What is Deemed a “Crisis” in the New Constitution Debates is Homosexuals’ Right to Life

Source: Kaos GL, “Yeni Anayasa Yazımında “Kriz” Adı Altında Tartışılan Eşcinsellerin Yaşam Hakkıdır,” (What is Deemed as a “Crisis” in the New Constitution Debates is Homosexuals’ Right to Life,) 22 May 2012, http://www.kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=11417

Kaos GL released a statement about the discussions on including the “sexual orientation and gender identity” phrases in the “equality” article of the New Constitution on 22 May 2012.

LGBTs ask for guarantees for their right to life

Kaos GL, in collaboration with all LGBT associations, insists on getting the reality of “sexual orientation and gender identity” recognized in the New Constitution.

If the terms “sexual orientation and gender identity” that describe the existence of LGBT people are not being added to the “equality” article of the constitution, LGBT people will continue to be evaluated as “everybody” or “the other” or “and the like” and politics of denial will remain.

The “crisis” in the Constitutional Reconciliation Commission during the discussion of “equality” item is a crisis of determining who will be accepted as a “citizen” and who is going to be respected as “human.” The objection to “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” signs that LGBT people will not be accepted as citizens.

LGBT people’s right to life is ignored by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), though the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and Republican People’s Party (CHP) recognize it.

If the government does not recognize LGBT people and does not ensure their human rights, it will support the current discrimination under the name of ‘’the New Constitution’’ and will open the way to discrimination and hate crimes that LGBT people are already subjected to.

Who is going to protect the equality of people who are unrecognized?

Do you really not know that LGBT community members have never felt equality in any parts of their lives though “all are equal before the law.” The mentality of the “New Constitution” is the same as the Constitution of 12 September 1980 coup.

While the current constitution explicitly states causes of discrimination as “language, race, sex, political thought, philosophical belief, religion, and religious sect,” it excludes “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.”

Though the phrase “…and for similar reasons” could have been used to protect the rights of LGBT people who face discrimination because of their sexual orientation and gender identity, the phrase has never been applied against this kind of discrimination.

Because you can never be the “all” before the law if you are a homosexual resisting mandatory heterosexuality, if you are a Kurd resisting against the one language policy, if you are an Alevi resisting one religion, if you are a woman resisting patriarchy, if you are a worker resisting capitalism, if you are the minority against the majority, if you are poor or disabled or old…

Equality is too valuable to be left up to the discretion of judges and prosecutors!

This is exactly why LGBT community members in Turkey want the LGBT reality in Turkey to be recognized by having the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” inserted to the “equality” article in the New Constitution.

However, when it is LGBT people’s turn to be included in a modern and inclusive constitution, the demands of LGBT people for constitutional equality and freedom are left to the prejudicial fantasies of all. The real issue is not about “marriage” but about “equality” and of course LGBT citizens will have all the rights that heterosexual citizens have.

What LGBT people demand is not some “special” arrangement but a reasonable request for equality and non-discrimination.

Even though “the homosexual reality” is ignored in the current constitution and laws, when it comes to “discrimination,” lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans people are discriminated against in every field of life, they face pressure, and they are bereft of legal assurances by the fact of their exclusion from equality.

As if it were not enough that violence, discrimination, hate crimes, and hate-motivated killings of LGBT people are increasing and they continue to be deprived of legal assurances, the fact that requesting constitutional equality leads to prejudice and fantasies is worrying.

The constitutional demands of LGBT organizations are to prevent all kinds of discrimination and to protect the human rights of all the citizens of the Turkish Republic.

It is obvious that a constitution, which does not protect LGBT people against discrimination due to sexual orientation and gender identity cannot be egalitarian, democratic and liberal.

This entire story of demanding constitutional recognition is really about LGBT people’s wish to be called by their own names!

The representatives of the government do not even mention the name of LGBT people…

They either call LGBT people “them” and make them the “other” or attach the words “immorality, rascality, unhuman situation” like the Minister of Interior Mr. Şahin.

The official explanation of using general terms in the constitution is the lie that “society is not ready for it yet.”

As LGBT people and organizations, we insist on our demand to be recognized in the constitution as equal and free.

We demand the inclusion of the terms “sexual orientation and gender identity” in the “article on equality” of the New Constitution right after the term “gender” as we have motioned and argued for at the Constitutional Reconciliation Commission.

Kaos GL

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