LGBTI Pre-Candidates Run For Municipal Assemblies

Source: “LGBTI Pre-Candidates Run For Municipal Assemblies,” bianet, 15 January 2014, http://www.bianet.org/english/gender/152845-lgbti-pre-candidates-run-for-municipal-assemblies

bianet interviewed various pre-candidates of the upcoming municipal elections with LGBTI background who raised their voices to have their say on their surroundings.

As the municipal elections are approaching, discussion focus on various party municipal assembly pre-candidates, men and women, from various parts of the country. bianet interviewed various pre-candidates of the upcoming municipal elections with LGBTI background who raised their voices to have their say on their surroundings.
bianet asked the following question: “How will your pre-candidacy affect/ contribute the policies of municipal assemblies of your electoral districts?

“We will work on every topic from urban renewal to discrimination”

Sedef Çakmak- CHP Beşiktaş Party Assembly Pre-Candidate: Considering that Beşiktaş district houses several universities and these universities house LGBTI student clubs, it is easy to understand how important it is to improve the conditions of LBGTI people and bring more awareness on the topic.
Beşiktaş is also the most LGBTI-populated district after Beyoğlu and Şişli. Especially, I believe that it is important to channel LGBTI student from student clubs to party assemblies which would not only strengthen the LGBTI presence but also increase youth presence in decision-making mechanisms.
At this point, LGBTI issues are not limited to sexual orientation and identity. I think it would be useful to consider them in larger context with other groups facing discrimination.

“The presence of trans people will be a guarantee against discrimination”

Asya Elmas, HDP Kadıköy Party Assembly Pre-Candidate: The presence of trans individuals in municipal assemblies is very important. Trans people were placed in the backstreets, now they will prove their presence by taking part in municipal assemblies. Their presence will be a guarantee for protecting them against discrimination. Local parliaments will make politics related to the needs of LGBTI people. On the other hand, trans people will also show that they were interested in the other faction of the society and take direct action which will help change the societal understanding. Turkey will also realize that trans people are able to attend politics and take part in the decision-making for them and everybody.

“Şişli is the biggest LGBTI-populated district”

Boysan Yakar – CHP Şişli Party Assembly Pre-Candidate: Şişli is not only the biggest LGBTI-populated district in Istanbul, but also in the entire country. However, LGBTI people have never been represented. It is really sad to see that even though we are paying our taxes, politicians are ignoring us.

I am gay and a resident of Şişli for several years. I think that Şişli is a safe haven for us. I believe fully with my heart that my presence will make a difference in the level of municipal administration in Turkey. I believe that it is a necessity in Turkey as we are in 2014. We are out there and became an important part of Gezi Resistance.

I believe that our presence in local administrations will help struggle against systematic homophobia and transphobia in the society as well as discrimination due to our sexual orientation and identity. If will also help on a variety issues like urban renewal.
This struggle will also enlighten the path for other misrepresented groups like women, people with disabilities or different ethnic backgrounds.

“LGBTI people need to represented like everyone else”

Şevval Kılıç, HDP Şişli Party Assembly Pre-Candidate: It is even so late that LGBTI people attended active politics. I don’t think there can be anything more transformative and revolutionary than having LGBTI people attending politics as they are always facing discrimination by the state. This time, LGBTI people are so visible that there are pre-candidates from the HDP as well as the CHP.

20 years ago, Demet Demir had a similar work under ÖDP. But now, LGBTI people are much more active. After the Kurdish movement, LGBTI is the most rapidly growing movement. Political representation will be good for LGBTI people. It is also promising that they are being nominated from different parties. However, I can’t cooperate with an LGBTI person on nationalistic issues just because we share the same sexual identity. But visibility will put a momentum on the process.
Şişli is like Beyoğlu in 20 years back. It is cosmopolitan. I believe that parties must work together on the issues regardless of electoral backgrounds and percentages. LGBTI people need to represented like everyone else.

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