LGBTI rights is not a matter of right or left; it’s about human rights!

The bell rings and LGBTIs meet at the “Politics School” for political participation. School participants share their thoughts with…

Source: Yıldız Tar, “LGBTİ hakları sağ sol meselesi değil, insan haklarıdır!” (“LGBTI rights is not a matter of right or left; it’s about human rights!”), Kaos GL, 3 March 2015,

SPoD LGBTI (Social Policy, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association) is running a campaign entitled “LGBTIs in the Parliament” which includes the “Politics School” that is currently active in Istanbul.


Two Veins Intersect

Source: Tuğba Esen, “İki Damar Kesişti,” (“Two Veins Intersect,”) Agos, 27 June 2014,

The exhibition “who would have thought” is taking place in two different settings called Hayaka Artı and Maumau as part of the 22nd Istanbul LGBTI Pride Week. We have asked the same question to Fatih Özgüven, who is on the advisory panel of the exhibition, so that he can evaluate, in a way, the journey of LGBTI individuals and of queer art from past to present.

Huseyin Rustemoglu, 'Puzzle'

Huseyin Rustemoglu, ‘Puzzle’

The “Who would have thought” exhibition is taking place in two different locations called Hayaka Artı and Maumau as part of the 22nd Istanbul LGBTI Pride Week. The exhibition organized by the Pride Week Exhibition Commission was designed as a retrospection that includes past and present examples of queer art. After the open call made in March, works including video, photography and paintings were selected by the advisory panel consisting of Canan and Erinç Seymen, Fatih Özgüven and the Tobacco Warehouse Team.

We asked Fatih Özgüven, who is on the advisory panel of the exhibition, the same question – “Who would have thought” so that he can evaluate, in a way, the journey of LGBTI individuals and queer art from past to present.

“This exhibition presents examples of intersections where the paths of those who define themselves as LGBTI and of modern art collide.” Fatih Özgüven goes on to tell the story of these intersections: “These two veins have made a mark on Turkey’s recent (cultural) history. About 20 or 30 years ago it was difficult to mention that you worked on ‘modern art’ the same way it was to be an ‘LGBTI’ individual. Or let me put it like this; the same way we could not predict Gülsün Karamustafa or Füsun Onur, who practiced in the 70s and 80s, to stand out as modern artists and have retrospective exhibitions in their names, we could not fathom the crowds large enough to fill pride walks. There were always some marks of homosexuality in fields such as literature, music and theatre but, maybe because these were old and rooted, some codes were developed. Even listening speeches made by relatively outspoken figures like Zeki Müren and Nahid Sırrı Örik, one has to strip them of these codes and redefine them. This is not the case in modern art. It is a young and new field that defies definitions… This is why it is much more compatible with new identity policies. Nothing is more suitable to intersect than these two plots. This exhibition (named as such) is one of the outlets of these intersections.”

You can visit the exhibition until June 29th and observe the reflections of modern art on queer culture while looking for answers to the question “who would have thought?”

Rainbow Colors of Turkey’s May Day

Source: Yıldız Tar, “LGBTİ’ler 1 Mayıs’ta 18 Şehirde Alanlarda!” (“Rainbow Colors of Turkey’s May Day”), Kaos GL, 02 May 2014,

LGBTI people in Turkey took the streets in 18 different cities for May Day: Let’s get liberated together!
LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex) people took the streets all over Turkey on International Workers’ Day. Rainbow flags were carried in Adana, Ankara, Antalya, Antep, Balikesir, Canakkale, Dersim, Diyarbakir, Eskisehir, Giresun, Iskenderun, Istanbul, Izmir, Kayseri, Kocaeli, Malatya, Mersin and Trabzon this year, making it the biggest LGBTI participation on the day.



Adana: That kind of job!
LGBTIs gathered in Adana upon the call of Queer Adana and marched behind the banner “that kind of job”. They carried placards such as “love between women exists” and “don’t touch my willpower”.



Ankara: We will get either liberated or decayed altogether!
Having taken the streets for the first time in 2001 as an organized group, LGBTIs gathered in front of Ankara Train Station. Kaos GL and Pink Life Associations as well as independent LGBTI activists marched behind the banner “we will get either liberated or decayed altogether!”



Antalya: Workers and faggots hand in hand for a sexual and class revolution!
Pink Carette LGBTI filled Antalya with rainbow flags as well as their banner “workers and faggots hand in hand for a sexual and class revolution”.



Antep: Homophobia out, colors in!
ZeugMadi LGBT stood against homophobia and transphobia with a banner “homophobia out, colors in.”



Balikesir: What’s prohibition, ayol*?
LGBTI in Balikesir marched with Balikesir Branch of Human Rights Association and said: What’s a prohibition, ayol[1]?



Rainbow flags in Canakkale
LGBTIs took the streets in Canakkale and became a part of the May Day demonstration.



Dersim: A world with no bosses, no pimps, no violence and no exploitation
LGBTIs in Dersim gathered upon the call of Rostiya Asme Initiative with participation of LGBTIs from neighboring cities. They demanded a world with no bosses, no pimps, no violence and no exploitation.



Diyarbakir: Keep up the struggle!
KeSKeSoR LGBT marched with rainbow and KeSKeSoR flags. Participating in every social action for many years, LGBTIs in Diyarbakir said “keep up the struggle”.



Eskisehir: Generally immoral!
MorEl made a call for the May Day demonstration in Eskisehir and marched with placards “generally immoral”, “what if I am a faggot” and “sexual orientation in the Constitution”.



Giresun: No to the sexist and homophobic system!
Giresun opened a banner “no to the sexist and homophobic system” and carried rainbow flags.



Iskenderun: What’s a boss, ayol[1]?
Iskenderun Colors of Freedom took the streets with a banner “what’s a boss, ayol*?”



Istanbul: Rainbow at the barricades
LGBTIs in Istanbul met in the district of Sisli in order to march to the prohibited Taksim Square. Rainbow flags were present at the barricades during the all-day-long clashes.



Izmir: LGBTI rights, a labor issue
LGBTIs in Izmir painted May Day in rainbow colors and said “LGBTI rights, a labor issue”.


Rainbow in Kayseri
LGBTIs in Kayseri marched with their rainbow flags among the People’s Democratic Party (HDP).



Kocaeli: LGBTI everywhere!
LGBTIs in Kocaeli said “LGBTIs are everywhere” and flourished a freedom struggle in the city.



Malatya: Homophobia out, colors in
Malatya Youth Initiative Against Homophobia and Transphobia said in the meeting stage “homophobia out, colors in”.



Broad participation in Mersin
Mersin 7 Colors increased the volume of the song of freedom in the city. The demonstration saw a broad participation with many people giving an open support to the LGBTI struggle.



Rainbow in Trabzon, too!
Trabzon Purple Fish LGBT participated in the demonstration with their rainbow flags, saying “we are everywhere”.

[1] Ayol is an exclamatory word associated with femininity and taboos and can mean “well”, “hey”, “wow”. The word itself has been in use in colloquial Turkish and underground LGBTI culture, however, its full and current appropriation by LGBTI organizations is a recent phenomenon that started with the Gezi Resistance in May 2013.  One of the first uses was in a banner “What’s forbidden, ayol!” during protests on Istiklal Avenue in Taksim, Istanbul. “Ayol” has been appearing as graffiti across Turkey since then. “Resist ayol” was used as a twitter hashtag for 2013 Pride Week. Its importance is rooted in the fact that though “ayol” was used by LGBTI organizations, it has been accepted and appropriated across groups in the Resistance. One explanation for its popularity can be found in the feeling that the word transcends and frees traditional gender roles and power relations; it imparts a sense of freedom…

The police officer, who was expelled from the profession for being gay, speaks

Source: “Eşcinsel olduğu için meslekten ihraç edilen polis konuştu,” (“The police officer, who was expelled from the profession for being gay, speaks,”) t24, 09 March 2014,

The gay police officer who was accused of unchaste conduct and expelled from the profession, said, “If, in 18 years, I had once made myself visible as gay, one day, and been fired upon a complaint, I would not have been sorry..”

The gay police officer being accused of “unchaste conduct” while on duty was fired and expelled from the profession as a result of the statement he submitted to the Morality Desk. He was fired and banned from the profession on the grounds that he “consorted with women who worked in brothels or worked alone at premises such as bars, taverns, casinos, etc. where prostitution takes place, or consorted with women and men reputed to be unchaste and lived like husband and wife.” The officer appealed to the administrative court but his appeal was rejected.

The police officer, who was fired for being gay, spoke to Burcu Karakaş. Below is the interview that was published in the Turkish daily newspaper Milliyet:


Yeni Akit: The Perverts Pester High Schools

Source: İskender Özel, “Sapkınlar liselere el attı” (“And Now the Perverts Pester High Schools”) Yeni Akit, 01 March 2014,

Yeni Akit is a conservative daily newspaper that engages in hate speech against LGBTI people and other groups. This is a verbatim translation. 

LGBT organizations in Turkey are known to be already gaining popularity and wide acceptance in Turkish Universities. And now, they ‘pester’ high schools which are run by the Ministry of National Education!

“These perverts will take advantage of working with peer groups to confuse the innocent minds of students”

“They Are Pioneering Immorality”

Some high-school age students who had participated in former meetings of LGBT organizations reunited on February 6, 2014 and established LGBT High-School. The initiative was formed by F.H. and E.Ö., two members of the youth branch of Lambdaistanbul. While spreading perversity in high schools, they will be receiving support from their elders. The second meeting of the newly formed LGBT High-School was held on February 21 and stated “we are speaking from the schools, where heterosexism, transphobia, sexism, militarism, and speciesism are being imposed”

The fact that the initiative’s formation was first covered by Armenian newspaper AGOS and by the trigger of the Cemaat (Gülen movement) T24 was not seen as meaningful.

I Attempted Suicide

Source: Burcu Karakaş, “İntihara teşebbüs ettim,” (“I Attempted Suicide,”) milliyet, 02 March 2014,

I attempted suicide

A homosexual police officer in Gaziantep was fired due to being charged with the crime of “unchastity.” The police officer applied to the Administrative Court for the annulment of the decision but was rejected. He said, “I went through a huge trauma. I attempted suicide. The judges decide according to their own moral rules. According to them, we do not even have the right to life.”

A homosexual police officer’s life has changed when the Morality Desk raided his friend’s house in Gaziantep. The officer was taking food to his friend. After an unidentified person’s tip-off, the police officer, who chose to remain anonymous, and his friend were obliged to go with the officers from the Morality Desk to the police department and to give their statements.


The Story of an HIV Positive Gay Man: At First They Show Compassion, Then They Flee

Source: Yıldız Tar, “HIV+ Bir Eşcinselin Hikayesi: Önce Acıyor, Sonra Kaçıyorlar,” (“The Story of an HIV Positive Gay Man: At First They Show Compassion, Then They Flee,”), 24 February 2014,

Hasan Atik: As someone living with HIV, you are exposed to discrimination everywhere. They do not even want to pull my teeth. At first, people show compassion, then they run away, treating me like I am a monster.

HIV is a virus that makes your immune system deficient. If a person develops a serious infection due to having HIV, or if the immune system’s cells, which can be measured by blood tests, are highly depleted, then this can be classified as AIDS.

We spoke with Hasan Atik who has been living with HIV, something we know very little about, but everyone often talks about a lot. He spoke about the the difficulties of being HIV positive and gay: “HIV is a disease wrongly attributed to only gay people. It makes me sad to be the person who confirms this (stereotype).”

His story is one of segregation in every place, be it the law, health or social relationships. “The goal is to protect the other person from us. This is “othering” us. The situation – where we are already a monster in the eyes of the public – becomes worse.

Let us begin with the fact that you are person living with HIV in Turkey. What type of difficulties are you facing?

You are exposed to every type of discrimination – even the simplest of things. For example, a few days ago I went to the dentist to get my wisdom teeth removed. They did not remove my teeth, telling me a bunch of lies. The doctors were constantly speaking about me with each other. They did not even want to take an X-ray. While I was waiting in the waiting room, I heard the nurses speak about me. They were speaking in loud voices so I would hear and leave. In terms of health services and personal communication, we are exposed to an inordinate amount of discrimination.


Gender Identity “Disorder”

Source: “F64.9: Cinsel Kimlik ‘Bozukluğu’,” (“F64.9: Gender Identity ‘Disorder’,”), 07 January 2014,

Serdar, who received an “unfit to serve in the military” (F64.9 gender identity disorder, undefined) report, shared his experience with

I am a lucky gay man. I am 29 years old and well-mannered. My family knows about my homosexuality and I live with my boyfriend of five years. I want to retell my experiences of the process I went through in detail so that people can access this information easily online.

Because I could not decide on whether or not to get the report for military exemption after graduation, I registered with the Open Education Faculty at a second university to benefit from deferment.

First, I had to break the deferment and go to the bureau to state that I wanted to join army. After this statement, I immediately said, “I wanted to be referred to the hospital.”  The authorities at the recruitment office asked me to see a family doctor to get a report. I returned to the recruitment office with the report I received from a primary health care center and I was directly sent to the Gülhane Military Medical Faculty (GATA) (Üsküdar and Kadıköy recruitment offices refer to the GATA directly instead of having to go from one hospital to another.)

“He is quite feminine, he has one-night stands and he sleeps with anyone he likes”


Legal Action for Compensation Against Gay Husband

Source: Gülcan Demirci, “Eşcinsel kocaya tazminat cezası,” (“Legal Action for Compensation against Gay Husband,”) 26 January 2014,

A woman, who found out that her husband is gay, opened a law suit to annul their marriage. The court decided that the married couple could divorce with 70,000 TL of compensation awarded to the wife.

In Istanbul, G.D., a teacher, found out after one year of marriage that her husband, F.D., who works as a chief executive of a private corporation, was gay. She filed a claim for the annulment of the marriage, stating “Marriage with a gay man is not feasible.” The court decided that an “annulment of marriage after six months is not possible. Due to the couple being married more than a year, a divorce lawsuit should be opened.” The judge who divorced the married couple also ordered an award of 70,000 TL of compensation to be paid by the husband.


Northern Cyprus Embraces the Rainbow Colors

Following the decriminalization of homosexuality in Northern Cyprus today, activists evaluate the new legal situation for LGBT people in the northern part of the island for

Parliamentarians in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus have voted today to repeal the colonial ban on “unnatural sexual acts.”

Accepted by the majority vote, the Penal (Amendment) Law decriminalizes same-sex relationships, prohibits the death penalty, increases penalties for the sexual abuses of children and the mentally disabled, and widens the definition of sexual violence.

The new law also prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender. It also regulates hate speech and hate crimes against LGBT people.


LGBT Activist Committed Suicide in Azerbaijan

Source: Ömer Akpınar, “LGBT Activist Committed Suicide in Azerbaijan,”, 23 January 2014,

İsa Şahmarlı, 20-year-old LGBT activist in Azerbaijan, hanged himself yesterday with a rainbow flag.

The president of the Azad LGBT group was found dead by his friends in the office where he worked.

“You are all responsible of my death”

Before committing suicide, Sahmarli shared a note from his Facebook account: “I am going. This country, this world is not for me… I am going to become happy… Tell mom that I love her much. You are all responsible of my death. This world is not strong enough to bear my colors. Farewell.”

“Rainbow Flags Will Be in Baku Sky”

Şahmarlı once said in an interview: “I hope and I will see one day that LGBT flags will be in Baku sky. What I really want to see is a gay couple walking freely in Baku.” He also emphasized in another interview that family pressure drives many LGBT teens to suicide.

İsa’s friends and those against homophobia will attend his funeral today. There will be a press release on Sunday in Ankara by Anka LGBT, as well.

Having suicidal thoughts? Please, please stop long enough to read this. It will only take about five minutes:

To the best of our knowledge, the online and IRL resources below will provide you with a safe and non-judgmental space.

IRC / Chatlines


Sexual Assault Resources

If you know of any other suicide resources where you live or work, please do let us know so that we can add them to our website. To contact us, email us at , or see


Is society ready for homosexuals?

Source: Çiçek Tahaoğlu, “Toplum Eşcinsellere Hazır mı?” (“Is society ready for homosexuals?”), 16 January 2014,


“Sooner or later, a faggot will be president. Let’s give up resisting this progress.” “Society was ready for heterosexual politicians, look what happened!” “There is no division between society and homosexuals.”

LGBTI people have never been this visible in local elections before! Six LGBTI pre-candidates from Istanbul alone took action to be involved in the city councils of different political parties.

Okan Bayülgen once asked the mayor of Ankara, Melih Gökçek: “When will we have a homosexual mayor in Turkey?” He received the answer, “Never, I hope. There should not be one.”

LGBTI visibility in politics has always been discussed with arguments such as “Is society ready for homosexuals?”

bianet asked the pre-candidates: “Is society ready for homosexuals?”


The Rights Violations Against LGBT People: Selected Case Analyses

Source: Sosyal Politikalar, Cinsiyet Kimliği ve Cinsel Yönelim Çalışmaları Derneği. (Social Policies, Gender Identity, and Sexual Orientation Studies Association) LGBT Hak İhlalleri: Emsal Dava Analizleri (The Rights Violations Against LGBT People: Selected Case Analyses.) Istanbul: Punto Baskı Çözümleri, 2013. Available at:   

The Social Policies, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association has been working in the field of access to law and justice since it was founded two years ago. We have organized educational workshops on LGBT rights for lawyers in order to strengthen LGBT people’s methods of accessing justice. We have also given legal aid to LGBT people whose rights have been violated. Our other work includes tracking legislation, participating in the New Constitution drafting process, and pursuing selected cases.

This report includes case summaries and analyses of SPoD’s selected cases. The selection has been made according to the LGBT public’s key issues. Cases based on the frequent violations of LGBT people’s right to life, work, and housing have been chosen. Emphasis has been placed on joining cases as joint plaintiffs while working with lawyers, NGOs, and the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) for positive results. Furthermore, the media has been lobbied for the selected cases to ensure the flow of correct and effective information to the public and to make sure that victims are not doubly victimized by the media’s homophobic/transphobic language. A legal battle has been waged against the “hate language” produced by the media in general. Therefore, we did not focus solely on the legal aspects of the cases but also on their background in order to change the biases that lead to rights violations.


The CHP’s LGBT Report Has Been Completed

Source: C. Can Yüksel, “CHP’nin LGBT Raporu Tamamlandı,” (“The CHP’s LGBT Report Has Been Completed,”) Kaos GL, 16 January 2014,

A report prepared by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) members of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) has been presented to the party.

The work for the report that has been carried out over the last six months by the LGBT Rights Research Committee of the CHP Kadıköy Youth Organization has been completed and submitted to the CHP Kadıköy chairperson.


“You are HIV-Positive — Resign!”

Source: Tülay Karabağ, “HIV pozitifsin, istifa et!” (“You are HIV-Positive — Resign!”) ntvmsnbc, 14 January 2014,

Due to his sexual orientation, his relationship with his family was broken off at age 16.  Just as he was getting his life together despite all the difficulties, he contracted HIV from his lover. When his status as HIV positive was revealed, he was forced to quit his job and became isolated.  A.Y. is just one of the victims of social prejudice who found himself in the middle of a very difficult struggle.

A.Y. is 27 years old and found out that he is HIV-positive a year ago. He contracted the HIV virus from his lover . Right now, he is trying to survive and to stand on his own feet. His employer forced him to sign a resignation letter once he found out about his condition and did not pay him a cent of workers’ compensation.