Author: lgbtinewsturkey

What to expect from 9th QueerFest?

Pink Life QueerFest says hello to its 9th year with an opening ceremony at Institut français on January 23 and an opening party at Babylon. The festival is full of empowering, eye-opening, enticing and exciting films as well as thought provoking discussions and workshops. Here is a short overview of what to expect this year:

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Under the Rainbow

Once more, Under the Rainbow selection brings together a variety of queer experiences of aging, migration, youth, bisexuality and mysticism. The selection will feature TRANSFINITE, (2019), Chronic (2017), Greta (2019),  These Peculiar Days, (2019) and Tinta Bruta, (2018).

Queer Documentaries

The selection this year will initiate new discussiong in LGBTI+ public opinion in Turkey! Here is a list of the films featured:

Transitioning (2016), Shelter: Farewell to Eden (2019), Lemebel (2019), The Archivettes (2018), No Box for Me. An Intersex Story (2018), I’m Moshanty. Do you love me?(2019)  Paternal Rites (2018)

Queer Series

Club Splendida (2019) will be the guest of the Queer Series selection this year.

cULT

Pink Life QueerFest proudly presents My Beautifl Laundrette (1985) and The Celluloid Closet (1995)  under the cULT selection this year.

Short Selections

Seven short film selections will be featured this year at QueerFest:

Queer Shorts from Turkey will feature:

Kardelen Eren’s Örtünün Altı (Under The Blanket, 2019)

Özgür Can Taşcı’s Yıkımın Üstünde Dans (Dancing On The Ruins, 2019)

Kübra Bekmez’s Öteki (The Other, 2019),

Harun Güler’s 2740 Nolu Oda (Room 2740 – Shot on iPhone, 2019),

Volkan Güleryüz’s Iris (İris, 2019),

Gizem Aksu’s SOULSOLESOURCE (SOULSOLESOURCE, 2019),

Ömer Tevfik Erten’s MisafirhaneBir Vardım Bir Yoktum (Guesthouse-Twice Upon a Time, 2019),

Gökçe Onur’s Akışkan (Fluid, 2019),

Nicolas Jakubiak’s Barbo (Barbo, 2019)

Şeyhmus Altun’s Zerreler (Fragments, 2019) filmleri yer alıyor.

The screenings on January 24 will be followed by a discussion.

IQMF Amsterdam Shorts Selection: IQMF Rising Stars will be at the QueerFest this year. The selection’s jury included Esra Özban of QueerFest last year. After the screening on January 24, curator Chris Belloni will be present to answer the audience questions.

Mezipatra Shorts Selection: Endangered Species is curated by the Mezipatra Queer Film Festival based in Czech Republic. The screening at Vault34 on January 25 will be followed by a Q&A with Pavel Bicek from the festival cew.

QueerFest has a shorts selection for every taste! Tariz Section aims to touch on the romantic hearts, Lavinia! ‘s title inspired by the early years of Lubunca, Queerness #Forever is here to tell us about aging and Koli Gazes Upon Kolis!  is all about desire and excitement.

EVENTS

TALK: WRITING WITH ONE’S BODY, MULTIPLYING IN WRITING

January 25, 20:00, Institut français

Seçil Epik and  Sevcan Tiftik will discuss how to increase visibility through writing and the potentials which writing brings, following the documentary Lemebel .

TALK: OUR BEAUTIFUL FILMS: ON QTIPOC FILMS

January 26, 19:15, Vault34

A conversation on QTIPOC cinema with Marc David Jacobs  from Scottish Queer International Film Festival, following the screening of My Beautiful Laundrette.

TALK: LGBTI+ ARCHIVING – WHY DOES IT MATTER?

January 25, 20:15, Feminist Mekan

Following the screening of Archivettes, a film on the lesbian bisexual feminist archive collective active since 1970’s, Lara Güney Özlen and Okay Gökmen will talk about LGBTI+ history and archiving.

TALK: STORIES TRANSFORMED

January 24 Ocak, 19:00, SALT Galata

Following the screening of Kuir Belgeseller bölümünün dikkat çeken filmlerinden Paternal Rites, Nayuk (Nazlı Mayuk)  and Hilal Esmer will talk about the transformative potential of the survivors’ stories.

TERF ARGUMENTS(?) CACOPHONY

January 24, 20.00, Institut français

Trans Exclusive Radical Feminism (TERF) has become concerning for both the global trans movement and the LGBTI+ movement in Turkey. Following the screening of Transitioning, QueerFest will answer the transphobic discourses through the perspectives of diverse subjects. Activists Beren Azizi and Vanessa Lee Nic will participate in the discussions’ origins and bust all the arguments of this transphobic alliance.

TALK: QUEER PERFORMERS SPEAK!

January 24 18.00, Institut français

The talk will take place after the screening of Queer Shorts from Turkey.

Bulut B.Sezer and Nihal Albayrak will talk about their experiences as queer actors on a heteronormative stage and the struggle that ensued.

ROUND TABLE: NON-BINARIES COME TOGETHER!

January 25, 15.00, SPoD Office

This roundtable aims to bring non-binaries together and increase the visibility of non-binary experiences by sharing and listening the stories.

Workshops

SOUND FOR VIDEO WORKSHOP

January 25-26, Altyazı Sinema Derneği

This workshop aims to provide insights on how the sound accompanies and enriches the visual narrative. The participants will record, edit and manipulate their own sounds on Ableton Live software for the visual material of their own choosing. The facilitator is Gizem Oruç.

QUEER APPROACHES TOWARDS CIS-HETERO ROLES

January 25-26  14.00-17.00, The Circle

The participants of this workshop are encouraged to bend and disrupt the heteronormativity by queering the cis-hetero roles and their performances in fron of the camera. The facilitator of the workshop is actor Ayça Damgacı.

 QUEER DOCUMENTARY DEVELOPMENT WORKSHOP 

January 25 10.30-17.30, Altyazı Sinema Derneği

The workshop focuses on many aspects of documentary making, such as development, production, post-production with instructions on funding, distribution and narrative. The facilitators are Metin Akdemir, Rüzgar Buşki, Burcu Melekoğlu and Vuslat Karan.

 

Note: Please note that the films will have Turkish subtitles and the workshops do not have instruction in English. This is a summary to inform our English-speaking audiences and the screenings, events or workshops in this list might not be suitable for non-Turkish speaking audiences.

What’s on 9th QueerFest ? The schedule is here!

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Trans Istanbul Initiative is Established

The Trans Istanbul Initiative, formed by a group of trans people who come together at Trans Therapy Group meetings, aims to work towards removing barriers to fundamental rights and freedoms.

Source: “Trans Istanbul Initiative is Established”, (Trans İstanbul İnisiyatifi kuruldu), kaosgl.org, January 2, 2020, https://www.kaosgl.org/haber/trans-istanbul-inisiyatifi-kuruldu

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Referring to the constitution’s 10th and 17th articles on fundamental rights, the initiative lists the most fundamental rights violations in their opening statement. The Initiative invites everyone to show solidarity and organize, “In order to fight against transphobic and heterosexist violence that we experience in all areas of life; together, we are going to create spaces that empower us.”   

“We invite all LGBT+ to empower each other”

The Initiative’s opening statement is as follows:

“According to the 10th article of the constitution, ‘Everyone, regardless of language, race, color, gender, political thought, philosophical belief, religion, sect and other similar reasons, is without discrimination, equal before the law.’ However, the equality clause does not include gender identity and excludes us trans people from constitutional security offering no protection against discrimination.

Again, according to the 17th article of the constitution, ‘Everyone has the right to life, to the protection and development of their material and spiritual existence.’ However, within the existing social, economic, political and legal order, we are first and foremost prevented from accessing our most basic rights, especially our right to life; including access to health, work, housing and education.

To eliminate the obstacles to our fundamental rights and freedoms and to fight against the transphobic and heterosexist violence we are exposed to in all areas of life; together we will create spaces that will strengthen us all. With this aim, as trans people that have come together at the Trans Therapy Group meetings, we planted the seeds of the Trans Istanbul Initiative. The Trans Therapy Group meetings have been held on the first Wednesday of every month in Istanbul since 2013 providing trans people with psychosocial support on transition processes.

 In order to enlarge such empowering spaces that belong to us, we decided to organize under an initiative. With this aim, every month, we will organize trainings, seminars, workshops and various socio-cultural activities for trans people in Istanbul.

 As the Trans Istanbul Initiative, we invite all LGBTI+ to show solidarity, to organize and empower each other. If you would like to organize with us around this purpose and be informed about our meetings, you can contact us at transinisiyatif@gmail.com. We were here, we existed, we will exist! We are Neither Wrong, Nor Alone!”

You can find the Trans Istanbul Initiative here.

QueerFest Strikes Again: What we know so far about 9th Pink Life QueerFest

9th Pink Life QueerFest is just around the corner. The festival will take place in three venues around Taksim: Vault34, the French Cultural Center and Kıraathane. The festival is titled “Döneriz Elbet” (“We’ll surely be back”) this year, emphasizing the fact that the festival is here to stay.
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The opening party will be at Babylon Bomontiada, featuring the 80’s film star and singer Banu Alkan (“The Aphrodite”). The party will also feature Zahter, Şevval Kılıç, Özgür Kaktüs & Asîde & Deus ex Machina as well as Dudakların Cengi, the lipsync battle, drag show which has long since taken over queer night life in Istanbul. Attendees are expected to wear their Sunday best to pose for the press on the red carpet.
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The second party announced will be on January 25 at Anahit Sahne, featuring DJs Üzüm Derin Solak, Elif KK and Q-Bra and will not be suitable for the faint of heart or the vanilla: The attendants are expected to don their whips, handcuffs and paint the night into “50 shades of queer”!
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QueerFest has been aiming to be more accessible for audiences with disabilities. As a part of these efforts, the festival organizers announced that there will be sign language translation in all interactive events of the Istanbul festival. The organizers also note that they will continue their efforts to make the festival more accessible next year.

Joined together with music against trans murders: shelTer

All sales through bandcamp from the album shelTer will be given to Eylül Cansın Trans Guest House! The guesthouse takes its name from Eylül Cansın, a trans woman who committed suicide in 2015 at the age of 23…

Source: “Joined together with music against trans murders: shelTer” (“Trans cinayetlerine karşı müzik ile bir arada: shelTer”), Tuğçe Özbiçer, Gazete Duvar,  November 20, 2019, https://www.gazeteduvar.com.tr/kultur-sanat/2019/11/20/trans-cinayetlerine-karsi-muzik-ile-bir-arada-shelter/?D736fbclid=IwAR0Kl96N6pSEK0YDUKqHCKIDfw3JehVA86tIn_y6jJQntA8L0qjZE9KJ8o0

Ece Özel and Umut Kahya, the founders of Müstesna Records have both been important figures in the Istanbul music scene for many years. After the album “Etnik Sentetik” which covers the works produced between 1995 and 2006, they announced the news of an exciting new album: shelTer.

All of the revenue from ShelTer’s sales will be transferred to Eylül Cansın Trans Guest House and is now on sale through bandcamp. The guesthouse is named after Eylül Cansın, a trans woman who committed suicide at the age of 23 in 2015, saying “I wanted to work but they wouldn’t let me. I can’t stand it anymore.” 

Eylül Cansın’s case once again showed that transgender individuals are subjected to systematic hatred from society and the state.

PURPOSE OF THE PROJECT: TO SUPPORT THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE GUESTHOUSE AND POLICIES THAT WILL STRENGTHEN GUESTS

Cansın Trans Guest House is also home to transgender people from migrant backgrounds. The revenue from the shelTer album is intended to financially support the process of both the relocation and the policy-making of the guesthouse, which is currently in the process of being evacuated due to infrastructure and security issues.

TURKEY: EUROPE’S MOST TRANS MURDERS COMMITTED COUNTRY

Turkey is notorious for having the most trans murders in Europe and the ninth most in the world. Many names from the local and international underground music scene came together to create international awareness of the fact that trans murders and suicides are political. ShelTer, a compilation album, brings together 25 tracks that will make you dance with minimal rhythms, and take you on a cosmic journey with dark sounds and harsh timbre!

Here is the link of the album that is currently on pre-sale via Bandcamp but you can reach all of its songs in 7-10 days (as of original publication on 20/11/2019)

https://mustesnarecords.bandcamp.com/album/va-shelter

Umut Kahya explained the album project as follows:  “We discussed it with Ece (Özel) ‘Can we do something about hate crime and trans murders in our field? I think it was around May or June. Then we asked the artists we knew if they would like to take part in the project. We received a positive response from almost everyone we spoke to. Unfortunately, the guesthouse is now closed, and we will contribute to find a new place for the guests during the evacuation process and to cover their expenses such as rent and repairs.”

Ece Özel  runs the Exclusive Records project with Umut Kahya and has been on the Istanbul music scene for almost 10 years. Ece said: “LGBTI + individuals have a very important place in the music scene and nightlife in Istanbul, but they must constantly struggle for this place”. A struggle that “needs to be repeated from scratch.”

When I ask her to compare the situation with the past, I get the following answer: “Yes, there are many things that have changed from past to present, of course, the new generation has a different view of the whole situation, the world is different.”

 

Turkey marks November 20 Transgender Day of Remembrance

LGBTI+ communities across Turkey came together to mark November 20, the Transgender Day of Remembrance. Turkey currently ranks 48 among 49 countries in ILGA’s Rainbow Index and the Penal Code of the country still has no law defining hate speech or hate crime. With rampant impunity in the cases of violence against trans individuals, as well as LGBTI+ individuals and women, activists continue to demand recognition of transphobia as a political issue. Here is a summary of the events organized in different parts of the country:

İZMİR

The İzmir November 20 Platform gathered on the streets in the central district of Alsancak, with a candle lit poster reading: “The scales of justice weighted with transphobia take the lives of trans people. The perpetrators are all people and structures that maintain the cis-hetero-patriarchal system!”

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Photo: Kaos GL 

İSTANBUL

For Transgender Day of Remembrance on 20 November and World Children’s Rights Day, Bosphorus University Women’s Research Club (BÜKAK) along with Campus 404 and CİTÖK (Comittee to Prevent Sexual Harassment) held a screening of the documentary “My Child” which was accompanied with talks from the film’s director Can Candan, trans rights activist Doğukan Karahan and LADEG+ founder Sema Yakar.

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Photo: BÜKAK Twitter Page

Across the districts of Şişli and Kadıköy the CHP municipalities put up posters designed by Aslı Alpar with the trans flag and reading, “Alışın, buradayız” (Get used to it, we are here) or “Bir arada, buradayız” (We are together, we are here). 

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Photo: KadirKaraasu’s twitter page

The weekend was dedicated to November 20, with a wide array of events organized by Pink Life LGBTI+ Solidarity Association in İstanbul. This year’s programme centered around the struggle against Trans Exclusive Radical Feminism (TERF) as LGBTI+ communities in Turkey witnessed an online debate initiated by a group of trans exclusive feminist academics. The programme also included panels on the struggle of intersex individuals for human rights, transfeminism, visibility of trans individuals within the LGBTI+ movement, and current conditions of trans sex workers.  On Saturday night, the “Dilek İnce Award for Struggle Against Hate Crimes” award ceremony took place and the award went to trans activist Aligül Arıkan who lost his life in 2013. His friends accepted the award on his behalf. Pink Life Association had opened a library in his memory earlier this week. The night continued with a party against TERF’s. On Sunday night, the community came together to commemorate Devran Çağlar. 

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Photo: November 20 Transgender Day of Remembrance Schedule,Pink Life LGBTI+ Solidarity Association website

ESKİŞEHİR

Eskişehir Anadolu LGBTİ+ announced a declaration on November 20, calling for resistance to hatred. The declaration was signed by Anadolu LGBTI+ Trans Studies Commission, Cosmos Gender Studies Workshop, Democratic Women Movement, Eskişehir School, Women’s Defence Network, Özgür Genç Kadın, Tepebaşı Youth Assembly, University Students Women Collective, Yaşam Bellek Özgürlük Derneği. 

ANKARA

ODTÜ LGBTI+, LGBTI+ student collective of Middle Eastern Technical University, came together to commemorate Esra Ateş, Hande Kader, Simge Sezer, Gökçe Saygı and all of the unknown victims of transphobia.

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Photo: ODTÜ LGBTI+ Solidarity official twitter account

 

Dersim (Tunceli)

Women Assemblies of Dersim Municipality put up posters against violence against trans individuals on billboards around the city to mark November 20. The municipality posters read “Long live life, against hate! November 20 Transgender Day of Remembrance”.

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Photo: Kaos GL

Antalya

Human Rights Association (İHD) Antalya Branch and BİZ Antalya (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Research Association) went out on the streets with the slogan “Long live life, against hate!”. After their press statement, the group went on to call out names of victims of transphobia, followed by the slogan “We won’t forget!”

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Photo: Gazete Patika

Kocaeli 

Activists against transphobia organized a meeting in Kocaeli, demanding recognition of trans murders as a hate crime.

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Photo: Gazete Patika

A life ruined by faulty surgeries: Call for solidarity with trans woman Zehra Hayel

Zehra Hayel Kendirci’s life was turned upside down following a faulty gender affirmation operation in May 2014 at Avcılar Medicana Hospital. Hayel had to go through seven additional surgeries, her attorney Zehra Şahin who continues her legal struggle against the doctor calls for solidarity: “We want to make Zehra Hayel’s voice heard”. 

Warning: This article includes distressing details which some readers may find traumatising. 

Source: “A life ruined by faulty surgeries: Call for solidarity with trans woman Zehra Hayel” (“Hatalı ameliyatlarla hayatı altüst oldu: Trans kadın Zehra Hayel için dayanışma çağrısı”), sendika.org, September 19, 2019, http://sendika63.org/2019/09/hatali-ameliyatlarla-hayati-altust-oldu-trans-kadin-zehra-hayel-icin-dayanisma-cagrisi-561921/

During an examination a month after the first surgery in the private office of her doctor, Hayel was told by her doctor that a fistula occurred while cleaning the vagina and that it should be stitched. This led to seven more surgeries in 2014, 2015, and 2017.

These operations deteriorated Zehra Hayel’s health, and she sought additional medical help, getting an appointment in Cerrahpaşa Medical Faculty in July 2017. In her examination, it was revealed that no live tissue was left on her vaginal region and therefore she can not be treated anymore. 

Regarding the first examination after the surgery, Hayel’s attorney Zehra Şahin stated:

“That day the doctor examined Zehra Hayel under anesthesia. During the exam, Hayel was accompanied by her friends who say she screamed after the doctor’s intervention. They say that the doctor did not answer when they asked what happened, and sent Zehra Hayel home after she regained consciousness, without giving any explanation.”

According to Attorney Şahin Zehra Hayel’s fever went up and started to feel ill after she returned home: “My client thought that her fever and discomfort were after effects of the anesthesia. Yet her discomfort kept worsening. When she noticed that faeces started to come out of her vagina she called and informed the doctor. The doctor asked her to come the next day and that she will be informed. My client spent the day with her friends caring for her.” Hayel’s attorney states that her client went through an hour long operation the next day after which her doctor told her that a fistule formed while cleaning her vagine during the exam. When she came back she noticed that her stitching came undone and again faeces came out of her vagina.

Şahin says that Hayel tried to protect her health with pads and patient diapers: “My client tried to deal with the situation on her own means, but when it deteriorated she had another surgery done by the same doctor on July 2, 2014 at Avcılar Medicana Hospital. She stayed for a week at the hospital and paid 1000 TL for the operation”.  

Hayel’s condition did not improve after the surgery and she went through two more surgeries on 2015 by the same doctor at Bahçelievler Yaşar Hospital. Şahin suggests that Hayel became exasperated as she confronted more physical and psychological difficulties: 

“Each time my client was hopeful and sought help from her doctor, and she had 3 surgeries with 3 months intervals in 2017. The doctor told her that s/he closed up her vagina to prevent the faeces discharge.” Şahin states that the doctor decided to have the vagina closure operation on his/her own and did not inform Hayel of consequences. 

On her examination at Cerrahpaşa Training Hospital on July 12, 2017, Hayel was told that she can not be treated as there is no live tissue left on her vaginal region. She was also told that her vagina needs to be reopened by her doctor. Her doctor, in turn, asked for 25 thousand liras for the operation, which she could not pay for. 

Attorney Şahin underlines the fact that her client has a report dated December 2017, suggesting that she is 58% disabled. Hayel currently continues to have examinations at Cerrahpaşa Training Hospital every 15 days, and in June Hayel was told that her condition is not improving.

Şahin states that the doctor accepted their mistake and returned 15 thousand liras of the first surgery to stop Hayel from carrying the matter to social media, promising that they will solve the problem and do another surgery: 

“When we met the doctor, they returned the 15 thousand liras cost of the original operation in 2014, based on a protocol we have drawn out. Why would the doctor give back the money if they did not think it was their fault? My client has serious health problems. Her vagina is closed and her intestines are outside of her body.” 

Şahin also suggests that the doctor have written conflicting remarks on two epicrisis reports, accepting that they carried out the gender change operation on first and suggesting the opposite in the second: “The reports are not dated, they obscure the facts. Many of the operations were not reflected on the reports, my client was not given any documents regarding the procedures she underwent.” Hayel became diabetic after the surgeries yet “her doctor tried to make it look like she always had diabetes and that her current situation is a complication related to diabetes.” 

Attorney Şahin is currently struggling to make Zehra Hayel’s voice heard: “After all these surgeries, my client is facing serious health issues. She has to use certain medical materials every month. Her insurance only covers a part of these costs. My client found out that her condition would not improve in June 2019. We have filed a criminal complaint to the Office of the Prosecutor. My client is having a hard time trying to continue her life. We want her voice to be heard. We need solidarity. She should not feel alone.”