Trans pre-candidate for nomination from the CHP: I am in this race to get our rights once and for all

Trans activist Niler Albayrak submitted her pre-candidacy for the CHP for the 2015 general elections. During our interview, Albayrak said: “I became a member of the Human Rights Association[1] for Istanbul in 1987. My struggle started back in those days. I really wanted to fight for the oppressed, the othered, and especially LGBTIs.”

Source: Ömer Akpınar, “CHP’den trans aday adayı: Haklarımızı sonuna kadar almak için bu yarıştayım” (“Trans pre-candidate for nomination from the CHP: I am in this race to get our rights once and for all”), Kaos GL, 24 February 2015, http://www.kaosgl.com/sayfa.php?id=18826

Niler-Albayrak-curtain-flag

Albayrak became a pre-candidate for nomination with the Republican People’s Party (CHP) from Istanbul 3. District for the 2015 general elections. She explains her reasons for nomination as: “I am especially familiar with the fact that trans sex workers are subjected to discrimination immensely. Hence I decided that the best place to fight against this was the parliament.”

“We established a great communication with the CHP Secretary General”

Though Albayrak was a candidate for the HDP Avcılar Municipality Assembly Candidate from March 30, 2014 [local elections], she was not elected because the party did not pass the 10 percent election threshold. Albayrak, who decided to try her luck with the CHP, recounted the party’s approach towards her and her meeting with Gürsel Tekin, the CHP’s Secretary General:

“We established a great communication during our meeting with Gürsel Tekin. Our talks progressed well. CHP parliamentarians such as Veli Ağbaba, Gürsel Tekin, Binnaz Toprak, Aylin Nazlıaka, and others are now declaring that LGBTIs should be represented in the parliament. But of course this is a personal thing. The CHP’s perspective in the 25th term seems to have improved in comparison to the previous terms. That is the impression I get.”

“Just because a parliamentarian is trans does not mean they will defend only trans rights!”

However, there are negative comments regarding her nomination:

“Reader feedback does include commentary against trans or gay parliament members. However, I think they have not yet learned what it means to be human. That is because they cannot understand that a trans parliamentarian will not focus solely on trans rights, or that a woman parliamentarian will not focus solely on women’s rights, or that a heterosexual parliamentarian will not focus solely on heterosexual rights.”

“I am not the first; I am the third trans candidate for nomination”

Albayrak, who started visiting LGBTI organizations and came by Kaos GL, said “We have to go to the associations, ask for help, and become members. Associations should always be in our lives, since they are official institutions.” Albayrak also corrected recent reports that she was the first trans candidate

“Years ago, Demet Demir became one, then Öykü Özen. I am the third candidate for nomination.”

Niler-Albayrak-CHP

“LGBTI candidates should be nominated for a suitable line-up to enter parliament”

Albayrak believes that she has a good chance of winning due to the increased visibility of LGBTIs and especially trans women following the March 30 [2014] local elections. And, of course, she underlines party support:

“LGBTI candidates should be nominated [by their party] for a suitable line-up that can enter parliament.”

“‘What was once a dream is now a reality’ means hatred for LGBTIs”

Albayrak criticized the AKP [Turkey’s ruling party], reminding us of President Erdoğan’s statement that “homosexuals too should be provided with legal security within the framework of their rights and freedoms”[2]:

“AKP’s slogan of ‘what was once a dream is now a reality’ became discrimination, hatred, violence, and suicides for LGBTIs.”

“Hopefully we will succeed this time”

Albayrak is waiting for everyone’s support to have an open trans parliamentarian in the parliament:

“LGBTIs are an extremely oppressed and othered group in the Republic of Turkey. I hope we will succeed this time. I anticipate that the associations, all our colleagues, and heterosexual friends too will support us a lot. We will wait and see.”


[1] For more information, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Rights_Association_%28Turkey%29 or http://en.ihd.org.tr/.

[2] In 2002, during a TV interview with Abbas Güçlü, Erdoğan stated: “Homosexuals too should be provided with legal security within the framework of their rights and freedoms. We do not think that some of the treatment they are subjected to on some TV channels is humane.” In 2013, Kaos GL initiated a campaign on social media to remind Erdoğan of his own statements. Source: Kaos GL, “17 Mayıs’ta Başbakan Erdoğan’a LGBT’leri Hatırlat!” (“On May 17, remind Prime Minister Erdoğan of LGBTIs”), 16 May 2013, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=14179 (Turkish)

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