A member of the Bosphorus University LGBTI Studies Club was subject to insult and degradation by the university’s security staff. The university opened an investigation into the student on the grounds that they refused to present an identification card and disputed with the security staff.
Source: “Boğaziçi LGBTİ üyesine güvenlik hakaret etti, okul soruşturma açtı!” (“Security officer at Bosphorus University insults an LGBTI Studies Club member, the university initiates disciplinary investigation into the student!”), kaosGL.org, 15 January 2016, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=20909
Bosphorus University initiated a disciplinary investigation into a member of the university’s LGBTI Studies Club. “Declining to present an identification card to the security staff” and “entering into dispute with the security staff” were given as reasons for the investigation.
The student member stated that the security staff assaulted them. They sent the following e-mail to the Committee for the Prevention of Sexual Assault:
This is my complaint about the assault I endured today around noon by the university’s security staff. I am sharing related notes about my experience:
I was not alone during the incident.There were students around. I know a few of them. They are also students at the university.
The incident happened three or four meters away from the stairs at the main entrance at North Campus after entering through the gate.
Some of the students who witnessed the incident stopped the security guard who walked up to me and said: ‘What do you think you are doing? You cannot act like this!’
Others said, ‘you cannot address people however you want. You cannot treat a student in this manner just for not showing their ID.’
Others tried to console me: ‘You are right. We know you are right, but if you continue to shout you will be blamed when you are in fact not guilty of anything.’ They were about 15-20 students who came to my support. I only know two of them in person.
I had come to school for my 13:55pm class.
“What should we call you? Are you an animal? Shall we call you animal?”
I came to school, went through the main gate at North Campus. As I was passing by, the security asked for ID: ‘Sir, can you show your ID?’ I did not respond [to being addressed as ‘sir’], and walked on. They said behind me, ‘Hey, sir, hey, ID, ID, we are talking to you!’
I again did not respond and continued walking to the building where my class was being held. At this time, the students who were there said, ‘they are calling you.’
I turned around. They said, ‘We called for you sir, and you do not respond. What are we supposed to call you?’ I said, ‘you can say ‘student,’ ‘or, excuse me’, or ‘friend.’
‘What shall we call you? Are you an animal? Shall we call you animal?’ they said. Meanwhile, a middle-aged security staff about 170 m tall, took out their cell phone and began recording me.
‘Go on, report this,’ they said. I thought about the previous report filed by the club I am a member of. I thought they might have heard about it. I said, ‘Of course, we will report it. You did the same to another student who is not from this university.’
I turned my back and continued walking. As I took a few steps, the security guard who was trying to record me on their cell phone cut in front of me. When that happened, people gathered around us, and other security guards gathered around me. Then another group with an acquaintance of mine among them intervened. The security staff said: ‘Your power reaches us. Go on, deal with it downstairs! You don’t have the heart to back down. We dare you!’
I did not want to hear more, I wanted to get away. I was scared, my nerves were shaking. At that moment, the security staff yelled at me: ‘Do not fuck with us!’ My friends took me away from the scene. I explained the situation to the club members. I was 15 minutes late to class. I had a terrible day after the incident. I was very agitated, wanted to cry, and could not focus on the class. I am considering getting therapy.
BULGBTI: LGBTI students are victimized during identity controls
Bosphorus University LGBTI Studies Club shared the following regarding the investigation of their member:
First, investigations are initiated upon a formal complaint by involved party or parties. Therefore, the university has not yet made a decision and/or taken a position on the matter. Our member’s complaint about the security staff met with the staff’s counter complaint about our member not showing their identity card. Both sides are under investigation.
As Bosphorus University LGBTI Studies Group, we wish to publicly declare that we are a witness to the process. Identity controls at entry and exit points have been increased subsequent to the sexual assault that occurred at the student dormitory recently and was publicized in the media.
IDs were not required before, but now they are and as a result, security staff ask students for their ID.
During these ID controls LGBTI+ students have been victimized for multiple reasons.
Based on the information we gathered from our reports on rights violations and interviews with LGBTI+ students at the university, LGBTI+ students and particularly trans students do not use the names printed on their IDs and do not wish the security staff to know the names they do not use; they are ashamed and traumatized. As a result, they avoid showing their IDs.
In addition, security staff use binary gender expressions when asking for ID.
Upon hearing phrases like “Sir, can I see your ID?” LGBTI+ and particularly trans students demand not to be addressed as “Sir” and, as we have learned in the course of preparing our rights violations reports, they are then subject to gender-based sexual assault and degradation.
What LGBTI students experience: Laughter, insult, and intimidation
LGBTI + students demand not to be addressed by expressions incongruent with their gender identity and existence. This leads to phobic speech and attitudes by some security staff. We identified the following examples among such attitudes and speech:
1) Laughter, pointing out the student with laughter to other staff.
2) Expressions such as “ what shall we call you?” “You neither fish nor fowl!” “ What shall we call you, animal?”
3) Walking on, cornering students, intimidating them when they react to these expressions.
We compiled our findings in the rights violations report which we submitted to the Committee for the Prevention of Sexual Assault. There was consensus that addressing LGBTI+ students in gendered ways against their will and the speech and forms of address by the staff directed to the students despite being warned not to use these expressions constitute assault as it is defined and accepted by the University. Consequently, the Committee for the Prevention of Sexual Assault decided to send a statement of warning to the security staff against using gendered expressions.
Based on witness accounts, during this same period, yet again, security staff has insisted on asking for IDs by addressing, ‘Sir, your ID?’ and as a result, another LGBTI+ student, also a member of our club, has declined to respond and entered the campus.
Subsequently, the said student filed a complaint today with the Committee for the Prevention of Sexual Assault.
Is it not contradictory that the decision to institute ID checks (in response to sexual assault on campus) leads to sexual assaults?
The club asks the following questions in the remainder of their statement:
Is it not contradictory that we see sexual assaults against LGBTI+ individuals as a result of the requirement to show IDs instituted in response to a sexual assault on campus?
Is it a disciplinary offense for the LGBTI+ individuals to decline to show their ID, in fact to not be able to show their ID as a result of the phobic behavior by the security staff who address them as ‘sir,’ even as they request them not to?
Is there a precedent where a student has been subject to disciplinary investigation for declining to show ID?
Is it a coincidence that the student who is being investigated for declining to show ID is an LGBTI+ student when the requirement is instituted following a sexual assault?
The club stated that decisions such as the requirement for ID checks hastily taken and without taking into account LGBTI+ and other varied oppressed existences on campus do not have a value or function in creating the desired safe environment. They added:
Bosphorus University has created the illusion of safety by implementing this policy in this way. But this is no more than an extension of the gender binaries that makes life unliveable for us, LGBTI+students. We do not participate in this illusion.