SPoD’s Result Declaration on the School of Local Politics

Source: SPoD,  “SPoD Yerel Yönetimler Siyaset Okulu Sonuç Bildirgesi,” (“SPoD’s Result Declaration on the School of Local Politics,”) 16 December 2013, http://www.spod.org.tr/siyasi-temsil-calismalari/?p=35

We, LGBTI rights activists from Adana, Ankara, Antalya, Dersim, Diyarbakır, Eskişehir, Gaziantep, İstanbul, İzmir, and Mersin got together at the School of Local Politics, organized by Social Policies, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association (SPoD) between November 11 and 17, 2013. For 6 days, we thought about and discussed how to use tools of local politics to secure equal rights and protections for LGBTI people, to jointly develop the demands to make our cities livable for LGBTI people, and to take the first steps to monitor local elections and local administrations.

We, LGBTI people, are not recognized as equal citizens in this geography we live in and we are only potentially considered in a note under the preamble of the draft Article on Equality in the New Constitution. Our most basic rights such as the right to life, work, housing, health care, and education are disregarded. We have been declared to be sick and perverted by the current government and media outlets that stand close to the government over and over again. We are the targeted and we are the victims of hate crimes. As LGBTI people, we aim to strengthen our 20 year struggle for rights, equality, and freedom through political representation and participation.

With only months left to the local elections that will be held on March 30, 2014, we declare to the public that we will monitor the statements of political parties and mayoral candidates as well as the practices of elected ones within the LGBTI rights framework.

We call on all political parties and candidates running in the local elections to share their planned policies to ensure the participation of LGBTI people in local administrations and full and equal access to local services.

Our Demands

The Eradication of Discrimination in Local Administrations

  1. The cooperation of municipalities with LGBTI associations to develop a perspective of equality in local administrations and raising awareness on discrimination against LGBTI people through public events.

  2. Research and public education events should be conducted by human rights commissions of municipalities on discrimination against LGBTI people. The participation of representatives from LGBTI associations in these delegations must be ensured.

  3. Joint campaigns by municipalities and LGBTI associations against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

  4. In-service training for employees in local administration system units on LGBTI rights and discrimination.

  5. The inclusion of the ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in municipality programs and the obligation to investigate and penalize cases that violate the ban on discrimination.

The Right to Participate in Local Administrations

  1. The equal inclusion of LGBTI people in city councils and neighborhood committees.

  2. Attention to LGBTI associations’ demands in advisory boards within the municipalities, commissions, and committees, as well as ensuring equal representation.

  3. The preparation of LGBTI friendly municipality statements in cooperation with LGBTI associations and initiatives to ensure the comprehensive provision of city services.

Employment and Safe Work Zones

  1. The preparation of anti-discrimination regulations that include sexual orientation and gender identity for local administration service providers and employment within the institutions.

  2. The adoption of necessary precautions by local administrations to ensure that sex workers can work in safe zones. Sensitivity trainings regarding homophobia and transphobia must be given to the municipalities’ security units.

Social Services

  1. The establishment of call centers in municipalities for LGBTI people and their families. Employees in these centers must be chosen among candidates who have had trainings through LGBTI people and associations.

  2. The transformation of vacant buildings within municipality borders to culture and solidarity centers for the use of LGBTI and other minority groups in society.

  3. Planning municipality funds allocations for NGOs to include LGBTI assocations. Providing LGBTI assocations with space for events and meetings.

Transportation

  1. The necessary precautions must be taken by the municipalities to ensure that LGBTI people benefit equally from transportation services. Municipality bus drivers must receive sensitivity trainings on discrimination against LGBTI people and punishments must be set for homophobic and transphobic attitudes and behaviors.

Shelter

  1. Women’s shelters are obligatory in municipalities where the population exceeds fifty thousand and the necessary arrangements must be undertaken for lesbian, bisexual, and trans women’s needs. The allocation of funds for shelters for LGBTI people to be jointly founded by LGBTI associations and municipalities.

Health Care

  1. Municipalities’ health services should take into consideration LGBTI people’s needs and provide cost-free services. Sexual health awareness programs must be undertaken. Municipality funds must be allocated for the free and anonymous diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases. Cooperation with sexual health organizations and LGBTI associations must be ensured during the planning and application of these services.

Signatories:

Antalya Pink Caretta LGBTQ

Black Pink Triangle Izmir Association

Dersim LGBT Initiative 

Hêvi LGBT Initiative

Keskesor LGBT Formation Diyarbakır

Lambdaistanbul LGBTT Solidarity Association

Mersin 7 Colors LGBT

Middle Eastern Technical University LGBT

MorEl Eskişehir LGBTT Formation

Mulberry Tree Collective 

Red Umbrella Sexual Health and Human Rights Association

Queer Adana

Social Policies, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association (SPoD)

ZeugMadi Gaziantep LGBT 

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