Author: lgbtinewsturkey

2018 Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride March Press Statement

LGBTI+ activists will be reading the following press statement from 18:00 on in every corner of Taksim, Istanbul.

The 16th Pride March has been banned by the Istanbul governor’s office for the third time [sic. fourth- pride has been banned since 2015]. The governor has once again committed a crime by discriminating against a specific part of society. Ankara governor’s ban on LGBTI+ events with no end date and the obstacles towards Pride marches in the past years show these bans are not against actions but against ways of existing. The governor’s decision is part of the existent hate and is illegitimate. This is why Pride marches are important and they should take place. We LGBTI+ are here with our pride despite all vain attempts to prevent us and we do not recognize this ban.

The governor cited the excuse of security in its decision to ban the march and in one word, this is comical. Our marches went on peacefully without being banned for 13 years. These marches increased in size and created a space for us LGBTI+s who face hate because of our existence to feel safe and make our voices heard. Instead of this peaceful march, the hate crimes the state has committed and police violence have become undeniably visible.

Like every year, we are here, on these streets. Our laughter, our exclamations, our slogans still echo in these streets.

We miss the marches attended by thousands where we celebrate our visibility. We make fun of those who try to place boundaries on us by the pride of our existence and the strength of our pride.

We call on you to also make fun of those who try to place boundaries on our identities, orientations, existences, bodies, languages, desires and everything that make us us. We grow as we transcend our own boundaries and become freer. We extend our boundless, non-gendered spaces into the streets. We stand against those who try to confine us within boundaries and force us into ghettos, those who try to push us out and change our spaces: we don’t give up on Taksim.

Now, from here: From Taksim, we greet Buse who is imprisoned in Tekirdag within the state’s transphobic law. Twenty six days ago Buse said stop to the boundaries imposed on her body and started a death fast. We shout once again that the state’s bans and legal obstacles are political and will not deter us from our fight to exist.

We are here with our enthusiasm and energy to give strength to not just us but everyone who has been bound by one man’s will in this geography. We remind all of society that without us, the struggle against the one-man regime will not succeed.

We are in Taksim, we are determined to transcend boundaries, we are not going anywhere. May our 26th Pride Week be merry and happy for all of us.

Source: https://www.facebook.com/istanbulpride/photos/a.191888724272082.41018.160223430771945/1679726622154944/?type=3&theater

Trans female inmate Buse’s  “death fast” for her access to the right to health!

Trans inmate Buse started a “death fast” with the demand to have her gender transition surgery. Derya Özata of KADAV (Women’s Solidarity Foundation)  lists Buse’s demands. Buse has been in prison for 23 years and says “I don’t want to live with this body anymore. It’s not certain how long I will live or whether I will get out of prison”.

Source: “Trans female inmate Buse’s  “death fast” for her access to the right to health!” (“Trans kadın mahpus Buse, sağlık hakkına erişim için “ölüm orucunda”!) , Yıldız Tar, kaosgl.org, June 28, 2018, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=26140.

Buse is one of the trans female inmates at Tekirdağ F Type Prison, for Men she has announced that she has started her “death fast” on June 5, through her lawyers.

Buse says that she has taken this decision due to the fact that her gender transition surgery has not been carried out. She is staying with Diren Coşkun, whose access to the right to health had been denied over the last months. Buse demands that her gender transition surgery is carried out immediately.

Derya Özata of KADAV has been following the violations against Diren Coşkun and Buse in prison and has explained what Buse has been going through, and what she demands to KaosGL.org.

23 years in prison

According to the information Özata gives, Buse was imprisoned at the age of 22. She is now 45 years old. She has been given a life sentence. She will be in prison for 20 more years. She had been in kept in isolation for many years, until Diren Coşkun was sent to Tekirdağ F Type Prison for Men.

The hospital sent a report, but…

Özata says she has been a penpal for Buse and tells [us] the recent developments in the process:

“Buse has been writing petitions to get a gender transition surgery for a long while. She has been struggling to have her surgery. We have written petitions together too. Lawyer Eren Keskin has been following the process too. Finally, Buse has written in a letter that the hospital has given her a report that ‘the gender transition surgery was imperative for her psychological well-being’ “. After this, another petition was written to the Ministry of Justice. However, Buse says that the ministry wrote to back to the prison saying ‘the surgery is imperative but not urgent’. Therefore Buse has started a death fast as of June 5, demanding her transfer to another prison and her gender transition surgery.”

(more…)

SPoD LGBTI statement after attack on office

On 26.06.2018, at around 21:30, during a volunteer meeting about training on STIs planned to take place in our office, someone knocked on our door. When our volunteers asked who it was the person behind the door replied “We know [name withheld] is in there, give them up!” Our volunteers did not open the door and told the people that there was no such person at the office and that they did not know this person, after which the people started punching the door, swearing at and threatening our volunteers. Our volunteers immediately called the police and the board members of our association.

The person behind the door insulted and threatened our volunteers saying: “I have my friends waiting downstairs, I will wait until you open up, you will come out eventually. It doesn’t matter if you call the police” and “I will catch you, all of you pimps, I will look everywhere, I know … is in there, if … comes out of there I will ruin you! I know you are keeping … in there.”

After this the attacker continued banging on the door. Meanwhile, the police arrived at the scene and started banging on the door together with the attacker. Our volunteers at the office did not open the door as they were not sure that those arriving were the police, nevertheless they asked them to take the attacker away.

At that moment, the police started shouting and asking questions outside their authority such as “What association is this! Who is there, why are you hiding?” and saying, “I will call the Directorate of Associations, aren’t you man enough to come out!”, “Are you afraid of one man?”. Our volunteer who had been communicating with the people behind the door refused to open the door saying, “Obviously you will not help us.” Despite our volunteers’ call to the police, the officers stood by the attackers who were violent and threatening. Another officer who arrived later at the scene said, “We are under state of emergency rule, we can break the door and enter!” and “Look fellas, we heard that someone is in there, I have to take the family’s complaint seriously.”

(more…)

6th Izmir Pride March: Firmly, with determination and enthusiastically!

Hundreds of people were in Izmir for the sixth Pride March: for our rights and our loves!

Source: Gozde Demirbilek, “6. İzmir Onur Yürüyüşü: İnatla, kararlılıkla ve coşkuyla!”, Kaos GL, June 11, 2018,http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=26000

The sixth Pride March took place yesterday in Izmir with the participation of hundreds of people. LGTBI+ painted the streets of Alsancak with the colors of the rainbow for their rights, their identities and their loves. Flags and emblems of rainbows, bisexual, trans, intersex and asexual [people] were waved at the site.

The march started from the OSYM building the march went on to Kıbrıs Sehitleri Street. The press briefing by the Izmir Pride March Committee took place in front of the Türkan Saylan Cultural Center, just as in previous years.

“Once more and yet again we are marching; firmly, with determination and enthusiastically! We are not marching alone but all together! We will march today in spite of anyone who tries to take away our rights, our freedom, our feelings, our desires, our loves by calling our existence a sin, a crime or an illness. Those who do not fit into norms, those who don’t think they deserve to be loved, those who think there is something wrong with them… Today is the day to be who you are as you were. With this march each of us are beautiful in our uniqueness and even more beautiful together…”

“Don’t be ashamed and sad because you do not fit into gender norms and you do not desire who you are expected to desire! You are not to be blamed; those who hate you are to be blamed! You are not alone, don’t be afraid! Today we are gonna march trembling over fear; we are gonna walk over the pain and march inspire of the violence, the gate and the discrimination and destroy all of them. We are going to walk to a more beautiful world by walking under the rainbow.”

“Dear sister on the street, today we will be the sound of your high-heels. The lubunya (queers) in the suburbs: we will be your flower shirt! Those who are “inside”; we will raise our voice for you outside. Those of you who can’t be with us, we will shout out for what you’ve got piled up inside you. Those of you who are forcibly displaced; Welcome on board, in this march there is a spot for all of you! Those of you who are not with the living, we will shine the light of your souls. For those of you who survived, we will console each other!”

“Those of you who are discriminated against because of their sexual interests and identities; those of you who are discriminated against at school, home or work, in enlistment, camps, prisons… even though you are not with us today, we didn’t forget about you. We recognize each other by our wounds; we will be “you” today and march today; we will become each other’s voice and unite in marching for our rights and freedom.”

“We know how to march on no matter what gets in our way and even if we fall we know how to keep going by holding on to each other, by assisting and embracing one another and by never ever leaving the other alone. We march with pride!”

After the press briefing the march went on to Kordon. The march proceeded enthusiastically and affectionately. After a brief rest the fun continued with the After-Pride Party and Dudakların Cengi.

Kaos GL: Film Ban Determined to be not within the Jurisdiction of Ombudsman!

Ombudsman Institution stated that the ban against Kuirfest film screening is not “within the jurisdiction” of the institution.

Compiled from: “Film ban determined to be not within the jurisdiction of ombudsman!” (“Film yasağı Kamu Denetçiliği’nin görev alanında değilmiş!”), Kaos GL, March 19, 2018, http://kaosgl.org/yazarlar.php?id=4002

“Kuir Kısalar” (“Queer Shorts”) was a film screening, organized in collaboration of KuirFest with Pera and British Council and was scheduled to take place on November 25, 2017. The screening was first postponed to a later date with a notification sent to Pera Museum by the District Governorship. Another notice delivered to Pera Museum on December 29 stated the event was postponed until January 12. The screening was ultimately banned on the premises that “public safety” should be provided. Pink Life Association’s petition to the Ombudsman Institute regarding the ban was rejected on the grounds of “no-investigation.” Pink Life Association’s lawyer Emrah Şahin applied to Ombudsman on January 4 stating the “Kuir Kısalar” screening was banned unlawfully and that the parties were notified of the ban on the last day, which violated the legal right to appeal. Şahin stated that freedom of speech as well as “good administration principles” were violated.

District Governorship Demanded Dismissal

The defense statement of Beyoğlu District Governorship indicated that “Kuir Kısalar” might be targeted by terrorist organizations and that this situation could lead to a civil war. The District Governorship stated that it does not aim to other LGBTI+ individuals or to limit rights and liberties, instead the rejection was intended to prevent crime and to protect the public order.

The District Governorship did not state any reason for why the event was cancelled on the last day and opposes any review of this decision.

No Investigation Decision from Ombudsman Institute

Upon receiving the Beyoğlu District Governorship’s defense, Ombudsman Institute rejected the application for an inspection of the ban decision on the premises that the incident is not within the “assigned mandate” of the institution.

A “Careless and Sloppy Decision”

Lawyer Emrah Şahin stated his views on the decision of Ombudsman Institute to reject the application. Şahin reported the reasons the District Governorship has are same as the decision to ban Pride Walk. Thus, the issue has been handled in a sloppy manner. Ombudsman’s statement that the issue is “not within their jurisdiction” is self-contradictory.

Şahin said: “As you know we applied to Ombudsman Institute following the last day ban against our event which was scheduled to take place at Pera by Beyoğlu District Governorship. As the ban was issued on the day before the event, the Association was deprived of the right to appeal the decision since there was not enough time. Therefore, the association has suffered irrevocable harm and Beyoğlu District Governorship violated the “good administration principles” as well as interfered with the right to access justice, freedom of speech, the right to assembly, to art and property rights. Based on these reasons, we petitioned Ombudsman for further information and the Governorship of Istanbul based its decision on memos from Ministry of Interior and the Security Directorate which stated: “the walk planned by LGBTI members could potentially be targeted by terrorist organizations, given the increase in the threats of terrorist acts against our country.

Neither the dates or numbers of these memos were indicated. The banned event is not a ‘walk.’ Indeed, it is a film screening! The memos on which the decision is built were obviously memos written about ‘Pride Walk’, yet Ombudsman Institute found these responses to be adequate. The administration does not clarify why the ban was issued on the last day either. The Ombudsman Institution did not comment on this practice, which is blatantly against the “good administration principles.” Instead, Ombudsman determined there would be “no investigation” after first suggesting our application for review is “within the domain of legislation” only to retract by stating that it is “not within their jurisdiction”, leading our association to pursue further legal avenues.

“As a law practitioner, my confidence in Ombudsman Institute is lost after this decision. Such careless and sloppy decision making on such an important matter perhaps stems from the institute’s hesitation in making an advisory ruling on this issue.” –Pink Life

The constitutional court’s changes to Article 40 are now in effect

The Constitutional Court annulled a clause in the Turkish Civil Code’s Article 40 stating the requirement of “to be permanently deprived of the ability to reproduce” on Nov. 29, 2017. The decision is now in effect with its publication in the Official Gazette on March 20.

Source: Pembe Hayat, “AYM’nin Madde 40’taki Değişikliği Yürürlüğe Girdi”, 20 March 2018, http://www.pembehayat.org/haberler.php?id=1681

A trans man launched a case in 2014 at the Ankara 4th Court of First Instance for a name change as well as his gender transition process. He requested that the court investigate the Turkish Civil Code Article 40’s “mandatory sterilization” as being unconstitutional, that this surgery was not successfully performed in Turkish state hospitals and successful experts charged exorbitant amounts, that there was lasting irreversible damage after the operation affecting bodily integrity.

The Constitutional Court committee examined the file and annulled the requirement “to be permanently deprived of the ability to reproduce” from the Turkish Civil Code’s Article 40 on Nov. 29, 2017.

That change has been put into effect as of March 20.

No requirement for infertility anymore

The annulment of Article 40’s Clause 1 stating “to be permanently deprived of the ability to reproduce” means sterilization will not be required in gender transition operations. However, Article 40’s Clause 2 stating “the court will rule for the necessary changes in the population registry after an official health council confirms that the gender change surgery was conducted” remains in the law after the push for its annulment was rejected on Nov. 29.

“The effect of this annulment may be joint indemnity cases.”

Attorney Sinem Hun said she finds the decision to be positive and told Pink Life:

Though we don’t yet know the reason for the annulment, it may be a reflection of European Court of Human Rights A.P., Nicot and Garcon decision. The effect of this annulment may be joint indemnity cases as we have also seen in Sweden. Injured parties and associations may consider action as this practice lasted between 2002 and 2017. Of course the legal techniques should be evaluated and I reserve comments on the issue of techniques for now.

“This article was contrary to the Constitution’s Articles 17 and 20”

Pink Life’s lawyer Emrah Sahin said this incommensurable condition will no longer be sought in gender transition and added:

We see this decision as positive because this clause was contrary to the Constitution’s Articles 17 and 20. This decision also reveals that. With the annulment of this clause, the state will no longer seek “permanently deprived of the ability to reproduce” in gender transition.

Turkish Civil Code’s Article 40

Turkish Civil Code’s Article 40 regulates the “procedure” on “gender change.” The changed article is:

A person wanting to change their gender may apply to a court in person to request the allowance of gender change. However, in order to be allowed [to do so], the person needs to have passed the age of 18 and be unmarried, and document, via an official health council report from an education and research hospital, that they are of transsexual disposition, that it’s necessary to undergo gender change for their psychological health. The court will rule for the necessary changes in the population registry if an official health council confirms that the gender change surgery was conducted in line with the goal and medical procedures dependent on the granted permission.

 

 

 

A Lesson on ‘Discrimination’ for the Constitutional Court

The Turkish Constitutional Court faces internal dissent on its verdict that banning a gay religion teacher from teaching was not discriminatory.

Source: Nurcan Gökdemir, “AYM’ye ‘ayrımcılık’ dersi”, Birgün, 8 March 2018, https://www.birgun.net/haber-detay/aym-ye-ayrimcilik-dersi-207237.html

The Constitutional Court has recently rejected the appeal of a soldier, who was expunged from the Turkish Armed Forces. The reason given by the court for the decision was that “homosexuality is detrimental to the honor of military service”. Now, the Court has ruled that there was no discrimination against a Religious Culture and Moral Values teacher, who was fired for the same reasons.

The court ruling states “It is natural for persons, who want to work educating young children, to be subjected to certain restrictions to which other people are not subjected.” Deputy Chair Engin Yıldırım and member Muharrem Topal did not support the ruling. In his statement for voting against [the ruling] Yıldırım stated that discrimination based on sexual orientation is prohibited in international agreements and stipulations, which Turkey has agreed to uphold. The statement of dissenting vote, which emphasizes the fact that the Constitutional Court’s ruling is unconstitutional, included these points as the rationale:

“The Constitution states that the State does not have an official sexual orientation and the State must be equal and impartial to all genders, sexual identities, gender identities, and sexual orientations.”

“Discrimination against sexual orientation is an acceptance of the idea that some lives are less deserving of respect and dignity, and therefore lead to hindering LGBTI+ [people’s] participation in social life with equal opportunity and dignity.”

“One of the foundational duties of the state is to protect human dignity and refrain from policies, practices, and judicial regulations that will damage the dignity of people who constitute a particular community”