesbian, again the same response: “We will call you”.

Given that a politician does not feel the necessity to say “I am heterosexual” when he/she enters politics, why do you feel the need to disclose that you are lesbian?

Just as politicians state their Alevi, female or other oppressed identities, it is the same for being an LGBTI individual. However, as there are people who hide their gender identities in politics, we do not consider it strange when a politician says that they are Alevi but we are baffled when they say they are gay.

Will we be able to see others disclose that they are LGBTI individuals in other municipalities in Turkey?

There are already others. We have friends who are candidates for nomination for parliament. We have a friend, Boysan [Yakar], who is openly gay and works as an advisor to the mayor of the Şişli Municipality.


Turkey’s UPR review and Deputy PM Arınç’s LGBT remarks

Source: Ömer Akpınar, “Arınç: LGBT’lerin adlarının anılmaması haklarının olmadığı anlamına gelmez”, (“Arınç: The lack of reference to LGBTs does not mean they do not have rights”),, 27 January 2015,

Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç stated that there is no discriminatory legislation against LGBTs in Turkey’s Universal Periodic Review in Geneva. Arınç stated that the fact that there is no special regulation for LGBTs does not mean that their rights are ignored.

Member states of the United Nations submitted their recommendations in Turkey’s second Universal Periodic Review on 27 January 2015 under the auspices of the Human Rights Council.

Common recommendations were on the freedom of expression and assembly, violence against women, gender equality, and independence of the judiciary. The delegations of Croatia, Germany, and Slovenia submitted recommendations on the recognition of the right to conscientious objection.

11 countries made LGBT recommendations

Recommendations on non-discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity were put forth by 11 states. In the first-cycle of the Universal Periodic Review, Turkey had received only 5 recommendations on this issue.

Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Israel, Norway, and Slovenia’s recommendations included the need for legislation on non-discrimination and hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Belgium, the United States, Czech Republic, Spain, and Switzerland submitted advance written questions. These are non-discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity [Belgium, Czech Republic, Switzerland], training for government employees on equal treatment for LGBT persons [USA], and the current punitive system of the Turkish Armed Forces which considers homosexuality and transsexuality as diseases [Spain].

Deputy PM Arınç: It’s not that there are no LGBT rights

[we will share translation of the LGBT-specific parts of Bülent Arınç’s speech when the webcast archive is uploaded]

Deputy Prime Minister responsible for Human Rights Bülent Arınç stated that they try to “have democratic relations with everyone no matter their identity”. Arınç said, “There are no discriminatory legislation against LGBTs” and that the lack of a special regulation for LGBTs does not mean that their rights are ignored.

Arınç: Istanbul Convention includes sexual orientation

Arınç noted that the Constitution’s Article 90 stipulates that international agreements duly put into force bear the force of law and that the Istanbul Convention includes the term sexual orientation.

Arınç also said that effective investigations on hate crimes against LGBTs are in place and that claims of “unjust provocation” reductions are incorrect.

The UN’s translation mistake: Sexual preference instead of sexual orientation

There were mistakes in the Turkish translation at Turkey’s Universal Periodic Review. The translator used the terms “sexual preference and social identity” instead of “sexual orientation and gender identity” when simultaneously translating the recommendations.

Kaos GL Association in Geneva

Ezgi Koçak from Kaos GL Association observed the session in Geneva and spoke on behalf of LGBTI News Turkey and Kaos GL at a Law Society and Civicus side-event on the freedom of expression in Turkey. Koçak had shared the joint LGBT submission “Human Rights Violations of LGBT Individuals in Turkey” with LGBTI News Turkey’s Zeynep Bilginsoy at the UPR pre-session in December.

Turkey did not implement pledged recommendation in the first-cycle on LGBT

Turkey received recommendations on its human rights record for the second time since the first-cycle in 2010. In the first-cycle, former Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Çiçek had claimed that the prevention of discrimination against LGBTs was under the protection of the Constitution.

In 2010, Turkey had accepted recommendations from Norway, Canada, and the Netherlands to implement non-discrimination laws based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Turkey had also noted the Czech Republic’s recommendation to provide training to public officers on human rights, including sexual orientation and gender identity.

Since its first review, Turkey failed to implement these recommendations on non-discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Even though the Istanbul Convention, which Turkey ratified in November 2011, include the terms sexual orientation and gender identity in its article on non-discrimination, Turkey must bring its domestic laws in line with this convention to fulfill its international obligations.

MP Tanal asks Minister of Justice their activities on protecting the human rights of the LGBT citizens

Mahmut Tanal, a member of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey’s Human Rights Commission, is waiting for a response to his questions regarding the activities of the Ministry of Justice.

Source: “Milletvekili Tanal, Bakan Bozdağ’a LGBT Yurttaşların İnsan Haklarını Koruma Çalışmalarını Sordu”, (Parliamentarian Tanal asks Minister of Justice Bozdağ their activities on protecting the human rights of the LGBT citizens”,, 22 November 2014, 

Mahmut Tanal, a parliamentarian of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) from Istanbul; submitted 20 questions to the Grand National Assembly to get information about the activities of the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Social Security and the Ministry of Family and Social Policies for protecting the human rights of LGBT citizens.

Tanal, a member of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey’s Human Rights Commission, requested a written response from the Ministry of Justice Bekir Bozdağ for the following questions:

  • Is there any activity carried out by your Ministry for recognising and protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans citizens, in accordance with international obligations?
  • Is there any activity being carried out for the Ministry staff, including the staff in provincial areas, to build awareness on this subject? What are these activities? What stage are these activities at?
  • Are there any occupational trainings regarding the problems and special needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans detainees and convicts given to correctional officers, teachers, social workers, psychologists, sociologists, and health personnel working within the prison system?
  • For the internal training of the aforementioned personnel, which resources and publications are used for the contents about human rights and democratic citizenship?
  • In the recruitment process for the aforementioned personnel, are there any criteria requiring knowledge and experience that are to be met on LGBT persons’ human rights and special needs?
  • Are there any awareness-building and violence prevention programs given to correctional officers and other inmates on combating stereotypes based on sexual orientation and gender identity, exclusion and violence?
  • When a violence threat towards LGBT people from correctional officers or detainees and convicts is reported, what kind of procedure is followed by your Ministry for protecting the LGBT person, or as a sanction to the perpetrator?
  • What kind of mechanisms are there present in the prisons for LGBT convicts to easily report complaints to the management, or for the management and prevent them to be aggrieved and for establishing complete privacy and security?

The Website ‘I Have Been Discriminated Against’ is Now Online

The “I Have Been Discriminated Against” website, where those who have been subjected to discrimination can seek assistance, is now online.

Source: “‘Ayrımcılığa Uğradım’ websitesi yayında”, (“The Website ‘I Have Been Discriminated Against’ is online”,, 14 January 2015,

As part of the “Diversity and Strategic Litigation Network” project, jointly conducted by the Kaos GL Association and the Foundation for Society and Legal Studies (TOHAV), the “I Have Been Discriminated Against” website has begun its service.

Through the website, which includes information on legal regulations, regulations concerning discrimination, as well as citizens’ rights, people who have been subjected to discrimination can seek assistance in Turkish, Kurdish, Arabic, and English.

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 18.22.25

What is the Diversity and Strategic Litigation Network?

The Diversity and Strategic Litigation Network aims to explore ways of uniting non-governmental organizations and civil society activists in a joint effort against discrimination, to be conducted in cooperation and solidarity.

Within the framework of the project, skills and experiences will be shared in the area of human rights safeguarding mechanisms such as legal aid, strategic litigation, and the pursuit of rights.  In parallel to this, the communications capability with victims and injured parties who have difficulty in reaching non-governmental organizations will be increased. Their capacity will be strengthened with regard to access to judicial and other advocacy mechanisms. Finally, the cases of those whose rights are violated on multiple grounds of discrimination, who are extremely marginalized, and whose issues are insufficiently dealt with within the traditional human rights agenda will be given visibility throughout the duration of the project.

What does the project aim?

  • Administrative board meetings to be conducted with participants
  • The sharing of skills, experiences, and strengths; and, as a result of this, cooperation and the joint organization of workshops for the empowerment of civil society
  • Social media campaigns, activities, and forums for the purpose of coping successfully with the current situation of polarized thinking, with a focus on the most stigmatized groups, such as women, people living with HIV, psychologically diverse individuals, former convicts, and LGBTI individuals
  • A Human Rights Strategic Litigation process that is to be coordinated for cases involving marginalized individuals and vulnerable groups
  • The development of a legal assistance mechanism that will support those who are most deprived of their rights and the most vulnerable individuals and groups in defending their human rights and accessing justice
  • The monitoring of human rights violations and discriminatory actions on various political, regional, and social levels by way of new target filters and sources of information

What will be the results at the end of the project?

  • A strategic litigation process for cases involving marginalized and vulnerable groups like women, LGBT individuals, people living with HIV, former convicts, and people with psychological differences, as well as a catalog in which this process is analyzed
  • A diversity and strategic litigation platform
  • A website where online applications for legal assistance and direction are accepted, and where national and international regulations and application mechanisms are explained
  • Reports on legal consultation and direction obtained through online applications
  • Social media campaigns

The “Diversity and Strategic Litigation Network” project is being carried out under the auspices of the Civic Thought Program (Sivil Düşün) of the European Union Delegation

Civil Society Organizations: “LGBTI-only prison means institutionalizing discrimination!”

LGBTI organizations and CISST has stated that “LGBTI-only prison is the institutionalization of discrimination by the state” and reminded that mistreatment, molestation and rape are committed by prison personnel.

Source: “LGBTI hapishanesi, ayrımcılığı kurumsallaştırmaktır!”, (“LGBTI-only prison means institutionalizing discrimination!”),, January 6, 2015,

In a published letter, LGBTI organizations including Kaos GL and the Civil Society in the Penal System Foundation (CISST) issued a call to the Ministry of Justice regarding the planned LGBTI-only prison. The organizations expressed concern and summarized the process as follows:

“In their responses to a series of inquiries and requests for information, the Ministry of Justice announced that they will be building a special prison for LGBTI inmates and have continued to make announcements along the same lines. Most recently the response to a query by a trans inmate contains clearer information: “Our ministry has begun work on the project of building open and closed penal institutions where lesbians, gays, transsexuals and bisexuals will be held. The said project will be put out to tender and construction will commence in 2015 in Izmir province. Following the granting of tender and a construction site, the project will be completed within two years.’”

“The persistence of the Ministry of Justice has increased our concern”

Underlining the fact that the Ministry of Justice announcement foresees the completion of an LGBTI prison in 2017, the NGOs reminded the following points in their press statement:

“Every time the Ministry of Justice brings this issue on the agenda, we have made numerous statements in newspapers and magazines and we have participated in TV programs to express our concerns. The persistence of the Ministry of Justice on the project in utter disregard for these statements has further increased our concerns.”


Turkish Ministry of Justice: “We do not do any work on LGBT citizens’ human rights”

The Turkish Ministry of Justice responded to an application to acquire information on LGBT rights: “There is no work on the protection and recognition of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans citizens’ human rights conducted by our Ministry.”

Source: Murat Köylü, “Turkish: ‘Adalet Bakanlığı: LGBT yurttaşların haklarına dair hiçbir faaliyetimiz yok”, (“Turkish Ministry of Justice: We do not do any work on LGBT citizens’ human rights”),, December 30, 2014,

An application to acquire information on LGBT rights made in November by the main opposition party’s, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), MP Mahmut Tanal, a member of the Parliamentary Human Rights Commission, was responded to by the Ministry of Justice.

“There is no work on LGBT citizens’ human rights”

In response to application to acquire information, the Presidency of Education Directorate affiliated to the Ministry of Justice stated “there is no work on the protection and recognition of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans citizens’ human rights conducted by our Ministry. For Ministry personnel at any level, including those working in local bodies, we have not implemented any work so far in order to raise awareness on the issue.”

With reference to the response, concerns regarding the fact that the Ministry has no approach to and given no priority to LGBT citizens, apart from the Ministry’s both internally and externally very much criticized “LGBT prison”policy, were confirmed. This comes despite Turkey’s LGBT citizens, civil society organizations, opposition parties [the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the People’s Democratic Party (HDP)] and the United Nations, the Council of Europe and the European Union emphasising how vital it is.

Tanal applied via the Act of Right of Information Acquirement

CHP MP Tanal submitting a parliamentary question “regarding LGBT rights” to the Minister of Justice, Bekir Bozdag, brought the same issue to the agenda of the Ministry by applying under the Act of Right of Information Acquirement having considered that most of the opposition parties’ parliamentary questions are left unanswered. According to the Act, the applicant should access the requested information or document in 15 working days. Otherwise it is sent to the supreme board and administrative jurisdiction.

MP Tanal asked the following questions:

  • Is there any work on the recognition and protection of LGBT citizens’ human rights in your Ministry in line with Turkey’s national and international obligations? What kind of work and to what degree are they conducted?
  • Is there any work [on LGBT citizens] for Ministry personnel at any level, including those working in local bodies? What kind of work and in to what degree are they conducted?

News Media Analysis: “One less trans following each trans-related news”

Source: Michelle Demishevich, “Her trans haberinde bir trans eksildi,” (“One less trans with each trans-related news,”) P24, 13 October 2014,

The media has a direct responsibility for the discrimination and violence that target trans individuals.

For years, the media perceived news and updates on the LGBTI as if they were an undesirable workload. There are already very few journalists at news desks who have a mastery on the language of gender [as a social construct]. The making of LGBTI news requires significant sensitivity. Sentences should be carefully chosen. Yet a discourse of hatred, deployed through trans women, has been rampant in LGBTI news stories that appear in the media. Trans women have been represented as mean and wicked in news headings such as “transvestite terror,” “transvestites have spread horror,” “transvestites have entered into armed conflict with the police,” and so on. In the last few years, positive news stories by women who are sensitive to LGBTI, women, and gender have been effective, to a limited degree, in undoing this perception.

Whenever media published a story on trans women, a trans murder happened the very next day. Perhaps trans women were targeted by the news stories, or perhaps it was the deployment of the discourse of hatred that set the stage for hate crimes.


Transphobia at Starbucks

Source: Çiçek Tahaoğlu. “Starbucks’ta Transfobi” (“Transphobia at Starbucks”) Bianet, 17 October 2014,

Instead of serving her coffee, the Starbucks at the Cevahir Shopping Mall, Istanbul, gave Michelle Demishevich her money back. Demishevich, who protested with a sit-in at the coffee shop, is awaiting a written apology.

Source: Bianet

Source: Bianet


Journalist Yıldız Tar: The police beat me

Source: Michelle Demishevich, “Gazeteci Yıldız Tar: Polisler beni dövdü” (“Journalist Yıldız Tar: The police beat me”). T24, 10 October 2014,,273415, accessed on 15/10/2014.

Yıldız Tar, who was beaten by the civil police during protests for Kobane, recounted their experience to T24.

Yıldız Tar[1], the editor of Kaos GL, claimed that they were assaulted by the police during an intervention involving pepper spray while covering the sit-in held in Galatasaray Square to protest the siege of Kobane, Syria by ISIL (the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant).

“When I said I was a reporter, they ran away”

Yıldız Tar: “Police had begun to push the protesters away from Galatasaray Square towards Tophane. At that moment I saw somebody get injured and taken to hospital in an ambulance. I encountered strong police intervention as I was trying to record the incident. They beat me. They ran away when I told them that I was a reporter.”

Journalist Tar pointed out that, during the protest, the police were particularly tough on those working for independent media. It has been claimed that, during the Kobane protests in Izmir, the police told a reporter from Dicle News Agency[2]: “I know you, I know who you are, choose your side, go there or stay here.”

[1] In Tar’s words, Yıldız Tar was born in 2010 at Bosphorus University as they rejected the name and the gender assigned to them by their family and the society. They are an activist working with Lambdaistanbul and a reporter writing for independent media outlets. … They hate writing their autobiography and can get quite irritable when labeled as a woman or a man. (Source)

[2] An independent Kurdish news agency.

Gay Police Officer Case in European Union’s Turkey 2014 Progress Report

Source: Çiçek Tahaoğlu, “Eşcinsel Polis Davası AB Raporunda,” (“Gay Police Officer Case in EU Report,”) bianet, 9 October 2014,

The European Union’s (EU) Turkey 2014 Progress Report included the case of Osman, a gay police officer who was expelled from his post due to his sexual orientation.

The report’s section on LGBTI rights cited that while an open gay person could become a municipal assembly member in Istanbul, discrimination against LBGTI individuals remained in workplaces.

“A police officer’s appeal against dismissal from his profession for his sexual orientation was awaiting a trial date,” the report said regarding the situation of state workers dismissed due to their sexual orientation.

“We are visible in the EU but not in Turkey’s judicial system,” Osman told bianet after hearing that the report cited his situation.

“I don’t know how far it will go, but one day we will acquire our rights.”

Osman, 28, has been dismissed due to his sexual orientation after working as a policeman for 6 years.

Osman previously spoke to bianet after starting a legal battle to return to his post. His struggle continues.

Transgender people were not taken to the hospital, instead, their bodies would be dumped on the highway

Source: Michelle Demishevich, “Translar hastaneye alınmaz, cesetleri otobanda bırakılırdı” (“Trans people were not taken to the hospital, instead, their bodies would be dumped on the highway”) T24, 11 October 2014,,273578

Forty-year-old LGBTI activist H.Y. described the brutality that the police inflicted on transgender women at the Gayrettepe Police Headquarters at the end of the ’90s.

Leaving her family when she was 14 years old, H.Y. had no choice but to engage in sex work in order to survive. In 1996, when she was 17 years old, H.Y. was taken into custody while performing sex work out of necessity in Merter, and underwent torture for a week at the Gayrettepe Police Headquarters.

Currently 40 years old, LGBTI activist H.Y. told T24 about the oppression and torture that the police perpetrated against transgender women. Stating that police torture was systematically perpetrated against trans women sex workers for a period lasting from 1996 to 1999, she said, “The police would dump our dying friends on the highway and leave.”

Explaining that during the time she engaged in sex work in Merter she and her friends were frequently subjected to police brutality, H.Y. described those days as follows:

“While we were in Merter, the police would want to arrest us, and we would flee. They had cudgels in their hands and would throw them at our feet so that we would trip. The cudgel would land around our feet and we would trip. In fact, many of our friends died because of this. On the highway, cars would run over trans women. The police would dump our dying friends there and leave.”


Çingene Gül, Trans Woman, Murdered in Istanbul

Source: Çiçek Tahaoğlu, “Trans Çingene Gül Öldürüldü,” (“Çingene Gül, Trans Woman, Murdered in Istanbul,”) bianet, 9 October 2014,

Çingene Gül, a trans woman, was found dead in her Istanbul apartment on October 8. While the autopsy is yet to be completed, it is suspected that she was murdered two days ago because her friends didn’t hear from her for two days.

Her neighbor Melek Emir said,  “Two nights ago, I heard noises from the apartment building. Gül never makes noise. At first, I thought somebody was trying to break in, then I heard the door open and close. I supposed Gül couldn’t find her keys or something. I never reckoned such a thing would ever happen.”

Gül’s street is crowded with police officers investigating the events and onlookers after her friends found her body. All the women in the neighborhood recognize Gül. “She smiled all the time, she would greet everyone on the street. She wouldn’t disturb anybody.”

Gül’s trans friends argued with the police in order to see her one last time. Police said they could do so in small groups provided that they wouldn’t cry out, touch her or bring disorder to the crime scene.

Her friends claim that trans sex workers are usually murdered by their clients – which they think was also the fate of Gül. They also said Gül didn’t receive customers in her apartment and preferred to use hotels or other venues. They also brought up the possibility of burglary. However, police said that it was not possible to know that at the time.

Utku who found Gül’s body and said, “I went to her apartment after not hearing from her. I knocked on the window, I tried the doorbell, but she didn’t respond. Then her upstairs neighbor buzzed me into the building. I had to break into Gül’s apartment via the backyard. She wasn’t in her bedroom. When I went to the living room, I saw her lying on the floor and I ran away screaming.”


A feminine gay and the bus driver

Source: Arda Yücel, “Feminen bir gey ve otobüs şöförü” (“A feminine gay and the bus driver”), Kaos GL, 10 September 2014,

I left the office on Monday and started waiting for a bus at Sultanbeyli city center. It’s a dark area and the last stop of the bus is quite close to my house… Anyhow, I boarded the bus.

Photograph by Jnbn, 2007,, cc by-nc 2.0

Photograph by Jnbn, 2007,, cc by-nc 2.0

I did not have an Akbil [a public transportation pass] with me, so I asked the other passengers whether they had an extra one. A sensitive young passenger gave me his [Akbil] card and I handed him the fee for it. In the meanwhile, the bus driver noticed that I was gay from my tone of voice and started giving me dirty looks. I understood that something was going to go wrong…

The bus was crowded, which is why I started standing at the front door. People naturally kept disembarking the bus. When we arrived at the last stop, only a few passengers were left and they disembarked using the middle door of the bus, I wanted to leave using the front door since I was near it.

While I was leaving, the bus driver hit my arm and asked me “are you disembarking here?” I said “Yes.” He asked “Do you live here?” I said “It’s none of your business.” He said “Don’t leave, let’s talk a little.” And naturally in that context, I left politeness aside, said “Who do you think you are, how dare you speak to me like that?” and left the bus.

As I walked, I put my headphones on and kept on walking while talking to myself. He came after me with the bus shamelessly. I really lost it and yelled “Get lost, the fact that I am gay does not mean I will sleep with whoever I come across!”

The whole neighbourhood heard it and told about it to my mother. And my mother, god bless her soul, claimed I was in the wrong. “Didn’t I tell you to put on proper clothes, talk, walk and behave properly and straight?”[1] In short, a feminine gay can neither walk on the street nor live humanely!


[1] “Doğru düzgün”, lit. “correct and straight,” is an idiom used to convey, usually with frustration, that the other person (who is perceived to be acting in a silly, rude, or childish way) should act normally. Its heteronormative connotations are latent, rather than open and direct.

Press Statement by luBunya Students on Singer’s Homophobic Statements

Source: luBunya-Bogazici [Bosphorus University Student Organization against Heterosexism], “Basına, Kamuoyuna ve Tüm İnsan Hakları Destekçilerine Duyurulur!” (“For immediate release to press and public and all of the civil right supporters”), Facebook, 17 September 2014,

The singer named Fatma Uludan Canevi, known as Niran Unsal, commits a crime of provoking the public to hate and hostility or insulting it via her social media account.

Canevi makes offensive statements openly by using the published photos of the audience who went to a legally organized concert [by Lady Gaga]. The photos of the audience show them wearing self-designed clothes in the concert area.

Canevi shared a photo of a person from the audience with a green wig and pink clothes via her social media account and tweeted: “We are not interested in your sexual preferences, go live in your home! We will not let you be role models for our children with such quackery.”

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Canevi said “This is the main reason why we worry” by using the photos of other members of the audience with wigs and glasses. And “Mothers and fathers, it is our humane duty to say STOP to all of those poisoning the youth of this country!”