Trans activists at the Turkish Parliament: All parties should consider LGBTI rights

Source: Ömer Akpınar, “Trans activists at the Turkish Parliament: All parties should consider LGBTI rights,” kaosGL.org, 27 November 2014, http://kaosgl.org/page.php?id=18069

Binnaz Toprak, an LGBTI ally from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), made a press statement at the Turkish Parliament yesterday to draw attention to trans murders. The demand for “Constitutional equality” was repeated in the statement joined by trans activists.

 CHP MP Toprak together with trans activists at the Turkish Parliament

CHP MP Binnaz Toprak, made a press statement at the Turkish Parliament on the occasion of Trans Remembrance Day on November 20, speaking up against discrimination, marginalization and violence.

The statement underlined the demands of trans people: the inclusion of the terms “sexual orientation and gender identity” in the Constitution’s Article 10 regulating equality, a comprehensive Hate Crimes Law which would protect LGBTI people and passing the Law on Non-Discrimination and Equality Committee.

 The theme of the 5th Trans Pride in Istanbul this year: The perpetrator is the state

Accompanying Toprak, CHP MP Aykan Erdemir said: “We demand a democratic country where all citizens in Turkey, including LGBTI people, can live equally, freely and in dignity.”

“There is a declaration of war against trans people”

Besides the MPs, activists from Istanbul LGBTI Solidarity, Mersin 7 Colors LGBT, Pink Life and Kaos GL associations gave speeches.

 Trans activist Ebru Kiranci speaking at the Turkish Parliament

Ebru Kiranci from Istanbul LGBTI Solidarity Association reminded that Turkey has the highest number of trans murders in Europe and said “murders are being normalized and supported by the triangle of state-judiciary-police and there is an open declaration of war against the trans community.”

As the press statement took place in the Parliament, activists waiting in front of the entrance for two hours in the cold weather told kaosGL.org their demands and what being trans means in Turkey:

“We are afraid of going online because of all the news of murders”

Seda: We are citizens of this country, too. We exist. We want our rights now.

Seda: I was kidnapped and stabbed for 24 times, my back is full of stitches. But the police don’t give a damn! I’m tired of going to the police. They say OK but keep us waiting. I have been staying at the [Istanbul LGBTI Solidarity Association’s] trans guest house for the last 4-5 months. I suffer from meningitis and depression. When I am travelling, I am afraid of other people, constantly looking back.

Petek: Two of my close friends were murdered. I do not usually attend such events. I am here because I lost my friends. Even today I am pessimistic. I hope things change and blow my pessimism away.

Merlin: We are afraid of going online. When we are online, we see news about our friends murdered or beaten up. We like to say the nights are ours but neither the nights nor the days are ours. We have no living area. We just want a space where we can breathe.

“The ruling party should consider LGBTIs, too”

Firat: We want hate speech and crimes to come to an end. We want to be accepted not as the marginals of the society but as individuals.

Hayati: It is even more difficult for LGBTI people who have no connection to LGBTI organizations to claim their rights.

Asya: I am really afraid of living in this country. I want believers to become more sensitive and leftists to stop seeing us as wastes of capitalism. [The main opposition] Republican People’s Party (CHP) and [pro-Kurdish] Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) are sensitive to the LGBTI issue, which is a very good development. I wish [the ruling] Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) would consider us, too. Because LGBTIs vote not only for the CHP and HDP. The AKP and MHP should stop shutting their ears to their voters.

Besiktas Municipality, which put up billboards for Trans Remembrance Day, provided a bus for activists who travelled from Istanbul to the capital Ankara.

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