Following the decriminalization of homosexuality in Northern Cyprus today, activists evaluate the new legal situation for LGBT people in the northern part of the island for kaosGL.org.
Parliamentarians in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus have voted today to repeal the colonial ban on “unnatural sexual acts.”
Accepted by the majority vote, the Penal (Amendment) Law decriminalizes same-sex relationships, prohibits the death penalty, increases penalties for the sexual abuses of children and the mentally disabled, and widens the definition of sexual violence.
The new law also prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender. It also regulates hate speech and hate crimes against LGBT people.
Although some parliamentarians insisted on the ban against gay sex with the claim that “society is not ready for it,” 21 organizations supported the new law with a call entitled, “Justice, Freedom and Equality for All.”
Activists giving support to the new law evaluated this historical step for kaosGL.org:
Hüseyin Özinal (Queer Cyprus Association): Things will not change overnight but this will be the start of a long struggle for human rights.
Münevver Özakalın: It is a historical day for human rights and freedoms in Cyprus. It is very important for LGBTs, the disabled and women to be recognized legally.
Besire Paralık: The law enabled society to talk and discuss sexuality, which is still a taboo in Northern Cyprus. It is also important that the law helped update the misconceptions [about homosexuality.]