Article Translated from Yeni Akit: Scandalous Support to Perverts from Council of State.

Translator’s note: The following article contains offensive and violent language.

Source: “Scandalous Support to Perverts from Council of State”, (Danıştay’dan sapkınlara skandal destek), yeniakit.com.tr, July 19, 2019, https://m.yeniakit.com.tr/haber/danistaydan-sapkinlara-skandal-destek-849279.html

The Council of State’s 10th Chamber showed scandalous support to perverted homosexuals. The decision of a lawsuit Emirhan Deniz Celebi, a homosexual, filed against Cerrahpaşa for failing to perform ‘gender reassignment surgery’ in 2017, pleased perverts.

Imposing their illegitimate forms of relationships on the public by using the slogan, ‘Get used to it, we are everywhere,’ immoral homosexuals received unexpected support. The Council of State found the lawsuit valid, filed by Emirhan Deniz Çelebi, a perverted homosexual with an immoral lifestyle, against Cerrahpaşa Faculty of Medicine Hospital for failing to perform ‘gender reassignment surgery.’ The 10th Chamber of the Council of State found the ‘valid’ reasons given by Cerrahpaşa Faculty of Medicine Hospital for not performing gender reassignment surgeries of perverts ‘invalid.’ Upon the Council of State’s decision, the operations will now be performed. The hospital was not performing the operations due to ‘priority given to emergency patients’ and ‘regard for the privacy of female patients.’

Perverts will be crowding public hospitals

Using dirty money from the European Union, German associations and Soros, perverted LGBTI homosexuals are using every possible way to tear down our country’s basic moral principles. Putting up banners that say ‘Ramadan cannot interfere with Şaban and Recep’s love’ and using the slogan ‘Get used to it, we are everywhere’ during the holy month of Ramadan, homosexuals are imposing their perversion on the public, and they shamelessly want to have their gender reassignment surgeries in public hospitals that are paid for with people’s taxes. The case has been continuing between the homosexual Emirhan Deniz Çelebi and Cerrahpaşa Faculty of Medicine Hospital since 2017. The decision puts forth the severity of the situation.

In an academic council meeting, Cerrahpaşa Faculty of Medicine had made the decision to not perform gender reassignment surgeries in order to ‘protect the privacy of female patients’ and ‘give priority to emergency patients,’ but the implementation has been stopped by the Council of State’s incomprehensible decision. Cerrahpaşa Hospital had appealed Istanbul 10th Administrative Court’s ‘gender reassignment surgery is mandatory’ decision with valid reasons. The Council of State’s 10th Chamber turned down the appeal saying ‘there is no need for an appeal.’ With the scandalous case setting a precedent, homosexual perverts have now gained the right to have gender reassignment surgeries at any hospital.

A homosexual teacher was also acquitted

The Council of State’s 12th Chamber had found the dismissal of a homosexual teacher unlawful. The 2015 decision pointed to the fact that a teacher could not be dismissed from their profession based on their personal life.

Akit continues its attempts at defaming LGBTI+ achievements

LGBTI+ rights advocates continue their battles at court for the recognition of their right to gender transition procedures. As Emirhan Çelebi wrote in his recent article on his battle against Cerrahpaşa Training Hospital’s unlawful practices. In court Çelebi challenged the arbitrary denial of hysterectomy and oophorectomy surgeries to trans men. Çelebi and his attorneys won the case against the hospital, after the hospital administration’s appeal to Council of State.

This pursuit of justice seems to have upset the extreme rightwing daily Akit, who have repeatedly targeted LGBTI+ activists, with troubling examples of hate speech. Trans individuals in Turkey have the right to gender affirmation surgeries and are indeed forced to do so in order to have their gender recognized in their ID cards. Such mandatory surgery is in itself a violation of the rights of trans individuals, another realm of struggle for trans activists. The legal battle in this case was to ensure that the hospital follows the law.  Yet, Akit’s slur-ridden news article attempts to turn this struggle on its head, suggesting that this achievement is a travesty of justice, that the hospital’s “righteous” appeal was “tripped up” by the Council of State.

While the article lumps all LGBTI+ individuals under the all too familiar label “pervert”, it is completely in denial of any reality, as it announces that the trans individuals now have the right to get their surgeries done in any hospital of their choosing. The reality is that the trans individuals already have the right (and indeed, the obligation) to have a gender affirmation surgery in certain training hospitals. This is by no means an example of the lack of information, it is a further attempt to alarm the “public” and to mobilize transphobia (and homophobia, due to confusion of terms in the article) against the LGBTI+ rights advocates exercising their rights as citizens. 

Akit and other transphobic media outlets might be in denial, but the truth is trans citizens exist, out or not they are everywhere, they are not going anywhere and will continue the battle for their fundamental rights. We once more wholeheartedly celebrate Çelebi and all the achievements of trans individuals which remain unknown to us, in their battle for survival and for a decent life. 

 

Note: We choose to spare our readers the triggering affects of the hate speech, and we paraphrase its main points instead of translating the article in its original language. However, you can follow this link if you wish to read our translation of the article. Please be aware that it involves violent and offensive language.

Queer Friendship and Migration

Queer friendship opens the doors to a world that transcends all kinds of identity categories and is a place where closeness can be experienced anywhere at any time regardless of one’s identity, title, or past.

Source: Queer friendship and Migration (Kuir dostluk ve göç), Kaos GL, https://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=28543&fbclid=IwAR3cO0t6rQ3xebaH2QbxuI8WLxG2gvATeONFON4UIVAZtVEFLqqkYe2emE8 July 21, 2019

In the 165th issue of Kaos GL, Yener Bayramoğlu wrote on the subject of “Friendship”:

About nine years ago I emigrated from Istanbul to Berlin. During this process, Istanbul, the place where I was born and grew up, turned into a foreign city where I could not remember the street names, I could not find the bars and cafes I used to go to, and I did not know which route to take to go from one neighborhood to another. Although I couldn’t follow the transformation of Istanbul personally, it was possible to feel the vibrations of these changes taking place in Berlin. Istanbul has undergone tremendous change in the past nine years and as a result, it has transformed Berlin as well.

In the past two years, Berlin has become a city where a lot of people who didn’t feel at home in Turkey anymore have immigrated. Among these newly arrived immigrants are my old friends whom I fought together with in Istanbul in the past. Thanks to them, Berlin reminds me of old Istanbul more and more. Istanbul, on the other hand, has turned into a completely different city that I don’t even recognize anymore because so many have left.

Although it is not talked about, there is unrest in Berlin for new immigrants. Especially between the new and old generation of immigrants, there is a subtle tension. Most of the new immigrants, unlike the older generation, are highly educated people who found a job or scholarship despite not being able to speak German and are building an international career. They have the opportunities that the workers who immigrated to Germany previously, who were either victims of a coup or those who escaped from the ethnic conflicts, could never imagine. In other words, there is a sense of unrest rather than solidarity between different generations of immigrants due to class differences. The newcomers look down on the old generation of immigrants and the old ones look at the newcomers with envy.

The only group that doesn’t fit into this situation and follows a different logic from the one that all the other immigrant groups have are LGBTI immigrants. Although it is a vast generalization, I think LGBTI immigrants are the only group that does not harbor tension between generations [and] where there has been more solidarity than tension. So, what’s the reason for it? I think this is because ‘migration’ and ‘friendship’ are actually two rather queer experiences. Both migration and friendship are the two lifesavers that almost every single queer individual has to hold on to at some point in order to survive.

Although migration and diaspora studies proceed from an extremely heterosexual vein, what we call migration, even forced migration, is actually one of the most fundamental experiences of many LGBTI people for centuries. ‘Home’ or ‘family’ is a problematic area evoking of bitter, painful or even traumatic memories for many LGBTI people. Sooner or later, almost every LGBTI experiences roughness in their relationships within the house or family where they were raised, even if they do not suffer trauma due to their own identity. When this roughness is felt, the house ceases to be home. For many LGBTI people, the home longed for is not the house left behind. A long awaited desired home that is dreamed about is a home waiting to be established elsewhere, in another city or in another country. That’s why history is full of stories of queers who escaped from their family and found their home in Istanbul and had to build it again and again. Therefore, not the feeling of homesickness, but the desire to immigrate is queer. Although similar feelings are spreading throughout the society today, the feeling of not being able to fit into the city or country where the person was born and raised is a feeling that many LGBTI people have known for a long time.

Just like migration, friendship allows holding on to life for queers. They feel the dazzling taste of closeness, solidarity, unquestioning support and self-realization, not with their family or relatives, but with their friends. For many queers, freedom does not occur in relationships with the family, but in friendships. And freedom is like bread. Therefore, history is full of stories of queers who left their biological family completely behind and found alternative families with friends in another city. These families, established with friends, do not follow the rules of biology and blood. It is deaf to hierarchies that may result from age and class differences.

Friendship has an important place in queer theory. For Michel Foucault, queer friendship is an important tool for us to build another world. Queer friendship opens the doors of a world that exceeds all kinds of identity categories, where closeness can be lived anywhere at any time, regardless of one’s identity, title, or past. A partnership based on blood, class or ethnic identity is not required for being close. In addition, friendship is a non-institutionalized close relationship, unlike all other close relationships such as those established with siblings, parents, spouses, lovers, or relatives. It is a true form of closeness literally because it has no institutional binding and control. As a matter of fact, when you lose its sincerity, no one can hold you, you can just go away.  However, one of the points that the studies on queer friendship miss is that a friendship’s real potential emerges with migration. Starting from scratch, away from family, old friends, old ties, old rules, is not only difficult but also liberating. With new friends in a new city or a new country, it is easier to sail to new experiences and break taboos.

Another situation that I have observed in Berlin and have experienced in my own life is that migration makes queer friendship indispensable. Relationships with friends not only shields against homophobia or transphobia, but it also strengthens you against racism. It is precisely because of these multiple discriminations LGBTI people experience, unlike all other groups of immigrants, it is essential for LGBTI immigrants to establish friendships that transcend class, age and ethnic differences. When something happens to you, those who will rush to help you first is usually not the family or relatives, but queer friends.

From this perspective, queer friendship sets an example for all other immigrant groups. I think other groups of immigrants need to understand queer friendship and closeness, in order to understand why there is more solidarity between different generations of LGBTI immigrants than tension. Once again, LGBTI has a formula that can serve as an example for other social  groups and even for the whole society.

 

How can you get Kaos GL magazine?

This article was first published in the 165th issue of Kaos GL magazine. Online subscribers can reach the magazine through the website of the magazine. Those who want to get the printed version can buy the new issue from the bookstores starting next week. To purchase the magazine online, you can contact Notabene publications.

 

A Review of Pride Across Turkey: Defiance and Resilience

The horizon looks bright in some regions of Turkey for future LGBTI+ Pride weeks and marches. New opportunities have emerged for Turkish LGBTI+ rights associations and activists to gain concessions from the police and the judiciary. This year’s pride events highlighted the strength, capacity and resilience of rights defenders, even in a hostile political environment. 

LGBTI+ Pride weeks took place across Turkey, despite state repression and bans on public gatherings. From Istanbul to Mersin, LGBTI+ rights organisations and individual activists marked Pride across the country with defiance in celebration of their identities. Chants echoed across the country with the cries, “we are here, we are queer” and “where are you my love? / I am here my love”.

In many cities across Turkey activists and lawyers were able to win concessions from the police and judiciary making some of this year’s pride events the largest in years. However, in Gaziantep, a city in southeastern Turkey, no improvements were seen in recent years for LGBTI+ rights activists and the situation has even deteriorated since the official lifting of the State of Emergency.

In this article we will look at many of the Pride celebrations across Turkey, reporting the challenges as well as the successes of this year. Looking at the accomplishments of activists can open up new opportunities for Prides in the future. 

Istanbul

The theme of this year’s Pride, EKONOMİ NE AYOL? (‘Economy? What’s that?’), focused on rising inflation in Turkey and the vulnerable position of LGBTI+ individuals in an economic crisis.

Between June 24-30 art exhibitions, picnics, film screenings, workshops and parties took place in 29 venues across the city. The variety of events set an inclusive atmosphere for people of all identities, with an emphasis on inclusion and peace building. 

Early in the week Istanbul Pride Week Committee met with the Governor, who declined their request to hold Pride Walk in Taksim and stated that the LGBTI+ community was regarded as a “socially dubious group”. The Governor also declined a petition to have the Pride march celebrated in Bakırköy, another part of the city designated for demonstrations but less politically symbolic than Taksim.

On Sunday, June 30 without state permission, people were to meet in Taksim for the Pride Walk. Heavy police presence around Taksim and along Istiklal Avenue prevented people meeting on Taksim Square. However, the police consented to negotiate with some of the organisers, allowing the Pride to take place until 17:30 on Mis Sokak, a street near Taksim famous for its LGBTI+ friendly bars. A press statement was read there to sounds of hundreds of people cheering. One quote from the press statement was,

“We do not give up our lives, our solidarity, nor our organized struggle! We are here, get used to it, we are not going.”

At almost exactly 17:30 the police marched down Mis Sokak spraying the few people who remained with tear gas, rubber bullets and chasing them with dogs. A bar on Mis Sokak where people were continuing to celebrate was also sprayed with tear gas. Before the police attack, people were able to meet in security for over an hour. The police did not use water cannons as they had in previous years and some people taking part in the celebrations described the police as more restrained than in previous years. 

As the Pride march was chased from Mis Sokak activists kept meeting in various neighborhoods of the central district of Beyoğlu, reading press statements and celebrating before eventually being dispersed again by the police. The defiance of the continual celebrations was in line with  the message of Pride: we are here, we are everywhere.

Metehan Ozkan from LISTAG, an association which works with the parents of LGBTI+ individuals described this year’s Pride: “We had parents from Ankara, Izmir and Antalya parents groups, we had new members who had a chance to experience Pride for the first time with their children. Though the Pride was ‘limited’ it was very emotional for them.”

Mustafa Sarıyılmaz from SPoD, an Istanbul-based association focusing on social and psychological support for LGBTI+ individuals, said:

“Police was less brutal than last year. I might easily comment that what we had this year was a small gathering that we all missed and longed for a very long time. And, we now have our hope that we might be able to have our parade back in two year’s time. Because, these are all the signs that the movement in Turkey is getting stronger day by day. We have developed a huge solidarity between us now, which wasn’t the case before.”

That night two parties closed the Istanbul Pride, one was put on by Gzone Mag magazine involving trans and drag performers, the other event was hosted by local LGBTI+ DJs. 

During the Istanbul Pride, six people were detained by police.

SECKER_Bradley-Pride 2019-Istanbul-Turkey-1.jpg

Ankara

An indefinite blanket ban against all LGBTI+ events was declared in the capital Ankara under the state of emergency on November 2017. Kaos GL made an appeal which the 12th Administrative Court used to re-examine the ban and ruled that the city governor did not have the legal power to issue bans of that kind. Although the ban was officially lifted, in practice it continued to be in effect.

On May 10, students at the Middle Eastern Technical University staged a Pride celebration despite the rectorate forbidding it. The celebrations were also dispersed by the police using tear gas and rubber bullets. Twenty-five people were detained including an academic working at the university. In reaction students released a press statement calling for “a ban on the bans”. A party was also held afterwards by the students involving drag performances, with the names of those arrested read aloud and applauded.

Some of these arrested students have subsequently had their student loans and assistance revoked on the recommendation of the Security Directorate to the Credits and Dorms Authority. 

Izmir

The 7th İzmir Pride Week planned for June 17-23 was banned on June 14 by the Governorship of Izmir. However, an appeal by the association Genç LGBTİ+ (LGBTI+ Youth) repealed the ban allowing many of the planned events to take place. In the decision to prevent a ban on some of the Pride activities, one judge voted in favor of enforcing the ban and two votes were for the bans repeal. One of those two votes repealing the ban, commented that this decision should be applied to all Pride activities in İzmir.

However, the ban was not fully lifted for the Pride march nor for two events entitled “Bondage Workshop” and “Sex Toy Workshop”. Activists persisted in marching and negotiated with the police, winning the concession to read a press statement on Kıbrıs Şehitleri Avenue in the center of Izmir. However, after the press statement 17 activists were detained. 

Gaziantep 

In Gaziantep  a blanket ban for 20 days on LGBTI+ events prevented Pride events from taking place. During Pride week activists were prevented from putting up a Pride rainbow flag in Çınarlı Park and police prevented activists reading a press statement at Yeşilsu Square. Instead, the Human Rights Association, IHD (Insan Hakları Derneği) hosted a Pride event to read the Pride’s press release:

“As long as you view our existence as a threat, we continue to say, ‘Every step of ours is a Pride March.’

“If it is your tradition to declare those who strive for an honorable and just life immoral and terrorists to cover up your “sins,” it is our tradition to not stop speaking, not stop and not obey.

“We know that what fuels your aggression is our power. We know in our struggle since the 1980s that you are trying to exploit the beauty of our togetherness.”

ZeugMadi Lgbt, an Antep based LGBTI+ Rights association told LGBTI+ News Turkey that for them there was no improvement in how Prides were experienced in previous years. 

“In fact, the State of Emergency is still not over in Turkey. As LGBTI+ individuals we are still under martial law. Both socially and by the law. Harassment, incidents of rape, sexism, homophobia, transphobic rhetorics have all increased after the formal ending of the State of Emergency.”

Mersin

Despite a blanket ban on LGBTI+ events put into effect on June 25, the Mersin Pride still took place. Activists met in workshops and marched in small group unveiling Trans and LGBTI+ Pride flags in a few select spots across the city. Again, the defiance and determination of activists meant that few a short time in different parts of the city, LGBTI+ individuals were more visible. 

Municipalities’ Official Support

From across Turkey, municipalities controlled by the main opposition party, CHP sent out greetings and support to Pride over social media. This occurred in the past but a larger number of municipalities sent out posts  this year. 

On this topic Mustafa Sarıyılmaz from SPoD reported to LGBTI+ News Turkey that 

“Thirty-five municipalities around the country celebrated Pride over Twitter, it seems the visibility of queer community in Turkey has grown, in a positive way. Well, on the other hand, …. the director of religious affairs made all imams around Turkey curse LGBTI+’s in Friday prayers. Yet, we’re hopeful.”

 

Words by George Winter

Photos by Bradley Secker in the İstanbul Pride 

29/07/2019 Correction: The article had previously stated that a Pride after party was put on by GQ magazine, this was incorrect. Gzone Mag put the party on.

A Success Story: advocacy against a hospital denying hysterectomy surgery for trans men 

Source: “Rejection of hysterectomy in Cerrahpaşa, prosecution process and success of advocacy”, (Cerrahpaşa’da histerektomi ameliyatı reddi, dava süreci ve savunuculuğun başarısı), Emirhan Deniz Çelebi, KaosgL.org, 10 July, 2019

https://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=28513

I guess it was early February in 2017 when a friend texted me: “Emirhan, did you hear that Cerrahpaşa no longer do our surgeries?”. When I first read the message I was taken aback and then called my friend to learn more about what’s going on with Cerrahpaşa. 

This is how the story begins: My friend was barely able to get a date for their surgery next week. A member of the staff at Cerrahpaşa OB-GYN department says: ‘ Due to a decision taken by the academic committee, we no longer do the laparoscopic hysterectomy of trans men, we have to cancel your surgery date’. My friend could barely hold it together at that point. In Turkey one of the most excruciating parts of the legal process in changing your assigned gender and your name on the ID is to make the post-surgery reports in time for the day of the hearing. If there is a lag, the court may adjourn your case to two or three months later.

After receiving this news, I wondered ‘Hang on, what will they say about surgery day if I call them?’ and I picked up the receiver. I got the same answer and so I asked ‘When did you start making transphobic decisions that concern public health in your academic council meetings?’. There was no answer. When I asked them to send me a written copy of their reply, I was already sure that I would not receive that either. Nevertheless, I gave them a shot and waited 10 days. No news. Was I surprised? No. I called them again and asked for a written reply. They hung up after saying ‘We can’t send you any reply sir’. That’s what drove me wild. Yeah, as if you can’t, you will  have to respond. 

I sat down and wrote a complaint to BİMER* (now it’s called CİMER):

To whom it may concern,

When trans men in our country submit their request to change their name and gender to a court, they are referred to OB GYN departments of hospitals as Article 40 of Civil Code requires them to be permanently deprived of reproduction [reproductive capacity]. Cerrahpaşa Medical Faculty OB GYN Department was one of the institutions which undertake these surgeries [hysterectomy]. That was the case until I was told that these surgeries are no longer done based on an academic council decision…This decision results in transsexuals not being able to undergo the legally required surgeries. Many people had their court date adjourned and were victimized. If you require us to do so, we can submit a joint petition. Last week, in a meeting with around 30 trans men, many of those who have their surgery dates approaching brought the issue up. 

I would like to ask you three things: Is it only the trans men your hospital is not doing the laparoscopic hysterectomy and salpingo oophorectomy operations on? If that is the case, on what grounds? Are you currently allowing your cis-gender female clients to undergo these operations?  

In sum, I kindly request you to send a written reply, including the reason for the decision and the minutes of the academic council meeting.

I wrote this on March 13, 2017. On April 13, 2017 I received an untitled e-mail, it read ‘[Our] respond to your application is attached’. Here we go. Check this out:

The request and complaint submitted to Prime Ministry Communication Center (BİMER)  by XXX Çelebi was examined. The Academic Council meeting on February 15, 2017 ruled against these procedures as the examination of these cases of voluntary castration (hysterectomy and ooferectomy) surgery done on genitally healthy individuals who are phenotypically and genotypically female and organically have the reproductive capacity lead to irreversible organ failure and loss of function which can lead to medical, ethical and legal problems; due to the problems the admission of male-looking patients causing problems in OB-GYN wards,  and because emergency and pregnant patients are prioritized during the relocation of our department. According to Social Insurance Institution regulations, people have no right to apply to another hospital. Attached is the relevant Academic Council decision.”

I read these words in a breeze and I began to feel numb starting with the bit about ‘these cases’, climaxing at ‘male-looking patients’. The pregnant patients are to be prioritized…as if it is only cis-women who give birth! The whole reply is oozing transphobia. 

I calmed down a little and decided to take this opportunity. In that period, there was another hospital which did hysterectomy operations of trans men, they would refuse to do the operations every now and then. It was time to get the rights advocacy going. I printed out the documents and ran to the attorney Rozerin Seda Kip.

Together with my attorney Rozerin, we applied to Istanbul Administrative Court. In the petition, Rozerin indicated that these attitudes were transphobic and discriminatory. Rozerin also reminded the court of Article 40 of Civil Code and the European Convention on Human Rights. The petition demanded the halting of the execution of the ruling, stating that the administration’s refusal to carry out the ‘sterilisation’ surgery of the trans individuals is arbitrary and unlawful.   

Following this application on 2017, what did the Istanbul University Rectorate** do? Of course, it asked the case to be dismissed. The first court in charge was Istanbul 10. Administrative Court, and this court stated that the hospital can not refuse to carry out the surgery, reminding them that the hospital itself penned a report that suggests the person needs to undergo gender affirmation surgery.

The University made no surprises and filed an appeal to Council of State. Finally this year the Council of State 10th Chamber ruled against the appeal. Thus, the legal struggle beginning in 2017 certified that the hospital’s refusal to carry out the surgeries of trans men was unlawful. 

The struggle starting with BİMER and ending at Council of State is an example of the importance of advocacy. In this way, the judiciary too, confirmed that hospitals have no luxury to deny the surgery. During our advocacy action, cancelled the requirement to ‘be permanently deprived of procreation’ from Article 40, even if this is not the practice in reality…We have a long way to go! May this decision be a beacon to us all! 

*Translator’s note: BİMER is Prime Ministry Communication Center. Currently, CİMER (Presidency Communication Center) is used by citizens to file complaints about any state department.

** Cerrahpaşa is a training hospital under the administration of Istanbul University Faculty of Medicine. It is the sole authority in many state sanctioned surgeries, like the gender affirmation surgeries.

Alan Savunması: A voice for women and the LGBTI+ community in sports 

In recent years, women’s and LGBTI+ initiatives in Turkey have been actively seeking to eradicate sexist and heteronormative violence from the realm of sports. From chants inciting rape to sexist coverage of sports news, the spectacle of sports and sports journalism have been tainted with violence. Many remain unaware of the fact that LGBTI+ and female athletes exist and compete in all branches of sports, in both national and amateur teams. Alan Savunması* is a new online platform publishing news focusing on LGBTI+ and female athletes, their negative experiences and their accomplishments. Zeynep Serinkaya from LGBTI+ News Turkey interviewed Ali from Alan Savunması on their work. We would like to remind our readers that for now Alan Savunması is only in Turkish. 

haber görseli

How did you come up with the idea of Alan Savunması? Can you introduce the crew?

Alan Savunması had been in our minds for a long while. When we witnessed the inequalities experienced by a few female soccer player friends of ours and their efforts in the field, we decided that we did not want to remain indifferent to it all. These inequalities are not only the problem of the women we know. There is worldwide discrimination, which just happens to be felt more intensely in Turkey.

When we started following sports with female players, especially women’s soccer we observed that there are many LGBTI+ athletes struggling to play. I’m saying “struggling” because hegemonic masculinity and homophobia impose themselves on every realm.

While we were still enraged by what the female athletes were going through, we listened to the story of several LGBTI+ athletes’ experiences of harassment, ostracization and verbal insults on the brink of physical violence. This led us to take action. 

Bearing in mind that people are not aware of these experiences or choose to remain silent, we decided that first we needed to render these experiences visible. As we are currently continuing our undergraduate studies and have no regular income, we focused on ideas that we can realize with minimum cost and maximum effort. (Only for now!)

To that end, it was best to establish a news platform: We are journalism students so we believe we have the capacity and we think it can be really beneficial to make these inequalities be known to get people to take action. 

We are a crew of two at Alan Savunması for now. I am (Ali Safa Korkut) 23 years old and currently enrolled at Uşak University as a senior year journalism student. I live in Diyarbakır. My friend Özdemir Atuğ is a classmate of the same age, living in Aksaray. 

I am the editor and reporter for the website, Özdemir manages our social media accounts and technical maintenance. 

 How is the relationship of Alan Savunması crew with sports? What are the sports you are interested in, do you play in any teams?

We are both deeply interested in sports. I played amateur soccer for four years but I am also interested in basketball and swimming. Aside from these, I try to follow tennis, volleyball and athletics. 

As a crew, we try to follow all branches of sports, not just the ones we know. We spend every day involving ourselves in sports. 

The number of initiatives which use sports to stand against gender inequality and discrimination is increasing in Turkey. Karşı Lig, Queer Olympix, Kızlar Sahada are a few examples. How do you think one can support the individual and institutional work of activists and LGBTI+ communities seeking to alleviate the challenges of inequality in sports?

As I mentioned before, I believe visibility is the first step: We need to contribute to the visibility of both the achievements and negative experiences of female and LGBTI+ athletes, as well as the visibility of the initiatives and activists seeking to support their visibility. There are human rights activists who are into sports in their private lives yet have no idea about the victimization or the existence of female and LGBTI+ athletes. Their lack of awareness is not their fault, the media outlets have no coverage of LGBTI+ athletes and activists in their newsfeeds at all. 

By covering organizations like Karşı Lig, Queer Olympix and Kızlar Sahada in detail through the media, it is possible to create awareness. This duty falls on the shoulders of alternative media. As the mainstream media follows hegemonic masculinity and has no respect for the diversity of sexual orientation, it refutes the existence of diverse identities and leaves no space in their news cycles. Alternative media should do its share at this point and include female and LGBT+ athletes as well as the  LGBTI+ activists working to contribute to their visibility in their content. 

As for future steps to be taken, it would be useful to organize symposiums, panels, conferences with larger crowds involving sports clubs, athletes and supporters, in order to guide them towards valuing female and LGBTI+ athletes more.

Sports is perhaps the realm where corporeal and gender norms impose themselves most violently. How do you think the relationship between sports and gender-sexual orientation based discrimination can be changed?

Discrimination begins in the language. Sexist discourses are the greatest indicator of this fact. This is also the case with sports. We see that supporters of any sports use sexist discourses when they want to say something against their opponents before, during or after the game. The supporters are in a mindset that regards being a woman or being LGBTI+ as an abhorrent thing. They use ugly insults against the opponents by alluding to the qualities of a woman or an LGBTI+ individual. 

This can be defined as a manifestation of the patriarchy of our culture. Those who consider sports to be a male realm occupy the bleachers and exhibit their hate speech and sexism with their chants and banners. Therefore, I believe we have to end sexism through language. If we can purify our language from sexist utterances, we can get rid of gender discrimination in every realm of life, not just sports.

While battling against heteronormativity and sexism, is it possible to transform the industrialized and competition-driven sides of sports? In your opinion, what is the impact of reading about the positive examples on the audiences?

Sports have become a servant to capital and has been industrialized in every aspect, therefore I do not think that it can become an activity that sides with the people in the long run. However, this industrialization can have positive impacts against gender based discrimination in sports, albeit for its own interests. 

Sportswear brands such as Nike, Adidas, Puma frequently feature LGBTI+ and female athletes in their commercials. Although they claim that their sole aim is to stand against gender based discrimination, I do not believe the reality to be as such. It is a known fact that as a part of the industrialization of sports, brands seek to create new markets for their products and to increase their client bases. As such, although they are acting in their own interests, they contribute to the struggle against gender based discrimination.  

Reading positive news can create a positive influence in society as well as media.

There might be those who read the articles and news on Alan Savunması and decide that they too can write. What would you like to tell those who would like to join you or send their writings to you? What is the importance of LGBTI+ sports reporting? 

Journalists, writers, academics, students of the Department of Communication, basically anyone can send us their news articles and/or opinion pieces. Alan Savunması is open to their contribution. We would like them to know we can feature any news or articles focusing on female or LGBTI+ athletes in any field of sports. We support any content that will contribute to the visibility of female or LGBTI+ athletes.

LGBTI+ sports reporting is important for the struggle against gender based discrimination and heteronormativity.  The media coverage of the accomplishments or negative experiences of amateur or professional LGBTI+ athletes will not only change the perception of society but also that of media for better.  

Alan Savunması is a good example. Since  we started publishing, we have been observing an increase in the news on LGBTI+ athletes, especially in alternative media. 

 Is there anything else you would like to tell our readers? Aside from submitting articles, how can they support you?

I can tell our readers that they do not need to be LGBTI+ to defend the rights of women and LGBTI+. We are a case in point. Neither I and nor my friend here in Alan Savunması identify as LGBTI+ individuals. Yet we think it is a humanitarian duty to raise our voice against the injustice and to defend the rights of others. So should our readers.

I don’t know about the future but for now we do not need financial support, yet if they would like to we would not mind it 🙂 We appreciate it if you follow our social media accounts and pass the word onto the others.

Interview by: Zeynep Serinkaya

You can visit Alan Savunması at http://alansavunmasi.org.

*Translator’s note: Alan Savunması isTurkish for Zonal Defence.

Alan Savunması: Alışın, kadınlar ve LGBTI+ler sporda!

Son yıllarda kadın ve LGBTI+ girişimleri Türkiye’de sporu boyunduruğu altına alan cinsiyetçi ve heteronormatif şiddeti ortadan kaldırmak için faaliyetlerini arttırdı. Tecavüzcü tezahüratlardan cinsiyetçi manşetlere, spor endüstrisi ve spor haberciliği şiddete bulanmış durumda. Çoğu insan LGBTI+ ve kadın sporcuların gerek profesyonel gerek amatör olarak her spor dalında var olduğunu ve rekabet ettiğini bilmiyor. Alan Savunması LGBTI+ ve kadın sporcuların kazanımları ve olumsuz deneyimlerine odaklanan yeni bir çevrimiçi haber platformu. LGBTI News Turkey’den Zeynep Serinkaya Alan Savunması’ndan Ali Safa Korkut’la bir röportaj yaptı.

 

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Alan Savunması‘nı kurma fikri nasıl ortaya çıktı? Ekibinizi kısaca tanıyabilir miyiz?

Alan Savunması aslında uzun zamandır gerçekleştirmeyi düşündüğümüz bir projeydi. Futbol oynayan birkaç kadın arkadaşımızın bu alandaki çabasına ve maruz kaldıkları eşitsizliklere yakından tanıklık edince buna kayıtsız kalmak istemedik. Keza bu eşitsizlikler sadece bizim tanıdığımız kadınların başına da gelmiyor. Dünya genelinde böyle bir ayrımcılık olmakla beraber bu Türkiye’de biraz daha fazla hissediliyor.

Sporun kadınların mücadele ettiği dallarını ve özellikle de kadın futbolunu biraz yakından takip edince spor yapmaya çalışan LGBTİ+ sporcuların da bir hayli fazla olduğunu yakından gözlemledik. ‘’Spor yapmaya çalışan’’ diyorum çünkü eril tahakküm ve homofobi her alanda egemenlik kurmaya çalışıyor.

Henüz kadın sporcuların maruz kaldıkları karşısında öfkemizi yatıştıramamışken bir de birkaç LGBTİ+ sporcunun spor yaparken yaşadığı taciz, dışlanma ve hatta fiziksel şiddete kadar varan sözlü hakaretleri birinci ağızdan dinleyince bir şeyler yapmak istedik.

İnsanların bu durumlardan haberdar olmadıklarını veya olsalar bile sessiz kaldıklarını düşünerek ilk aşamada bu yaşananları görünür kılmamız gerektiğini düşündük. Mevcut olarak üniversite eğitimimizi sürdüğümüz ve düzenli bir gelirimiz olmadığı için de -en azından şimdilik- minimum gider ve maksimum efor sarf ederek başarıya ulaşabileceğimiz fikirler üzerinde yoğunlaştık.

Bu doğrultuda da hem gazetecilik bölümü öğrencileri olarak yapabileceğimize inandığımız için hem de bu eşitsizlikleri duyurabilmek ve toplumu harekete geçirebilmek adına gerçekten yararlı olacağını düşündüğümüz için yapabileceğimiz en doğru şeyin bir haber sitesi kurmak olduğuna kanaat getirdik.

Şu anlık Alan Savunması’nda sadece iki kişi faaliyet gösteriyoruz. Ben (Ali Safa Korkut), 23 yaşımda ve Uşak Üniversitesi Gazetecilik Bölümü son sınıf öğrencisiyim. Diyarbakır’da yaşıyorum.

Diğer arkadaşım da aynı sınıfta olduğum Özdemir Atuğ. O da benimle aynı yaşta ve Aksaray’da ikamet ediyor.

Ben sitenin editör ve muhabirliğini yapıyorum, Özdemir de sosyal medya yönetimi ve sitenin teknik işleriyle ilgileniyor.

Alan Savunması ekibin sporla arası nedir? İlgilendiğiniz sporlar, oynadığınız takımlar nedir?

İkimiz de sporla oldukça yakından ilgileniyoruz. Dört seneye yakın bir süre boyunca amatör olarak futbol oynamakla beraber basketbol ve yüzme ile de yakından ilgileniyorum. Bunun dışında tenis, voleybol ve atletizm gibi sporları da elimden geldiğince takip etmeye çalışıyorum.

Ekip olarak bu böyle aslında, sadece bilgi sahibi olduğumuz sporları değil tüm spor dallarını takip etmeye çalışıyoruz. Her günümüz sporla geçiyor.

– Türkiye’de son zamanlarda Karşı Lig, Queer Olympix, Kızlar Sahada gibi spor yoluyla toplumsal cinsiyet eşitsizliği ve ayrımcılığa spor yoluyla karşı çıkan inisiyatiflerin sayısı artıyor. Sizce bu tür oluşumların ve bireysel olarak spor alanındaki eşitsizlikleri gidermeye çalışan LGBTI+lerin ve aktivistlerin çalışmaları nasıl desteklenebilir?

Söylediğim gibi, ilk aşamada kadın ve LGBTİ+ sporcuların başarıları ve yaşadıkları olumsuz durumlar ile onların görünürlüğüne katkı sunmayı amaçlayan oluşum ve aktivistleri görünür kılmak gerektiğini düşünüyorum. Çünkü gerçekten özel hayatında sporla yakından ilgilenen ve kadın ve LGBTİ+ sporcuların varlıkları ile mağduriyetlerinden habersiz olan insan hakları aktivistleri var. Ancak bu habersizlikleri de kendilerinden değil, medya kuruluşlarının LGBTİ+ sporcu ve aktivistlere haber akışlarında hiçbir şekilde yer vermemelerinden kaynaklanıyor.

Öncelikli olarak Karşı Lig, Queer Olmypix ve Kızlar Sahada gibi organizasyonlara medyada detaylı bir şekilde yer vererek bu konuda bir duyarlılık/farkındalık yaratılabilir. Burada da alternatif medyaya büyük iş düşüyor. Ana akım medya kuruluşları bir eril tahakküm oluşturmak istediğinden ve farklı yönelimlere sahip bireylere saygı duymadığından, onların varlıklarını reddediyor ve hiçbir şekilde haber akışlarında yer vermiyor. Bu noktada alternatif medyanın devreye girerek haber akışlarında kadın ve LGBTİ+ sporcular ile onların görünürlüğüne katkı sunmayı amaçlayan LGBTİ+ aktivistlere daha fazla yer vermesi gerekiyor.

Sonraki aşamalarda çeşitli spor kulüpleri, sporcular, taraftar grupları vs. gibi etki alanı geniş kesimlerle panel, konferans, sempozyum, vs. gibi etkinlikler düzenlenerek kadın ve LGBTİ+ spor ve sporculara gereken değerin verilmesi sağlanabilir.

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-Spor belki de bedensel ve cinsel normların en çok dayatıldığı ve şiddet ile kendini gösterebildiği bir alan. Sizce sporun toplumsal cinsiyet ve cinsel kimlik temelli ayrımcılıkla ilişkisi nasıl düzeltilebilir?

Ayrımcılık öncelikle dilde başlıyor. Bunun en büyük göstergesi de cinsiyetçi söylemler. Sporda da bu böyle. Baktığımız zaman, spor dalı fark etmeksizin maç öncesinde, esnasında veya sonrasında karşı takım aleyhinde bir şeyler söylemek isteyen taraftarlar, onları aşağılamak için ilk olarak cinsiyetçi söylemlere başvuruyor. Kadın veya LGBTİ+ olmayı aşağılık bir durum olarak gören zihniyet tarafından rakip takıma kadın olmak veya LGBTİ+ birey olmak üzerinden benzetmeler yapılarak çirkin hakaretlerde bulunuluyor.

Bunu kültürümüzdeki ataerkilliğin bir tezahürü olarak gösterebiliriz. Sporu sadece erkeklere ait bir alan olarak görenler tüm erillikleriyle tribünlerde de yer alıyor ve maç boyu nefret söylemi ve cinsiyetçi söylemlerle dolu marş ve pankartlarını sergiliyor.

Bu sebeple cinsiyetçiliği öncelikle dilde bitirmemiz gerektiğini düşünüyorum. Kullandığımız dili cinsiyetçi söylemelerden arındırabilirsek sadece sporda değil yaşamın her alanında cinsiyet ayrımcılığını ortadan kaldırabiliriz.

– Heteronormativiteyle ve cinsiyetçilikle mücadele ederken, bir yandan da sporun endüstrileşmiş ve rekabete odaklanan halini dönüştürmesi mümkün müdür? İyi ve olumlu örneklerin haberlerini okumanın buna nasıl bir etkisi olabilir sizce?

Tüm hücreleriyle endüstrileşmiş ve sermayedarlara hizmet eder hale gelmiş olan sporun, uzun vadede yeniden halk yönünde tavır alan bir etkinlik haline gelebileceğini maalesef ki sanmıyorum. Ancak bu endüstrileşme, içinde bulunduğumuz süreçte -kendi çıkarları için de olsa- sporda cinsiyet temelli ayrımcılığa karşı olumlu bir katkıda bulunuyor.

Nike, Adidas, Puma vs. gibi önde gelen spor giysi üreticileri, reklamlarında kadın ve LGBTİ+ sporculara sıkça yer veriyor. Bu reklamların yegane amacının cinsiyet temelli ayrımcılığa karşı bir duruş sergilemek olduğu iddia edilse de bunun pek de öyle olduğunu düşünmüyorum. Spordaki endüstrileşmenin bir parçası olarak, ilgili markaların bu reklamlarla asıl amaçladıkları şeyin ürünlerine yeni pazarlar oluşturmak ve müşteri kitlelerini geliştirmek olduğu herkesçe bilinen bir gerçek.

Böylelikle her ne kadar kendi çıkarları doğrultusunda hareket etmiş olsalar da cinsiyet temelli ayrımcılığa karşı verilen mücadeleye de katkı sunmuş oluyorlar.

İyi ve olumlu haberlerin örneklerini okumak başta medyada olmak üzere toplumda da olumlu bir algı oluşturabilir.

Alan Savunması‘ndaki haber ve makaleleri okuyup “ben de yazarım” diyenler olabilir. Aranıza katılmak ya da size yazı göndermek isteyenlere neler söylemek istersiniz? LGBTI+ spor haberciliğinin önemi sizce nedir?

Gazeteci, yazar, akademisyen, iletişim fakültesi öğrencileri vs. gibi toplumun her kesiminden insan haber ve/veya düşünce yazılarını bizlere gönderebilir. Alan Savunması onlardan gelecek katkılara açıktır. Sporun herhangi bir dalı ile ilgili kaleme aldıkları, odak noktasında kadın veya LGBTİ+ sporcular olan her türlü haber ve yazıya Alan Savunması’nda yer verebileceğimizin bilinmesini isteriz. Kadın ve LGBTİ+ sporcuların görünürlüğüne katkı sunacak her türlü içeriğe Alan Savunması’na yer verebiliriz.

LGBTİ+ spor haberciliği, özellikle heteronormativiteye ve spordaki cinsiyet temelli ayrımcılığa karşı büyük önem arz ediyor. Amatör veya profesyonel olarak sporculuk yapan çok sayıda LGBTİ+’nın başarılarının veya maruz kaldıkları ayrımcılıkların medya aracılığıyla duyurulması yalnız toplumun algısını değil medyanın algısını da olumlu yönde etkileyecektir.

Buna örnek olarak, Alan Savunması’nı gösterebilirim. Yayım hayatımıza başladıktan sonra özellikle alternatif medyada LGBTİ+ sporculara yönelik haberlerde bir artış gözlemleyebiliyoruz.

– Okuyucularımıza söylemek istediğiniz başka bir şey var mı? Yazı ve makale dışında sizi nasıl destekleyebilirler?

Okuyucularımıza kadın veya LGBTİ+ bireylerin haklarını savunabilmek için illa LGBTİ+ olmak gerekmediğini söyleyebilirim. Bunun en büyük örneği de bizleriz. Ben ve Alan Savunması’nda faaliyet gösteren diğer arkadaşım LGBTİ+ bireyler değiliz. Ancak, kendimizden olmayan insanların da hakkını savunabilmeyi, ortadaki adaletsizliklere bir ses çıkarmayı birer insanlık vazifesi olarak görüyoruz. Lütfen onlar da öyle görsünler.

İleride nasıl olur bilmem ama şu an için herhangi bir maddi desteğe ihtiyacımız yok ancak destek sunmak isterlerse de hayır demeyiz 🙂 Şimdilik sosyal medya hesaplarımızdan bizleri desteklemeleri ve daha fazla insana sesimizi duyurmamıza yardımcı olmaları yeterli.

Daha fazlası için Alan Savunmasının sitesini ziyaret edebilirsiniz.

Röportaj: Zeynep Serinkaya