Mahmut Tanal, MP from the Republican People’s Party (CHP), held a press conference for Trans Day of Remembrance on November 20th to commemorate the victims of transphobic hate crimes.
Buse Kılıckaya and Selin Berghan from Pink Life Association and Melahat Deniz and Murat Koylu from Kaos GL Association participated in the press conference organized by Tanal for Trans Day of Remembrance, commemorating trans people who have been victims of hate crimes.
Transphobic discrimination at the entrance to the Parliament continues!
Tanal first drew attention to the discrimination that trans activist Kılıckaya faced during a security check at the Turkish Parliament.
“Male security officers have attempted to conduct the security pat-down on our lady friend visiting the Parliament today. Male police conducting the pat-down on a lady consequently means violation of human dignity.”
Kılıckaya had encountered a similar discrimination at an earlier press conference at the Parliament held in September by Aykan Erdemir, another MP from CHP. In her interview she gave to kaosGL.org, she asked: “Will the officer who persuaded me to pass through the section for men and addressed me as Ms. Buse while registering me experience the same inconsistency?
Trans people are absent from the Hate Crime Legislation!
Tanal stated that trans citizens are subject to discrimination particularly in the areas of housing, health, education and work and he underlined the fact that “gender identity” is not included in the hate crime legislation:
“When drafting the hate crime regulations, crimes against trans people were not included in the context of it.”
Tanal to the ruling AKP: Hear your LGBT citizens!
Tanal stated that the government turns a blind eye to its obligations to its citizens under national and international law and added that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government responds with “utter indifference” or “overt and covert hate speech” to such calls.
“It is the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans citizens of the Turkish Republic who fundamentally and forcefully demand an end to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity”, said Talan, calling on the AKP to heed their citizens and to fulfill the LGBT community’s demands.
Tanal proposed a quota for trans people in public and private sectors
The CHP Istanbul MP also proposed a legislation today that calls for a 3 % quota in private sector and a 4% quota in public sector for trans people, similar to the situation for people with disabilities, veterans and ex-convicts.
“Trans individuals’ basic problems stem entirely from their inability to find jobs” stated Tanal, adding that unemployment has a worse impact on trans people than other disadvantaged groups.
“The social feedback loop of this situation is grave and irreparable. Trans individuals who are unable to find jobs and are subject to harassment and violence in workplaces are continually pushed to the margins of society and this reaches a level which leads them to shadow sex work in order to scrape a living.”
Tanal had submitted 20 parliamentary questions in order to acquire information about the government’s work on the protection of LGBT citizens’ human rights yesterday.
“Trans and gay murders are political”
Following Tanal’s speech, Buse Kılıckaya from Pink Life Association said, “trans and gay murders are political” and added that they demand the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity to the Article 10 of the Constitution banning discrimination.
Kılıckaya stated that between January 2008 and September 2014, 35 trans murders have been committed in Turkey and cited the cases of Okyanus Efe Ozyavuz, a trans teen who committed suicide in Izmir this year, Rosin Cicek who was murdered by his father and his two uncles, and Ahmet Yıldız, a gay man who was killed by his father.
“LGBTI individuals are penalized by vague, discriminatory and prejudiced laws”
Kılıckaya said trans individuals are excluded from the workplace and social life and the state leaves no other path for trans women than turning to sex work.
Kılıckaya called attention to the issues in legislation whereby the murderers of sex workers benefit from reduced sentences on account of “unjust provocation”:
“Gay and trans citizens cannot exercise even their most basic rights in public institutions, in the workplace, in social life and in access to services and are penalized by a notion of ‘general morality’ that is vague, discriminatory and prejudiced.”
“Budget planning must take LGBTI citizens into account”
Kılıckaya underlined the fact that the government cannot establish a public order based on pluralist democracy through denial and oppression of certain segments of society. She stated that the budget planning that is on the agenda needs to take the equality of citizens regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity into account.