Trans people exist in academia too!

Kaos GL interviewed trans man and instructor Lukka Alp Akarçay in a series of articles they launched to mark International Trans Visibility Day. Lukka is also a volunteer for LGBTI News Turkey. We would like to take this opportunity to celebrate his activism and Kaos GL’s continued support for trans visibility. Trans people are here, get used to it! 

Source: “Trans people exist in academia too!” (“Akademide de tabi ki translar vardır”, interview by Hayat Çelik, KaosGL, March, 31, 2020, https://www.kaosgl.org/haber/akademide-de-tabi-ki-translar-vardir

 

111.jpg“Of course, trans people exist in academia too!”

Today [March 31] is the International Trans Visibility Day. This year to mark the day, we launched a special series, saying “We are here, get used to it”. We hope that this series of interviews and articles will contribute to trans people’s struggle for visibility.

Our first guest is Lukka Alp. Lukka is a 40 year old trans man. We talked about coming out, the university he works as an instructor  and his academic life.

Can you introduce yourself to us?

My name is Lukka Alp, I’m 40 years old. I did my undergraduate degree in Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, Painting Department. I finished my master’s in the United States. I’m an instructor and I work in a private university, in a language department. Currently I’m living in Istanbul. 

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love nature. I love going out to nature and hiking in my free time. I like climbing mountains and going for long walks. That is, when I get the chance to get away from work, because it’s usually quite busy. Aside from that, I love reading. And although I can’t get around to it these days, I like painting.  

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Can you tell us a bit about the period when you hadn’t come out to anyone yet? 

It was a difficult period. I was feeling a bit lonely then. At first I was feeling like it was something I was ashamed of, something I wouldn’t be able to tell anyone…Of course, the first time I realized it, I was afraid and I felt like there was no one I could tell this to.

What scared you, why were you afraid? 

When I first realized it, I felt overwhelmed. That was my experience. But of course, it’s not actually that it happened suddenly, it was always in my life but I wasn’t aware of what had been going on. When it felt so suddenly, I got scared. The question of whether I was trans or not was scary. What did it mean for me that I could be trans? It seriously scared me in the beginning. 

Those days I had heard the word “trans” but frankly I didn’t really know what it exactly was. Yes, I was acquainted with a couple of trans friends, but it had never occurred to me that I myself could be trans. 

During the period you were questioning your identity, how were you relating to role models in the media? After all, trans men suffered a lot from this [the lack of role models]. Who were the trans men associating themselves with the most on media? 

It was the end of the year 2017, beginning of 2018 when I came out. I was 38-39 when I realized it. If there were any [role models], maybe I would have welcomed it [my identity] with an open embrace. Because I was not recognizing my identity.  

When and to whom did you first come out? What did you experience afterwards?

I first came out to my ex partner. Because they weren’t here. We were still together but they were away in the United States, we were communicating via video calls. I started opening up little by little, because I thought they’d understand, they had trans partners in the past. They even had asked me before, “Is it possible that you are trans, did you ever think about it?”. I, of course, laughed about it, because I didn’t understand. First they didn’t accept it when I started telling them. So I stopped talking about it and opening up. Later I came out to a close friend. I told them and they took it well.

Did you open up to your family?

Later, I came out to my family too. I came out on the phone. First they didn’t get what was going on. They were shocked of course, but they also showed support, the two reactions were simultaneous. They took it well and immediately wanted to support me. They sincerely told me that they don’t get it and they don’t know what it means but that they support me. They said “you are our child”. They asked questions as well, “how do you feel, what do you feel?”. So I told them.

When we first came together, they faltered a little, we had arguments about what we will do. For instance, in their first visit [after Lukka came out] they didn’t want to talk about it at all. I started talking about it, and they didn’t know what to do. They didn’t know how to talk about it. So there was tension. Recently they came to visit me, it went really well, they use my name too.

Before you came out as a trans man, how were you identifying yourself?

I wasn’t categorizing myself. It was undefined. It was always a question mark, an ongoing identity search that kept following me around. I was only defining myself over my sexual orientation, as an homosexual. But I would later realize that what was missing was my [gender] identity.  

In the period of coming out, most of the trans people first name themselves homosexual if they name themselves at all.

Yes, that’s what I experienced as well, because when I looked back to my highschool years, I saw that I was attracted to women, therefore I thought to myself, I guess I’m homosexual. I didn’t know much about being trans.

How was your experience during high school and college years, did you encounter any difficulties? Were you subjected to any discrimination?

I can’t say I did, because I was in the closet. My teenage blues was extra intense. Things about my sexual orientation kept popping up and I felt the urge to constantly suppress them.  Because at the time I was ashamed to feel that way. But I can’t say I experienced any concrete discrimination. I was going through a confused phase of not being able to figure out things about myself.  

What were the more challenging aspects of the school for you?

The dressing rooms were uncomfortable places but I couldn’t put my finger on what the reason for this discomfort was. 

How did you start taking steps about your process? How did you get into action? Did you receive any psychological, legal, financial support for your transition? 

Yes, I did. First of all I wanted to figure out and understand whether I’m really trans and what that means to me, so I got psychological counselling. Afterwards  I decided to transition and started the process. Now I’m getting legal support.

You mean an attorney?

Yes, I hired a lawyer.

Is your identity open at the university you’re working at? 

Yes.

How is your work life, have you been subjected to any discrimination based on your gender identity? Are there any challenging incidents or people?

I haven’t faced that many challenges at the institution I’m working at. As soon as I came out, my department director showed support, so did the HR department. They had some difficulties with my name change requests, but when I explained it to them they helped out. 

What exactly is your role at the university? Can you tell us a bit about your job?

I’m working under the languages department. Aside from teaching, we have an initiative made up of instructors from different universities around Istanbul. This initiative is built on feminist principles and does not have a hierarchical structure, we aim to queer the language instruction in higher education in Istanbul, so as to provide inclusion for all gender identities and sexual orientations. We encourage collaborations between the academics, instructors and graduate students to this end, we devise inclusive teaching material, redesign problematic materials and give training to instructors on LGBTI+ issues. Our ultimate goal is to create a concrete product with strategies, materials and lesson plans for instructors. We also devise our own curriculum in this trajectory and conduct research-based studies.  

How is your relationship with your students, did you encounter any problems? How did you come out to your students, what is your dialogue with them on the matter? 

I haven’t had any problems so far. Actually, I wasn’t thinking of coming out to my students. I was talking to our director in a meeting and they asked whether I would consider coming out to my students, I hadn’t thought about it then, later I decided that it was both necessary and important to come out during my transition. For the last four semesters, I come out on the first day of class and every semester how I come out changes format. The first semester I came out, I used a powerpoint presentation and I came out while explaining the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity. In the later semesters I continued to come out with shorter narrations.  This semester I came out while giving examples about the content of a class. I told the students that I was interested in trans rights as I am a trans man and that I would build a research problem from this perspective. I haven’t had any negative reactions from students so far. 

There is a circulation as well, you constantly have to come out to new students, is this challenging for you?

The meaning and the necessity of coming out to students changes for me. I thought I would continue coming out in the same way every semester. When I asked myself whether there is really a need or necessity for this, I was also thinking, every semester I come out to a different group of students, what does this mean to those students, does it change their prejudices towards trans identities, if they have any. This is also a part of queer and feminist activism for me, it is the need to be honest with myself and it is also important because it dismantles normativity and makes others question it. What happens when someone who doesn’t know [Lukka’s trans identity] suddenly thinks “Oh, the teacher is a trans man”? Maybe that contact will open a new horizon for them, or initiate a dialogue about something they haven’t thought of before. Therefore when I don’t come out, I say to myself “is this better or worse?”. (Laughs)

So every semester a new coming out ritual all over again? 

Yes, I come out every semester, just the form of the ritual changes. 

These are very valuable experiences. There can be trans men who might be in your position but who haven’t come out yet. What would you like to tell them? 

Visibility on campus is important because trans students exist. I have said it the first time I came out too: My door is always open to LGBTI+ students. If a trans student hears this, they can come and knock on my door to talk. 

And do you clearly express that, with a flag or a similar thing?

There is a little postcard. It’s always there. (Laughs) It’s in English and it says “Fighting for change”, it has a trans flag on it.

When I first came out this is what happened: After one of the lessons a colleague of mine had a student come up to them and say “I don’t use the name on that list, can you refer to me with this name?”, they came out to my colleague, who then said “We have a teacher like you, would you like to meet him?”. The student was very happy to hear this and replied  “of course”. This meeting and the dialogue that ensued was very valuable both for me and the student. I invite the student every now and then to my office, we chat a little, the student tells me their problems and I share my experiences, and this nice dialogue developed.  

Are there any other trans professors at the university where you work? 

Yes there are.

So you must be transforming the place together. 

Yes. (laughs) We are all very busy and although we can’t come together often, we support each other.

In your daily life, were you exposed to any discriminatory attitude or behaviour, on the street, in shopping or other social instances? 

Of course, while shopping for instance. I have been living in the same place for years so people know me. There was this market I used to go to, I would do my shopping there years ago. I wasn’t transitioning yet. I looked a bit more different too. I wasn’t here for two years, so this was five years later, when I came back. I mean the way I dress (masculine clothing) is obvious. I wasn’t going in this market in order to avoid a dialogue and be referred to as “ms”. Then one day I went in, it looked like it changed hands. Because they didn’t know me, they had no memories of me, they referred to me as mister, brother, sir. Another day I went back, the guy who knows me was there. (laughs) He hadn’t gone, he was standing there! When I first entered, he didn’t want to pay any attention to me and kept me waiting. I felt a very negative energy coming from him. Then he used the word “ms” referring to me, repeatedly. When he kept stressing the word, I felt uncomfortable. I said “What did you say? I think you are mistaken”. Then he apologized. He said “It’s been a long work day, I’m not myself” or something to the effect.  

I said “you are wrong” and left it there. Because I didn’t know what to do at that moment either. But I had to spell it out, it’s obvious that he needed me to clarify. If he gets that clarity, maybe he will say I mistook you for someone else, this is not the person I know. I don’t know, but I felt a negativity the moment I went into the market. It made me uncomfortable, so I never went there again. 

Your experience might resonate with others: Trans people find it hard to go back to certain spaces where they are well known, spaces which had an important place in their lives before the transition. I guess that’s what you experienced. 

Yes, yes.

Is that market on your street, close to your house? 

Yes, it’s nearby. But I chose not to go again. 

Did you go to a farther market where you are not known? 

I mean yes, that’s what I do. 

I had a hard time at the hairdressers. Because I had to go to a barbershop, and the conversations there were horrible. What was your experience?

Actually, I haven’t been for years. My partner used to cut my hair. When we broke up, I started cutting it. Now I do it myself. 

Did you ever question yourself, does my inability to go [to the hairdresser’s] have something to do with these places? 

Surely. I don’t know where to go, it might feel weird to go to a barbershop as I’m not used to it. But I’m dreaming of experiencing the barbershop. Maybe I will try to do it in a couple of months. But I want to have that old school, neighborhood barbershop experience. (laughs) 

Did you experience any difficulties in state offices?

When we switched to the new ID card, I went to the public registry office. I hadn’t started transitioning then. It was distressing to go there. They look at you, they laugh at you, I wanted to get it over with as soon as possible. It was discomforting, but I didn’t experience any discrimination. I was going to first aid training. My name has not changed officially, I went there with my ID card. There was a practical test, and they called out my name. I went next to them but they were still calling out my name, asking where this person was? (laughs) That person is here, I said. The examiner said “Oh, I wasn’t expecting this”. But I also got accepted to the exam. They used the name on my ID yet referred to me as “mister”. 

Did you intervene? 

I didn’t do much because there was an ongoing exam. I told them the name they should use but they didn’t hear. I just wanted to quickly finish the exam at that moment. 

Lastly, what would you like to say to mark the International Trans Visibility of Day?

Off, that’s a tough one. (laughs) It’s an important day, trans visibility and our struggle for it is important. We should continue our struggle. We should continue our activism. Whatever we can do in our immediate environment is a fight on its own. No matter how difficult it is, we must keep fighting. There are trans people in academia too, of course. Trans people exist in all realms of life.

 

Pembe Hayat is going to broadcast live every day at 19:00!

Pembe Hayat Association activists are going to broadcast live on various topics every day at 19:00 in order to bring together LGBTI+s who are at home during these Corona-infested days! Today (March 18), in the first broadcast, Derin Akıllı is going to talk about her experiences during the transitioning process!

Source: “Pembe Hayat is going to broadcast live every day at 19:00!” Pembe Hayat, 18th of March, 2020 http://www.pembehayat.org/haberler/detay/2331/pembe-hayat-her-gun-1900rsquoda-canli-yayinda

The activists of the association, who are going to broadcast live every day at 19:00 in order to reach LGBTI+s who are at home in these days of quarantine due to the Coronavirus and to enable LGBTI +s to support each other, are going to chat with Pembe Hayat’s followers to talk about many topics from hilarity to transitioning.

Derin Akıllı, who is going to be live in the first interactive broadcast, is going to talk about her experiences during the transitioning process.

 Do not forget to visit the Instagram account of Pembe Hayat at 19:00 every day!

QueerFest Quarantine begins!

During these Corona-infested days, QueerFest is getting ready to be your guest!

Source: “QueerFest Quarantine begins”, Pembe Hayat, 18th of March, 2020 http://www.pembehayat.org/haberler/detay/2332/kuirfest-karantina-basliyor

As the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic fills the lives of all of us with scenes from science fiction movies, we go through masked days where we quarantine ourselves, do not leave the house, and everyone smells of different kinds of cologne (mainly lemon). We all know that the process of quarantining ourselves at our houses will continue until a vaccine is discovered.

Precisely at this point, the festival of queers, QueerFest, is happy to announce “QueerFest Quarantine” to the queers who have locked themselves in their houses.

The films for which permissions have been obtained as part of QueerFest Quarantine will be available to the audience on certain hours every Sunday. In this way, QueerFest will be a guest in your home in these Corona-infested days.

On Sunday, March 22, “QueerFest Quarantine” is going to meet you with its first movie.

You can follow the details at http://www.pembehayatkuirfest.org!

 

Bitopya: Another universe is possible for the bi+ people!

Bitopya is a new platform founded by Umut Erdem. Umut has been writing about monosexism, normativity and bisexuality in contributions to the bi+, vegan and feminist struggles. In this interview, we walk together on the path to Bitopya (bitopia): The invisibility of bi+ existence, the pressing necessity for accesible and correct information on bisexuality in order to get rid of the stereotypes that reign over both the LGBTI+ movement and the heteronormative society , different layers of rescuing sexuality from the hegemony of norms…these are all the stations we will stop by. As LGBTI News Turkey we are excited to follow Bitopya in its journey and would like to thank Umut for taking their time for this interview!

First of all, we would like to get to know you and the crew.

My name is umut erdem (they/them). I’m the founder of Bitopya ☺. I have been actively pursuing bi+politics for a long while. I have been producing content on this subject and in 2019 I became one of the organizers of Bi+ Pride İstanbul which was the first of its kind to take place in Istanbul. We realized the Bi+ Pride together with dear Zeynab Peyghamberzadeh, another bi+ activist. I also organized a Bi+ Visibility Workshop during Pride Week in İzmir last year. In 2018, I prepared a Bi+ pamphlet together with Gözde Demirbilek, under Kaos GL’s roof.

 I live in Istanbul, I earn my living working in a private institution. I am a feminist and a vegan, I also do activism in these fields. Bitopya itself is a field of activism for me. The website was realized thanks to transfeminist activist Ecemen who helped me build the site. Ecemen had also created the website lgbtisagligi.org. This gave us the opportunity to work together. For now, I’m translating the texts about bi+ politics and bi+ healthcare, the ones which I read before and thought “these must definitely be translated to Turkish”. Yet I also need other pairs of eyes to check the translations and to contribute. I can’t really call it a crew but there are definitely collaborations. My friends with whom I exchange ideas and talk about bisexuality and bi+ politics have an important role in the creation of Bitopya.

Umut, your name will definitely ring a bell for our readers from Turkey, how did you come up with the idea to build the website? 

The idea of the website was mine. I personally really needed a true bi+ digital platform. This was my main motivation to realize it. Bisexuality is already an easily erased, invisible position, furthermore, both the lgbti+ and the feminist politics regard it as an intersection rather than an entity of its own. On social media, bisexuality is often targeted and there are many negative, judgemental and biased content, even hate speech about bisexuality. Therefore, I imagined a universe where we can respond to all of this. 

The need to increase the visibility of bi+ politics in Turkey was also a great motivation. I applied to sivildüşün and their support helped me realize the project. Since I know English, I aim to put bi+ people in the agenda of lgbti+ and feminist politics by translating articles about the bi+ politics and bisexual health published abroad. I thought that it would be a big step forward to create a source of information to battle against both the invisibility and the bias, stereotypes, hate speech and dire lack of information about the bi+. I can say Bitopya was born out of the passion to create a universe where we can try to oust monosexism and biphobia out of our lives, ways of thinking and acting; just like we have been struggling against discrimination, patriarchy, and heteronormativity. 

As its name aptly expresses, bitopya carries the aim to expand the horizons through new imaginings for bi+. What do you think is the work and role of digital activism?

It is surely not just tweeting ☺. It doesn’t matter how much that tweet is faved or retweeted. I find the power of social media significant, but I doubt that one tweet or one long flood of political discourse are digital activism. My questioning of the scope of digital activism pushed me to create the website. In my opinion, digital activism should carry the aim to counter the disinformation on social media and promote a healthy platform for debate, dialogue and contact. I’m also motivated to do digital activism for bi+ politics resisting hate speech against the bi+ people. I see so many biphobia ridden tweets written by users who would not accept their biphobia. I am trying to make the digital media a safer place for bi+ people, against monosexism and biphobia. This is what digital activism means for me as well. It is to carry out work of awareness-building without creating opposite poles, without siding with violence; caring for information exchange, healthy communication, equality and inclusion instead.  

How is the “B” and the “+” faring in the LGBTI+ movement of Turkey? How would you describe the hardships of being bi+ in Turkey? Is it any different around the world? 

It is as if bisexuality amounts to nothing. It might sound too tough but this is how it seems. We have just begun to walk on the paths opened by the subjects themselves. If it weren’t for them, no one would think about it. Of course there is a history to it all and it has only become possible to speak about bisexuality through the struggle of the bisexual feminists under the feminist movement, not just the LGBTI+ movement. 

People have been trying to build paths to bi+ politics and bisexuality specifically since 2015. We can say that 2019 has been more promising. But only thanks to the resilience and rebellion of the subjects themselves….The erasure of bisexuals continues, because there are only a handful of people struggling against the lack of information and prejudice. Due to this lack of knowledge, people overlook the fact that bisexuality is a range, an umbrella identity and existence. We try to put it in the literature as “bi+”. We try to put monosexism in literature. 

This is a new struggle of course. Our awareness as subjects is also quite new. Because it is ignored to such an extent that we got used to existing and practicing politics within an intersection of different ways of being.And then there is phobia and hatred. Such atmosphere prevents you from noticing the internalized biphobia. It is quite tragic. I for one can not separate the “+” from bisexuality. The politics of Bitopya is never independent or detached from “+” and trans politics. Because it carries the aim to expose the relationship and intersection of the systems built on binaries and on social consensus. This is why it is a difficult but not an impossible struggle. The steps we take to rid our thinking and judgements of those binaries, to think outside the binaries, to develop arguments and to refrain from generalizations will prioritize “B” and “+” in LGBTI+ movement. 

There is this supposed aim to not fall in the trap of gender binaries in general but I don’t think it’s practiced in reality. Language and politics are still built on the binary of homosexual vs. heterosexual. Bi+ politics criticizes this very binary and relates it to the other constructed binaries. If in fact the critique of binaries was carried out, no one would take the bait of homosexual/heterosexual binary.

There are hardships that begin with the moment of coming out as a bisexual: being invalidated, others’ expectations of proof, not being taken seriously and being showered with disapprovals. The negative experiences in relationships and the traumas have a great impact on your existence and your desire. You take your share from the hierarchy which sides with experience over desire. You can not come out. It all goes back to before you come out anyway. All the hate speech, prejudice, stereotypes, judgements and vilification conditions you and prevents you from finding a representation. In any case there can not be a representation which says “yes, this is bi+”. At least it can not be monolithic. 

Under  such circumstances you experience the absence of characters which identify as bisexual on media or encounter stereotypical representations unfortunately. You are eliminated by being sweeped under one roof. “Gay marriage”, “gay couple”, “lesbian films”, “gay representations”. Bisexuality is never imagined. Why would something laden with so many prejudices and disavowal be imagined anyway? Let’s say you did come out, then you are labeled as supporting binary gender. I’ve encountered this interpretation so many times. You are never queer enough, you are always so binary. Who has the right to come up with these judgements? The idea of bisexuals as being one homogenous group dominates the perspectives. I thought we were advocating for diversity? Let’s face it, we hit a wall when it comes to the matter of bi+ people☺. 

You suffer from not being able to reflect on monosexism or to make it an item in the agenda; you are assigned an orientation based on the person you are with, and depending on that you are either let in or cast out of the lgbti+ community. You are either perceived as a privileged person living their life stepping on others or as someone who suffers too if you are with a person of same gender at that particular moment. I don’t think you can disrobe your privilege depending on who you are with. It’s not like “bam” now I’m not privileged, because my partner is not of the same gender or is not regarded as normative, or “voila” I’m privileged now because my partner is of another gender identity. How can that be? Is this a game of musical chairs? We need to question this fixed, generalizing, clearly delineated way of thinking.

The situation is no different elsewhere in the world. Although I feel like there would be local differences, as far as I can follow, it is all quite universal: The invisibility, ostracization, exposure to negative bias, the binary thinking mechanism in society and the movement. The translations in Bitopya are not in vain  

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Bitopya website design and illustrations are made by Ecemen.

Since we are already in outer space, looking back at the world, let us also ask: An important mission of Bitopya is translation. You and LGBTI News Turkey have a common issue: To build a bridge between the bi+ folks in Turkey and around the world. What do you think is the significance and function of translation? What is the potential of the exchange that the internet provides for the LGBTI+ movement?

If we consider the fact that many LGBTI+ people use the internet and express themselves online more, we can see that our work is quite important. We have the potential to reach a lot more people. We can reach out to those who don’t breathe the same air with us or live in the same neighborhood. On its own the internet is a means that brings so many people together on a common ground. Yet we see that it also becomes a disadvantage when the social media is misused. 

That coming together also musters strength through polarization. Bitopya aims to disseminate its politics and its discourse without falling in that trap. A great lack of knowledge about bi+ politics reigns in Turkey. This is why it is crucial for me to follow what’s going on around the world. There are lots of sources in English but Turkey is unaware of that content, which makes Bitopya itself a responsibility. Not everyone knows English, therefore I wanted to translate the sources in English to Turkish. It was very vital that we have a particularly bi+ source and platform, otherwise bi+ existence is easily overlooked and not reflected upon. I thought that it was necessary to fight against the misinformation and hate speech disseminated on the internet, by creating such a platform. This is a choice after all. I hope it will reach a wider audience. 

Creating such a platform leads to international solidarity and communication as well, because the translation is not just a service for the readers in Turkey or a means of action, it leads to a contact with the owner/author of the translated content. Then that person also shares Bitopya. Next thing you know, Bitopya does not only reach Turkey anymore☺.  

Providing the transformation of language is another vital issue. It takes extra work to think about how to translate the English terms to Turkish and how to localize them while breaking the binaries reproduced in language.  My wish is to be able to introduce a link from the website against any misinformation or hate speech circulated on the internet, and to render Bitopya’s content widespread. I believe that this way people will no longer have a chance to ignore it anymore. We see the first steps in this path and I believe it will grow stronger. 

Let us briefly talk about the sections on the website too: Bi+ politics, bisexual health and bisexual history. How did these titles come about? Are you thinking of adding new titles? Will we see original content too? We are very excited!

It’s quite exciting for me too ☺, I’m happy that it resonates with you. The section “bi+ politics” introduces bi+politics pursued abroad to Turkey and to Turkish. “Bisexual health” provides articles about the impact of monosexism and biphobia on bisexual healthcare, to the health conditions that may be overlooked under the banner of LGBTI+ health and to the bi+ people’s access to healthcare. 

Bitopya also introduces videos published by the #StillBisexual video campaign with Turkish subtitles. This section will continue to be updated as well. #StillBisexual is a video content campaign developed by activist and writer Nicole Kristal in 2015. Bisexuals share various stories about their orientations at #StillBisexual and the hashtag aims to fight the negative bias and myths about bisexual, in order to develop an awareness about bisexuality as a range of existences.   

One of the reasons why bisexuality is lesser known is because its history is lesser known. Moving forwards with that idea, Bitopya aims to create awareness through the translation of the bihistory page. There will of course be additions. There are some ideas waiting to be realized in video format. I also want to dig deeper in bi+ history of Turkey. I’m not sure what you mean by original content but there will be new stuff for sure. Stay tuned!☺. 

Some of our readers may share the dreams of Bitopya and may wish to contribute to the site, especially our English speaking readers.  How can they contribute?

We will develop Bitopya together in fact. Maybe they can come up with an idea about how they can contribute when they look into the website. There can be help with translation. They can send articles either in Turkish or English. When we receive a text in a language other than English or Turkish, we need help with translation, so if you are fluent in other languages you are welcome to help. We had translated an article Zeynap wrote in ILGA before, about bisexual asylum seekers. It is very valuable to hear more about this issue. We are open to contributions in design and illustration. Our horizons are wide open as to how to grow together. I do not want to approach Bitopya as an editor, I see it as a platform shaped by togetherness, contact and sharing. 

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Bitopya’s logo is also designed by Ecemen.

It’s hard not to notice how beautiful your logo and web design is. Who is the designer? We definitely have to credit their contribution. 

Ecemen designed the website as well as building it. It is surely a work of the harmony between our imagination and ideas. I always say, if it weren’t for Ecemen, there wouldn’t be Bitopya.☺ 

We would like to thank Umut for taking their time for the interview. If you would like to get in touch with Bitopya, send an e-mail to bitopya.org@gmail.com

Don’t forget to follow bitopya.org ! Sharing is caring!

Social media accounts:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bitopya/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BitopyaOrg

Instagram: https://instagram.com/bitopya

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHhuPAUXMwf34utc4YlCATA

 

How is the trans sex workers’ right to work being violated in Turkey?

On the occasion of the 3rd of March International Sex Workers’ Rights Day, for the KaosGL readers, we have compiled the details of how the right to work, which is one of the fundamental rights of trans sex workers, is being violated and how this violation can be combated. 

Source: “How is the trans sex workers’ right to work being violated in Turkey?” (Türkiye’de trans seks işçilerinin çalışma hakkı nasıl ihlal ediliyor?), Aslı Alpar, Kaos GL, 3rd of March, 2020 https://www.kaosgl.org/haber/turkiye-de-trans-seks-iscilerinin-calisma-hakki-nasil-ihlal-ediliyor

According to the Constitution’s relevant article on the right to work, “work” is defined as “the right and duty of everyone”.

The same article includes the following statement: “the state takes the necessary measures to increase the quality of the employees’ lives, to protect the employees and the unemployed in order to improve working life, to support the work, to create an economic environment suitable for preventing unemployment, and to ensure peace of work.”

However, when it comes to sex workers, the right to work, which is one of the fundamental rights in the Constitution, is violated. Trans sex workers are exposed to discrimination based on gender identity as well as violations of the right to work.

So, by what means do the laws, those who work for the implementation of the laws, and the law enforcement forces violate trans sex workers’ right to work?

1 – The Law of Misdemeanours

The law of misdemeanours is a law defining various misdemeanours “in order to protect the social order, public morality, public health, environment and economic order.”

In this law, there is no article that defines the work of sex workers as misdemeanours. However, by using this law, law enforcement officers frequently impose administrative fines on sex workers who find customers on the street.

It is possible to fight against the fines imposed by the articles 32, 36 and 37 of the Law through the Criminal Court of Peace. You can use this link to reach an example of the petition that should be written against administrative fines, which was prepared by the Pembe Hayat LGBTI + Solidarity Association.

2 – The Law of Highway Traffic

Another tool used to violate sex workers’ right to work is the Law of Highway Traffic and the Highway Traffic Regulations enacted in relation to this law. Administrative fines are imposed on sex workers by using the first paragraph of the Article 68 of the Law, which regulates the rules for pedestrians.

The relevant article states, “The pedestrians who are on pedestrian roads, crossings or highways when necessary, are prohibited from acting in a way that will prevent or endanger the traffic.”

Sex work is not prohibited in the Turkish Criminal Law. In order to arbitrarily prevent sex workers from their works, the Law of Misdemeanours and the Law of Highway Traffic are being used to punish sex workers, although these laws do not contain the relevant provisions.

3 – Fines to the business cards

Business cards used by sex workers were sent to court under the article 226 of the Turkish Criminal Law, which regulates “obscenity”. After removing their photos, which had been seen as obscene images, from the cards, the sex workers faced another problem after the state of emergency.

The article 227 of the Turkish Criminal Law, which is one of the bag bills enacted during the state of emergency, was amended under the Law on the Amendment of Some Laws and the Criminal Procedure Law No. 6763 published in the official newspaper on December 2. According to this article, “prostitution” is not taken as a crime, but it is forbidden to advertise “prostitution”.

4 – Tracking on social media

Another practice that usurps the sex workers’ right to work is tracking on social media and law enforcement forces raiding houses. By hiding their identities and acting like a client, these officers make contact with the sex workers who use social media to communicate with the clients after the ban on business cards. Then, they go to the sex workers’ houses and impose fines. 

5 – Red tagging the houses, closing the streets

Another violation tool of the administration is to seal the houses with red tags and to close the streets.

Bornova Street in İzmir, where trans sex workers often work, for a while was closed every night the law enforcement forces and the trans people’s right to work was violated. Trans sex workers, whose rights and freedoms are restricted unlawfully in the closed street, are deprived of the procedural security granted to persons in case of detention, and the “medical examination” that must be carried out in custody is skipped.

Red tagging the houses where the trans sex workers work and live leads to another violation of the rights. In addition to being left homeless, the sex workers whose work and housing rights are being violated as a result of the red tags at their houses are not able to work until the tags are lifted.

 

Illustration: Aslı Alpar The person on the illustration says “Turkish Penal Code does not consider sex work to be a crime”.

March 3rd at Kadıköy: Trans Sex Workers, the City’s Residents and Owners

Kadıköy City Council’s LGBTI+ Assembly met with trans sex workers: “We are complaining about the police to the police. There are so many penalties,which one can you object to?”  

Source: “March 3rd at Kadıköy: Trans Sex Workers, the City’s Residents and Owners” (“Kadıköy’de 3 Mart: Trans Seks İşçileri Kentin Sakini ve Sahibi”), Cem Öztürk, KaosGL, March 4, 2020, https://www.kaosgl.org/haber/kadikoy-de-3-mart-trans-seks-iscileri-kentin-sakini-ve-sahibi

Kadıköy City Council’s LGBTI+ Assembly came together with trans sex workers on March 3, International Sex Workers Day at Kadıköy.  

While taking into consideration the subject’s visbility and freedom of speech, the panel discussed trans sex workers’ rights violations, their demands regarding the city and, as the city’s residents and owners, the ways in which living spaces could be made more safe and free. 

Aiming to ensure that the trans community can effectively participate in local politics, the participants discussed what could be done around common agendas.  

Law of Misdemeanors

The event started with the moderator explaining the structure of Kadıköy City Council LGBTI + Assembly and the work they do. Regarding the violations of rights, the participants stated that even though there is no prohibition on sex work in criminal law, the police still penalize trans women, citing the Law of Misdemeanors, and claim that trans sex workers looking for customers on the street “disturb the environment” and are “complained about”. They stated that this unlawful practice has become a systematic violation of the rights of trans women.

One of the participants said, “I get fined almost every night. There are times when they fine me more than once on the same day. Recently, when doing identity checks, they take criminal action against us without any explanation. The police report our identity information to the police station and take action. We find out about this much later. So much so that without being aware, I had accumulated 15 different fines, which is equivalent to about 2-3 thousand liras. It is not possible for me to pay this. I cannot file a complaint since no petitions have been given. Because I haven’t paid, I keep getting notices sent to my home. Sometimes, just to not get a fine, I refuse to give my identity card. But then, they forcefully take me to the police station.” 

“ Once your identification information is taken, you become blacklisted”

“The number of those who work on the streets has decreased due to police bullying. Many trans women now find customers online. But the police still follow us. That’s why we let each other know who the police are in the online dating applications and only accept customers by reference” added one participant. Another participant said “Even if we are not working and go out after 12 a.m., we still get a fine. One night after returning home from a walk with my boyfriend and dog, I was injured by a police officer in front of my door and broke a bone. The attacker was acquitted at court. Actually, it doesn’t have to be night time. Once I went out to the bakery during the day. A police officer stopped me in front of the bakery. Even though he saw the two loaves of bread in my hand, he still gave me a fine. He knows me because once your identification information is taken, you become blacklisted.” 

“We complain about the police to the police” 

Taking the floor, another participant said, “We call 155 to complain about the police who infringe on our rights. Ironically, we complain about the police to the police. There are so many penalties, which one can you object to? If I object to every single unjust penalty, that would mean I would be spending my life at the courthouse. Which one can I catch up with? I neither have the time nor the energy.”  

Regarding their demands concerning the city, the participants expressed that they were generally happy and comfortable living in Kadıköy. One participant said “I have been living in Kadikoy for almost 20 years. I feel like I’m from Kadikoy. I don’t go to the municipality, so I don’t know about the kinds of work they do.” “The municipality doesn’t recognize trans people. In other districts, municipalities have started employing trans people. Why not in Kadikoy?” asked another participant. 

What can be done? 

Evaluating the meeting, Kadıköy City Council’s LGBTİ+ Assembly representative said “We organized this meeting to engage with trans sexs workers, make them visible, provide space for their voices to be heard, identify their ongoing problems and make our demands a part of the local government’s agenda. We ensured the safety of the event by extending invitations to the participants via closed social media groups. I’m very pleased with the participation. This was a great meeting and actually a great start. We want to establish Kadıköy City Council LGBTI + Assembly’s trans policies with trans subjects. We attach great importance to ensuring that transgender people are not excluded from city agendas, decision-making processes and active participation in local politics.”

The event reporter said “One of the most striking finds for me was: Trans sex workers are not aware of the services provided by LGBTI+ non-governmental organizations such as psychosocial support and legal advising services. This is because they use the experiences and coping methods they have developed over the years to fight against the violations of their rights that they are subjected to. More work needs to be done on how the services offered by LGBTI + non-governmental organizations can be made more accessible for trans sex workers. Another important demand was about the provision of voluntary lawyers who can be reached at the time of the incident during violations experienced at night.”

“The topic of what we can do together at the local level was particularly productive. To fight against violations of rights, a proposal for legal self-defense workshops was brought forth. Despite all the negativity, we have agreed on how valuable it is to continue fighting and organizing. We have seen again how much the cooperation between local government, civil society and urban citizens is missing when it comes to trans sex workers. As the Kadıköy City Council LGBTI + Assembly, we are aware of our responsibility in this area. Because trans sex workers are also the inhabitants and therefore the owners of this city” said the reporter.  

Bitopya:Bi+lar için başka bir evren, başka bir mecra mümkün!

Uzun zamandır bi+, vegan ve feminizm aktivizmi yapan; biseksüellik, monoseksizm, ve normativite üzerine yazıp, çizen, kafa yoran ve mücadeleye katkı sunan Umut’un açtığı yeni bir mecra Bitopya. Bu söyleşide Bitopya’ya giden yolu arşınlıyoruz:  Bi+ olmanın görünmezliği, biseksüellik hakkında gerek LGBTI+ hareketinde gerekse heteronormatif söylemdeki kalıp yargılardan kurtulmak için doğru bilginin erişilebilir hale gelmesinin gerekliliği ve cinselliği normların tahakkümden kurtarmanın farklı katmanları….hepsi uğrak noktalarımız oldu. LGBTI News Turkey olarak Bitopya’yı heyecanla takip ediyor ve Umut’a teşekkür ediyoruz!

Öncelikle sizi ve varsa bitopya ekibini tanıyalım. 

İsmim umut erdem (they/them). Bitopya’nın kurucusuyum . Uzun zamandır aslında bi+ politika yapıyorum. Yine çoğunlukla bu konuda içerik üretimi yapmış olsam da 2019 yılında İstanbul’da ilk kez gerçekleşen Bi+ Pride İstanbul’un yürütücülerinden biriyim. Sevgili feminist bi+ aktivist Zeynab Peyghamberzadeh ile birlikte gerçekleştirdik. İzmir’de de Onur Haftası kapsamında Bi+ Görünürlüğü Atölyesi gerçekleştirdim, yine geçen sene. 2018 yılında da Gözde Demirbilek ile Kaos GL çatısı altında Bi+ broşürü hazırladık. İstanbul’da yaşıyorum, geçimimi şimdilik özel bir kurumda çalışarak sağlıyorum. Feministim ve veganım, bu konularda aktivizm yapmaya çalışıyorum. Bitopya da bir aktivizm alanı tabii benim için. Sitenin hayata geçebilmesi siteyi inşa eden sevgili transfeminist aktivist Ecemen sayesinde oldu. Kendisi lgbtisagligi.org’u da yapmıştı. Birlikte çalışmış olduk. Şimdilik Bitopya’da, zamanında görüp okuyup “bu yazı kesinlikle Türkçe’ye çevrilmeli” dediğim bi+ politikaya, biseksüel sağlığına ilişkin yazıları Türkçe’ye çeviriyorum ama çevirilere bakacak, katkı sunacak başka gözlere de ihtiyaç duyuyorum. Bir ekip diyemem şimdilik galiba ama “birlikte çalışma” hali kesinlikle var. Genelde biseksüellik ve bi+ politika üzerine konuştuğum, fikir teatisinde bulunduğum, fikirlerine güvendiğim arkadaşlarımın da Bitopya’nın yaratımında büyük rolleri var.

Umut, Türkiyeli okuyucularımız arasında senin adına aşina olanlar elbet vardır, siteyi kurma fikri nasıl oluştu? 

Site fikri benden çıktı. Bi+ öz bir dijital mecraya çok ihtiyaç duyuyordum kendi adıma. Bu sebeple hayata geçirmek istedim. Biseksüelliğin hali hazırda görünmez, silinir pozisyonda olmasının yanı sıra hem lgbti+ hem feminist politikada bir bütünden çok kesişim kümesi olarak görülmesi, sosyal medyada biseksüelliğin hedef gösterilmesi, hakkında üretilen olumsuz ve nefrete varan yargılamalar sebebiyle bunlara bir cevap niteliği taşıyacak bir evren yaratma tahayyülüm oldu. Bi+ politikanın Türkiye’de daha görünür olması gerekliliği de büyük bir motivasyon oldu Bitopya’yı kurmamda. Sivildüşün’e başvurdum, onun desteğiyle gerçekleşti. İngilizce bildiğim için özellikle yurtdışında takip ettiğim bi+ politikasına ve biseksüel sağlığına ilişkin yazıları Türkçe’ye çevirerek Türkiye’deki lgbti+ ve feminist politikanın gündemine bi+’yı sokmayı amaçladım. Hem görünmezlik hem de [bi+] hakkında yaratılan önyargı, kalıp yargı, nefret ve had safhada var olan bilgisizliği yenmede bir bilgi bankası oluşturarak büyük bir adım atabileceğimi düşündüm. Patriyarka, heteronormativite gibi sistemler ve ayrımcılık biçimleriyle mücadele ettiğimiz gibi monoseksizm ve bifobiyi hayatlarımızdan, düşünce ve eyleme biçimlerimizden çıkarmaya çalışacağımız bir evren yaratma tutkusuyla Bitopya doğdu diyebilirim.  

Bitopya adından anlaşılacağı gibi bi+lar için yeni bir tahayyül, başka bir alan, bir ufuk genişletme amacı taşıyor. Sizce dijital aktivizmin işi nedir? 

Sadece bir tweet atmaktan ibaret değildir bence ☺. O tweet’in ne kadar fav ve rt aldığı da fark etmez. Sosyal medyanın gücünü önemsiyorum ama bir tweet’ten ya da flood’dan ibaret olan politik söylemler ne kadar dijital aktivizmdir, kuşkuluyum. Buna dair sorgulamalarım da beni site kurmaya itti doğrusu. Dijital aktivizm, sosyal medyada hızla yayılan bilgi kirliliğinin önüne geçme amacı taşıyarak teması, diyaloğu, tartışmayı önemseyen sağlıklı bir zemin yaratmanın peşindedir bence. Bir de bi+ politikaya ilişkin dijital aktivizm yapma motivasyonum, dijital alanda bi+’lara yönelen şiddet dilinden kaynaklı. O kadar çok bifobiyle örülü ama bunu asla kabul etmeyen kullanıcıların elinden çıkmış tweet’ler görüyordum ki. Dijital alanın, bi+’lar için, monoseksizme ve bifobiye karşı daha güvenli olmasına çalışıyorum, benim için dijital aktivizm bu demek aynı zamanda. Bilgi paylaşımını önemseyen, sağlıklı, iletişim odaklı, eşitlikçi, kapsayıcı, nefrete, şiddete taraf olmayan bir zemin yaratarak, taraftarlaştırmadan farkındalık çalışmaları gerçekleştirmektir dijital aktivizm kanımca.

Türkiye’deki LGBTI+ hareketinde B ve + ne alemde? Türkiye’de bi+ olmanın zor yanlarını nasıl tarif edersiniz? Dünyadaki durum farklı mı?

Biseksüellik özelinde konuşursam yok hükmünde gibi bir şey aslında. Belki ağır oldu ama öyle sanki. Yeni yeni özneler sayesinde kat edilmeye çalışılan yollardan geçiyoruz. Özneler olmasa pek kimsenin düşüneceği yok gibi. Bunun tabii bir geçmişi var ve daha çok sadece LGBTİ+ hareketi değil de feminist hareket çatısında, biseksüel feministlerin verdiği mücadeleyle konuşulur oldu diyebiliriz. 2015’ten beri, biseksüellik ve bi+ politika özelinde açılan patikalar örülmeye çalışıldı. 2019 bu açıdan daha parlaktı diyebiliriz. Ama öznelerin dirayeti ve isyanı olmasaydı… Bunun sebebi bir yandan bilgisizlik ve önyargı. Çok az insanın bilgisizlik ve önyargıyla mücadele etme çabasından kaynaklı, biseksüel silinmesi devam ediyor mücadeleye rağmen. İşte bu bilgisizlik ve önyargı sebebiyle insanlar biseksüelliğin, bir şemsiye kimlik ve varoluş olduğunu yadsıyorlar. “Bi+” olarak literatüre geçirmeye çalışıyoruz. Monoseksizmi literatüre geçirmeye çalışıyoruz. Bu mücadele yeni ama tabii. Biz özneler için de çok eskiye dayanmıyor farkındalık. Öyle yok sayılan bir şey ki çünkü, başka varoluşların kesişiminde politika yapmaya, varolmaya çalışmışız. Ee fobi, nefret de cabası. Bu atmosfer içselleştirilmiş bifobiyi fark etmemizi de engelliyor. Bu gerçekten bence acı bir şey. “+” yı da biseksüellikten ayıramıyorum ben aslında tabii. Bitopya’nın politikası, “+” ve trans politikadan kopuk, bağımsız asla değil. Çünkü ikili kurulan, toplumun onayı ve bakış açısına dayanan bir sistemle/sistemlere karşı mücadele esaslı, bu sistemlerin birbiriyle ilişkisini, kesişimini açığa çıkarma amacı taşıyor. Bu yüzden mücadele çetin, zor ama imkansız değil. Düşünce sistemimizi ve yargılarımızı ikilikten çıkarma, o ikilik dışında düşünebilme, argüman geliştirebilme, genelleyici bir ikilik tahsis etmemeye yönelik atılacak adımlar, LGBTİ+ hareketinde B ve +’yı önceliyor olacak. 

Yani sözde cinsiyet ikiliğine düşülmeme gayesi var ama ben pratikte bunun egzersizinin yapıldığına inanmıyorum. Eşcinsel/hetero ikiliği üzerinden kuruluyor dil ve politika. Bi+ politikası tam da bu ikiliği eleştiriyor ve diğer yaratılan ikiliklerle ilişkilendiriyor bu durumu. Gerçekten söylenildiği gibi cinsiyet ikiliği eleştirisi layıkiyle yapılıyor olsa eşcinsel/hetero ikiliği tufasına düşülmez. 

Biseksüel olarak açılma anından itibaren başlanan zorluklar var, geçerli sayılmamak, kanıt beklentisi, ciddiye alınmamak ve olumsuzlamalar yağıyor üstüne sürekli. İlişkilenmelere dair kötü deneyimler ve yaşanan travmaların faturası, sırf senin varoluşundan, arzundan kesiliyor. Arzu ile deneyim arasında kurulan hiyerarşiden ve deneyimin daha üstte görülmesinden nasibini alıyorsun. Açılamıyorsun. Açılmanın öncesi de var aslında, tüm kuşanılan nefret, önyargı, kalıp yargılar, olumsuz yargılamalar, düşmanlaştırma, sana bir şeyi zaten gösteriyor oluyor. Bir temsil bulamıyorsun. Zaten “evet biseksüel, bi+ budur” denilen bir temsil de olamaz. Yani tektip olamaz diyeyim en azından. Böyle olunca medyada vs. kendini biseksüel olarak tanımlayan karakterlerin yoksunluğunu görüyorsun ya da stereotip temsillerle karşılaşıyorsun, ne yazık ki. Bir şeylerin çatısında elimine ediliyorsun. “Eşcinsel evlilik”, “eşcinsel çift”, “lezbiyen filmler”, “gey temsiller”. Biseksüellik asla tahayyül edilen bir şey olmuyor. Zaten böyle olumsuz görülen ve hakkında ön yargı üretilen bir şey neden tahayyül edilsin? Hadi açılıyorsun diyelim, ikili cinsiyetçi oluyorsun. O kadar çok karşılaştım ki bu yorumla. Yok yeterince queer değilmiş, yok çok ikiliymiş. Hangi mertebeye çıkıldı ve böyle yargılar yapılıyor? Biseksüeller tek tipmiş gibi bir algı var. Ee hani çeşitliliği savunuyorduk? Bi+ mevzusunda duvara tosluyoruz, kabul edelim ☺. Monoseksizm üzerine düşünmemenin, bunu gündemleştirmemenin acısını yaşıyorsun ve yanındaki insana göre sana yönelim atanıyor, birileri tarafından da buna göre sen lgbti+ topluluğunun içindesin ya da değilsin. Ya herkesin üzerine basa basa hayatını yaşayan ayrıcalıklarla kuşanmış birisin ya da sen de acı çekiyorsun çünkü o sırada hemcinsinle birliktesin. Ben ayrıcalık denen şeyden, birlikte olduğun partnere bağlı olarak üzerinden kıyafet çıkarıyormuş gibi bundan sıyrılabileceğini düşünmüyorum. Hop şimdi ayrıcalıklı değilim, çünkü partnerim hemcinsim ya da normatif görülen biri değil. Hop şimdi ayrıcalıklıyım çünkü partnerim diğer cinsiyetli. Böyle bir şey olabilir mi? Sandalye kapmaca oyunu mu bu? Bu sabit, genelleştirici, keskin sınırlar çizen düşünce sistemini sorgulamamız gerekiyor. 

Dünyadaki durum da farklı değil. Lokal farklılıklar elbet olur diye düşünsem de takip ettiğim kadarıyla gördüğüm yaşanılan yok sayılma, dışlanma, olumsuz yargılara tabî olma, hem hareketteki hem toplumdaki ikili düşünme tedrisatı çok evrensel. Bitopya’daki çeviriler boşuna yapılmıyor  

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Bitopya site tasarımı ve görselleri : Ecemen

Uzaydan dünyaya bakıyorken hazır, bunu da soralım: Bitopya’nın önemli bir görevi çevirmenlik. Bu açıdan  LGBTI+ News Turkey olarak bizimle de ortak bir derdiniz var: Dünyadaki bi+’larla Türkiye arasında bir köprü kurmak. Size göre bunun önemi ve işlevi nedir? İnternetin sağladığı alışveriş LGBTI+ hareketi için nasıl bir potansiyel taşıyor?

 

Çok fazla LGBTİ+’nın internet kullandığını düşünürsek ve hatta kendilerini oralarda daha çok ifade ettiklerini düşünürsek önemli bir iş yapıyoruz. Daha çok insana ulaşma potansiyelimiz var. Aynı havayı soluyamadığımız, komşu olmadığımız nice insana da erişebiliriz. İnternetin kendisi başlı başına pek çok insanı bir araya getiren, ortaklaştıran bir araç oldu ama sosyal medyada bunun nasıl dezavantaja neden olacak şekilde kötüye kullanıldığını da görüyoruz. Bir ortaklaşma, biraradalık yaratırken gücünü nasıl taraftarlaştırmadan aldığını. Bitopya’nın derdi, bu tufaya düşmeden, söylemini, politikasını yaygınlaştırmak. Türkiye’de bi+ politikaya dair büyük bir bilgisizlik hakim. ‘Dünyada neler oluyor’u bu konuda takip etmek benim için elzem. İngilizce kaynakların yaygınlığı ama Türkiye’nin bundan haberdar olmaması, Bitopya’yı bir sorumluluk olarak ortaya çıkardı. Herkes İngilizce bilmiyor, özellikle bunu düşünerek yaygın olan İngilizce kaynakları Türkçe’ye çevirmek istedim. Öz bir bi+ kaynak, alan olması da çok önemliydi, aksi şekilde elimine ediliyor bi+, çok üzerine düşülmüyor. İnternet ortamında yaygınlaşan bilgi kirliliği ve nefrete karşı böyle bir alan yaratarak mücadele etmenin bir gereklilik olduğunu düşündüm. Bu bir yandan bir tercih. Umarım çokça yaygınlaşır. Uluslararası bir dayanışma, iletişim de yaratıyor böyle bir mecra yaratmak. Çünkü çeviri sadece Türkiye’deki okuyuculara sunulan bir hizmet, eylem biçimi de olmuyor, çevirisini yaptığımız yazarla ya da içerik sahibiyle de temas kuruyoruz. O da mesela Bitopya’yı paylaşıyor. Bir bakıyoruz, Bitopya’nın eriştiği yer sadece Türkiye’den ibaret değil artık ☺.  Dilde dönüşümü sağlamak da önemli bir mevzu. Hem dilde yeniden ve yeniden üretilen o ikiliği kırmak hem de İngilizce terimleri, ‘Türkçe’ye nasıl çevirebiliriz’, ‘nasıl yerelleştirebiliriz’ üzerine mesai harcamayı da düşündürüyor. İsteğim, yanlış, nefret içerikli söylemlere karşı pat diye, siteden bir link verebilmek ya da Bitopya’daki her tür içeriğin dolaşıma sokulmasını, yaygınlaştırılmasını sağlamak. Çünkü bir süre sonra inanıyorum ki, insanlar görmezden gelemeyecek, böyle bir şansları olmayacak çünkü. Bunun adımlarını da görüyoruz. Daha büyüyecek bu, buna inanıyorum.  

 

Sitenin bölümlerine de değinelim: Bi+ politika, biseksüel sağlığı ve biseksüel tarihi. Bu başlıklar nasıl oluştu? Yeni başlıklar eklemeyi düşünüyor musunuz? Orijinal içerikler de görecek miyiz? Çok heyecanlandık!

Benim için de çok heyecan verici ☺, sevindim karşılık bulmasına. “Bi+ politika” daha çok yurtdışında yürütülen Bi+ politika’yı Türkiye ve Türkçe dili ile buluşturma amacı güden içeriklerden oluşuyor. “Biseksüel sağlığı” da, LGBTİ+ sağlığı adı altında elimine edilen ve görülmeyen biseksüellerin sağlık koşullarına, sağlık hizmetlerine erişim konusuna, bifobinin ve monoseksizmin sağlıklarına yönelik etkilerine ilişkin makalelere, içeriklere yer veriyor. Biseksüelliğin yeterince bilinmemesinin nedenlerinden biri, biseksüelliğin tarihinin bilinmemesi bence. Bu düşünceden hareketle, bu konuda çalışan bihistory sayfasının paylaşımlarını çevirerek farkındalık yaratmayı amaçlıyor, Bitopya.

Bir de Bitopya’da #StillBisexual video kampanyası çatısında yüklenen İngilizce videolar Türkçe altyazılı ile mevcutlar. Güncellenmeye devam edecek bir bölüm o da. #Stillbisexual yazar ve aktivist Nicole Kristal’ın 2015’te hayata geçirdiği bir video içeriği kampanyasıdır. Biseksüellerin yönelimlerine dair çeşitli hikayelerini paylaştıkları #stillbisexual, biseksüel şemsiyesindeki varoluşlara dair farkındalık geliştirip biseksüelliğin silinmesi, hakkında yaratılan mitler ve olumsuz yargılamalarla mücadele etmeyi hedefliyor.

Yeni eklemeler tabii ki yapılacak. Fikir aşamasında olan ve gerçekleşmeyi bekleyen şeyler var. Şimdilik daha çok video içerikleri özelinde. Türkiye’deki bi+ tarihini deşme fikrim de var. Orijinalden kasıt ne bilemedim şimdi ama yeni şeyler gelecek, takipte kalın ☺. 

Bitopyanın düşlerine ortak olup katkıda bulunmak isteyen okuyucularımız olabilir, özellikle de İngilizce konuşan ve Türkiyeli olmayan okurumuz çok. Size nasıl katkıda bulunabilirler?

Aslında beraber geliştireceğiz Bitopya’yı. Nasıl katkı koymak istediklerine dair bir fikir ya da fikirler siteyi incelediklerinde akıllarına gelebilir belki. Özellikle çeviri alanında katkı koymak isteyenler oluyor. Yazı gönderilebilir, hem Türkçe hem İngilizce dilinde. İngilizce ve Türkçe harici dilde yazı gönderildiğinde, o dillerde çeviri yapabilecek insanlar katkı koymak isterse şahane olur. Zeynab’ın daha önce ILGA’da yazdığı bir yazıyı çevirmiştik, biseksüel sığınmacılarla ilgili. O yüzden o konuda daha çok ses ve söz duymak kıymetli. Tasarım, çizim anlamında katkıya açık olabilir Bitopya. Ufuk geniş Bitopya’yı birlikte yürütmek konusunda. Sadece tahayyülüm, Bitopya’yı sadece editörlük konumunda görmemek, gerçekten paylaşımın, temasın, biraradalığın olacağı bir yer olarak görmek, o şekilde geliştirebilmek. 

 

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Bitopya logosunun tasarımı Ecemen’in elinden.

Logonuz ve site tasarımınız da pek güzel, gözlerimizden kaçmadı. Kimin elinden çıktı bu tasarımlar? Onu da anmadan geçmeyelim.

Siteyi kuran Ecemen yaptı tasarımları da. Fikir ve hayal gücümüzün uyumu ve sirayeti diyeyim ☺ Hep söylerim, Ecemen olmasaydı, Bitopya da olmazdı ☺ 

 

Bitopya.org’u takibe alın!

 bitopya.org@gmail.com’dan iletişebilirsiniz.

Sosyal medya hesapları:

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Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHhuPAUXMwf34utc4YlCATA