Discrimination & Hate Crimes

Discrimination and Hate Crimes committed against LGBTI in Turkey

Yeni Akit: Perversion at Robert College

Yeni Akit is a conservative daily newspaper that engages in hate speech against LGBTI people and other groups. This is a verbatim translation. 

The gay-lesbianism perversion injected by the evil powers doing all they can to play with genetic codes of Muslim Turkish society has now reached as far as schools.

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Source: Faruk Arslan, “Robert Koleji’nde Sapkınlık,” Yeni Akit, March 31 2017, http://www.yeniakit.com.tr/haber/robert-kolejinde-sapkinlik-294788.html

The gay-lesbianism perversion injected by the evil powers doing all they can to play with genetic codes of Muslim Turkish society has now reached as far as schools. It has come to light that the American Robert College has designated the dates March 27-31 as “Gay and Homosexual Week.” It has been discovered that the week-long activities that involve movies, books and competitions that all aim to transfer the homosexual perversion to high school students were organized by the U.S. educators Marshall Hoover and Joe Welch.

THEY WILL INJECT “HOMOSEXUALITY” TO HIGH-SCHOOL STUDENTS

Robert College did not make a prior announcement for the activities involved in the “Gay and Homosexual Week” and allegedly organized it without approval of the Ministry of Education, informing the teachers via direct email. It has been reported that Robert College, which is rooted abroad, designated the theme of this week’s activities organized under Alliance/Solidarity Week as homosexuality. The American Robert College, joining the chorus of perverts that represent the disease of homosexuality as a normal human condition, has added 25 homosexuality-related books to its library collection. The covers of related books are marked with the rainbow symbol, which represents these perverts called LGBT. The email that Robert College sent to its teachers included the following statements about the LGBT books: “Have we skipped any books? Let us know and we will mark their covers. We have also prepared a jar for you to notify us about books on this subject that are not in our library.” It was reported that a big rainbow image for students to take pictures under was prepared at the College.

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THE HOMO COMPETITION AND PRIZE

A competition about homosexuals was organized in the part of Robert College known as Marble Hall. Robert College prepared a board with pictures of “famous” homosexuals and asked students to write the names of the perverts on the picture with a ballot. It was announced that the students who can answer the most questions will win a “fabulous prize.”

THEY HAD A 17 YEAR OLD GIVE A PRESENTATION ON HOMOSEXUALITY

An information desk was also set up at the school. At the desk, students’ questions on homosexuality were addressed, and homosexuality was praised. Robert College did not stop there. During “Gay and Homosexual Week,” an 11th grader named Kaan Tarhan gave a presentation on “biological causes of homosexuality.” The perverts’ presentation, that they had a high school student give, took place in the teachers’ lounge called “Gould Hall.”

IMMORAL MOVIES

The Robert College’s homosexuality activities today (Thursday) will include movie screenings. The students will be shown two movies involving obscene scenes related with gay and lesbianism at Robert College, which is affiliated with the Ministry of Education. At 3PM the “Geography Club,” at 6PM Ferzan Özpetek’s “Loose Cannons” movie on the story of a gay man’s struggle with his family and friends who do not accept him will be screened. In order to increase the attendance to these obscene movies, the Robert College administration announced that various snacks will be served during the screenings.

THEY CONFINED THEMSELVES TO SILENCE

The Robert College authorities to whom we referred regarding the subject were allegedly not available and have refrained from making any statement.

How does the state of emergency affect Turkey’s LGBTIs?

Kaos GL’s Seçin Tuncel speaks with activists involved in LGBTI policy-making to ask how Turkey’s state of emergency, declared after the July 15 failed coup attempt, affects the lives of LGBTI individuals.

Source: Seçin Tuncel, “LGBTİ’ler OHAL sürecinden nasıl etkileniyor?” KaosGL.org, 22 March 2017, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=23366

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Ayşe Panuş- Eğitim-Sen (Education and Science Workers’ Union) Istanbul No: 3 Branch LGBTI Commission: Rainbow against the One!

“The rainbow is liberation. With the rainbow against the [rule of] One”

The coup attempt of July 15, 2016 resurrected existing homophobia and transphobia against LGBTI public servants. Just as it was before the coup attempt, unionized LGBTI workers found themselves in an environment of nationalist, religious, conservative and militarist violence.

Even though the LGBTI movement continues its organized resistance through this period, the present climate resulted in the closure of the cracks that were opened in the workplaces and unions. The threats against and the targeting of LGBTI public servants via the press, were ignored by the unions and the answer of the union administrators to questions asked was “We have no LGBTI.” The union, heavily influenced by the conservative aspect of nationalist, conservative and militarist violence has abandoned LGBTI public servants both politically and with regards to social rights. Such institutional abandonment led the LGBTI public workers to a greater anxiety, as they were already forced to work hiding their identity.

After the declaration of the state of emergency, nationalist, conservative, militarist and male violence has escalated. Since government practices were eager for this drift, the expulsions and suspensions through government decrees resulted in the silencing of LGBTI public workers who have already been ignored politically within the union.

Yet, despite all attempts of homophobia and transphobia to close the cracks, LGBTI public workers do not refrain from making their voices heard. The unions should come together against nationalist, conservative, militarist, male and heterosexist impositions and build an LGBTI policy on this basis: rainbow is liberation, with the rainbow against the [rule of] One.

Yalçın Koçak- Lawyer for Pink Life Association: “We are under state of emergency, it shall be as we want”

Without a doubt, the “state of emergency” practice which has been going on since July 20, 2016 has had a negative impact on LGBTIs, as it did on many other sectors of the society. It should be stated that in such periods when security-based “unlawfulness” substitutes “the law,” the victimization of the disadvantaged, socially marginalized and othered groups increases.

(more…)

They tried to put the LGBTI activist Kıvılcım Arat in a men’s detention cell!

Arat is in custody in Atatürk airport.

Source: T24, “Gözaltına alınan LGBTİ aktivisti Kıvılcım Arat’ı nezarethanede erkek bölümüne koymaya çalıştılar!” (They tried to hold the LGBTI activist Kıvılcım Arat in men’s detainment room!), 17 March 2017, http://t24.com.tr/haber/gozaltina-alinan-lgbti-aktivisti-kivilcim-arati-nezarethanede-erkek-bolumune-koymaya-calistilar,394365

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Trans activist
Kıvılcım Arat’s lawyer met her after she was taken into custody in Istanbul Atatürk International Airport and said they tried to put her in a men’s detention cell, but following an argument she was put in a single cell. Arat is detained for “not testifying in an investigation.”

According to a news report by KaosGL’s Yıldız Tar, following Istanbul LGBTİ Board Member trans activist Kıvılcım Arat’s detention in Atatürk Airport’s International Terminal today (March 17), her lawyer Aylin Kırıkçı met with Arat.

In an interview with KaosGL.org, lawyer Kırıkçı mentioned that they have not been informed on the content of the case file leading to the detention and made the following statement:

“Currently, we do not know the content of the case file, however, when we look into her GBT [General Information Gathering System — Trans.] record, we see that she was supposed to testify in a court case which led to an arrest warrant. It is unclear what she was going to testify about and in which court case. As her lawyers, we tried to contact the district attorney to start the process for her testimony but we could not reach them. Due to our client’s health problems the testimony was supposed to be taken today, but was not, because we could not reach the district attorney.”

They tried to put her in a men’s detention cell

Kırıkçı mentioned that Arat is held at the Atatürk Airport Police Station, and is expected to give her testimony to the district attorney tomorrow morning (March 18). Kırıkçı added that, even though Arat is a trans woman, they tried to hold her in a men’s detention cell:

“Even though my client is a trans women, they tried to put her in a men’s detention cell where 20 men are kept. Following Kıvılcım’s objection and an argument she was not put in the men’s area. Currently, she is kept in a single cell.”

She sent a message from detention

Arat sent a message with her lawyer. Her message emphasized solidarity.

“Just to spite those who try to call whistleblowing into in our spaces of solidarity, we will continue to fight, stick together, stand shoulder to shoulder.”

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Editor’s note: Kıvılcım Arat was released from detention on March 18.

Istanbul LGBTI’s Kıvılcım Arat is taken into custody

Istanbul LGBTI’s trans activist Kıvılcım Arat was taken into custody at Istanbul Atatürk Airport International Terminal. Arat, whose detainment reason is unknown, was on her way to a women’s rights conference.

Source: Yıldız Tar, “İstanbul LGBTİ’den Kıvılcım Arat gözaltına alındı” (“Istanbul LGBTI’s Kıvılcım Arat is taken into custody”), 17 March 2017, Kaos GL, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=23328

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Istanbul LGBTI Association Board Member and trans activist Kıvılcım Arat was taken into custody at Istanbul Atatürk Airport International Terminal.

While Arat’s detainment reason is unknown, Zelal Demir of Istanbul LGBTI told KaosGL.org that the lawyers are on their way to meet Arat. Demir added that they are neither informed on the reason for detainment nor the location of the station in which Arat is held, and continued with the following statement:

“Fight for rights cannot be restrained by detentions!”

“We are not informed on the detainment reason of our friend, our comrade, our board member Kıvılcım Arat, although, we are going through times that a large number of human rights defenders are facing detainment. We demand Kıvılcım to be released. Fight for rights cannot be restrained by detentions. We stand by our friend.”

Today, Arat was on her way to a women’s rights conference in Germany. It is believed that she is taken into custody whilst she was in line for passport control.

We will continue to report on the details…

Editor’s note: Kıvılcım Arat was released from detention on March 18.

Defendants at Kemal Ördek’s case to be jailed during trial

The court ruled to imprison the defendants who appealed the verdict of jail time and monetary punishment in Kemal Ördek’s case.

Source: Kaos GL, “Kemal Ördek davası sanıkları tutuklu yargılanacak”, 2 March 2017, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=23206

The assailants who attacked sex worker and Red Umbrella Association rights advocate Kemal Ördek in July 2015 appealed the verdict of jail time and judicial monetary punishment. On their objection, the file was moved to the Ankara District Court.

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The hearing took place on March 2, 2017 at 11:45 at the Ankara District Court’s 17th Penal Office.

The court ruled to continue the prison sentence of suspect due to evidence of possible theft.

The court also ruled to arrest the two other suspects due to flight risk. One suspect appeared in court while the other did not.

What happened?

The fifth hearing of Kemal Ördek’s sexual assault case took place on Nov. 17, 2016 at Ankara’s First High Penal Court. Kemal Ördek had filed suit for death threats they received after the sexual assault and the case was finalized in October. Following that, the case of sexual assault and extortion concluded at the fifth hearing.

Ankara’s First High Penal Court ruled to punish the assailants who raped and extorted Ördek in their Ankara home with the crimes of qualified sexual assault, theft, threat, insult and depriving a person of their freedom. The suspects were sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison.  

 

“Families in Turkey see their kids as their possession”

We talked with the parents whose kids are homosexual, about the concept of family, alternative family experiences in Turkey and their adventures that started with their kids coming out to them.

Source: Yıldız Tar, “Türkiye’de aileler çocuklarını malları gibi görüyor” (“Families in Turkey see their kids as their possession”), 19 February, 2015 KaosGL,  http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=18792

omersule2Ömer and Şule

On one hand it is a warm nest, on the other it’s everyone’s trouble without exception: Family. We talked about family, a world of secrets nested in secrets, with two mothers and two fathers who have torn these secrets apart.

On the one hand Şule and Ömer who embarked upon the adventure of their life years ago, after finding out that their son is gay; on the other hand is Buzul and Kaya who has only recently faced this fact.

The transformation of the family known as a safe haven, friendships that go beyond kinship, a mother who drew the curtains when she first found out her son was gay, a father who says “I don’t know who I thought about the most”, new kinships and friendships built through LGBT Friends and Families of LGBTIs in Turkey (LISTAG)

The stories of those who say “A different family is possible”, stories of  taking a step towards emancipation, of reconstructing the family, of questioning themselves…

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What does family mean? What comes to your mind when we say family?

Buzul: My nuclear family comes to my mind. It’s made up of the people I can’t live without; with whom I  would like to realize my wishes. A more autonomous, freer environment comes to mind. I’m talking about creating a more cheerful and enjoyable space.

Kaya:  I can define the family as before and after my son told us he is gay. Before, it was a safe haven, a castle for me. I saw family as something solely made up of blood ties. Afterwards I realized that it wasn’t only blood ties. The definition in my head keeps changing. I realize that it doesn’t necessarily have to be about blood ties.

What did you feel when your son first came out? What happened to the family you call a safe haven and a castle?

Kaya:  Frankly, I don’t know what I felt the first time I heard it. It was as if there was a great explosion and I was in shock, didn’t know what to do. I don’t know whether I thought about him or my wife more. Our son is abroad and wrote about his sexual orientation in a letter. When I first read the letter, I told my wife Buzul “Nothing is going to be the same. Our life passed onto a new phase.” After that we talked about what we should do. Our son gave us some information about LİSTAG and Lambdaistanbul in his letter. My wife called immediately. My first feeling was despair.

“My first reflex was to draw the curtains”

Buzul, you were to first call LISTAG. You called and someone answered the phone. What did you feel during that first conversation?

Buzul: I’m lucky that a calm person answered the phone. I had someone who was similar to me emotionally.They were talking with a calm voice, explaining the situation to me in a casual manner. It gave me confidence. I wanted to talk face to face immediately that day. I had to see, we had to be face to face. When my son first told me, I thought that he assumed being that way. I interpreted it as a confusion.

It was a hard day for me that day. I opened the letter first. I talked on the phone first. We actually talked about a detail about that day recently. The letter came in a decorated blue envelope. I thought it was a card from my son for my birthday. He had been holding off on our relationship for a while so I thought he sent it for my birthday. I was all alone when I first read it. My first reaction was to draw the curtains. I got into a terrible crying fit. Then I couldn’t really predict how my husband would react. I started thinking about that.

I called my husband. When he insisted to know what’s going on, I was forced to tell him. Later when he came home crying I was more composed. When I saw his reaction, I pulled myself together. I was scared for my husband. He has high blood pressure and heart problems. It was a weird state of mind. I first thought about the boy. Then myself. And when I saw my husband, I came to my senses thinking, “Pull yourself together, the boy and the man need you.”

“I found out how we have been fooled until today”

Ömer and Şule, you told about your experiences on different occasions. Therefore I’d like to ask what changed in your life. Şule, what changed in your life after your son told you he is homosexual? Has Şule remained the same?

Şule: I’m in a very different place right now. Most importantly, my relationship with my son is in another dimension. We’ve always been very good but there were secrets between us. He couldn’t open up to me. I knew things about him but I acted like I didn’t know. I couldn’t face myself. Afterwards I was liberated. After LISTAG, in each talk I had with a new person I noticed that burdens were lifted off my shoulders.

Aside from me and my son’s process, my life has changed a lot too. I started looking around more carefully. I have realized how many people were pushed away, othered, discriminated against. There hadn’t been any place for them in my protected life up to that point. I even doubted their existence. Some people lived some place but I didn’t know how they lived. I learned about different opinions of different people. I saw how we have been fooled until today. Especially with Gezi resistance, I saw how much of a liar the media was. I witnessed how my experience at the part was twisted on the media. After that day I decided not to watch TV anymore. I was naive before, I believed. I thought the great media would not lie.

What do you think about this Ömer?

Ömer:  After coming out Öner wanted to talk to me but I always ran away. So he started to leave Kaos GL magazine and some articles around. After reading those, I started talking with my son. When we first went to CETAD, I was saying “I’ve accepted this” but we were giving interviews with nicknames, avoiding to have our photos taken. When I gave an interview with my photo on November 2010 I realized that I hadn’t accepted but only learnt. After that day, my process of acceptance started.

An individual’s life is only his/her business. Ever since I was a kid, I have always stood against my father, the school, my bosses. I was a rebel. This is how I evaluated my son’s coming out and his sexual orientation. As I learned, I started touching people, relating to them. Touching gave me great joy. Helping even one person is an immense pleasure.

Throughout your experiences at LİSTAG and your years long activism, did the concept of “family” change in your mind? What comes to Ömer and Şule’s minds when they hear the word “family”? Who do you visualize?

Ömer: Not much has changed for me but my ideas. As I look at other families, as I question the concept of family, I came to think that the institution of family in Turkey is a great problem.  My perspective was enhanced. Families in Turkey see their kids as their possession. It’s not something I experienced personally but families intervene, saying “It’s for their good, otherwise they would make mistakes.” And who is to know that you won’t make mistakes? Everyone needs to be free individuals and give their own decisions.  If my child ask my opinion, I would tell them but s/he doesn’t have to do what I say. A different family is possible, but today’s family structure is not healthy. It’s detrimental to both the children and the parents. Families should not be built on relations of interest. Parents should do nothing more that building an environment where children can create their personalities freely. I don’t think family has anything to do with blood ties. I for once, see LİSTAG more than I see Öner.

I used to think only children should be free but I add women to this list as I see the violence and oppression against women. Men should be reliberated. Men are burdened in the institution of family too. They say “men don’t cry” for instance…Men are supposed to be strong. What’s that got to do with anything? Men are emotional too, they cry. All individuals must be liberated, collectively.

Şule: I’d like to emphasize the importance of the family as we know it, as formed of mother,father and child. We spoke to many kids and I saw that coming out to family is very important. Many LGBTI children seek acceptance from their parents and family. On the one hand they say “a different family is possible” but on the other they want to come out to their families and be respected by them.

“I’d like to come out to my family just like my child did”

Buzul, what do you think? Is a different family possible? What is this different family like?

Buzul: These ideas are flying around in my head. I can’t say anything clearly yet. But basically a happy and a peaceful life. I envied the LGBTI parents who came to the family meetings with their siblings or their mothers. A part of me expects acceptance like the children who come out and are not accepted. I’m wondering how my own parents will react to my child’s sexual orientation.

Your child came out to you and now you want to come out to your own family as the mother of a homosexual child…

Buzul: I ask myself why I want such a thing. If being homosexual is something sexual; and people don’t talk about their sexuality why should you be forced to explain it when you are homosexual? In the same manner, why must I explain my child’s sexuality? But if anything happens to me, I want to teach my relatives a thing or two, so that they won’t harass my child. I became a liar in this process. I’m an educator and I tell my ideas about the film “My child” coming to our school. It’s like slowly we are coming out. On the other hand, why am I doing this like I’m giving an account for it? I guess my experience is very similar to what homosexual children go through.

As I got in touch with youth thanks to LİSTAG, I met various types of families. Through the young people coming to the association I notice different types of families. You can become a family with your dog. My parents disappeared in my head. My mother and father are still precious to me but I called all LISTAG mothers last Mother’s Day. I look at my son and his friends, their worldview carried me forward.

Let’s ask the father as well, if people heard your son is gay what would they say?

Kaya: I’m a person of rationality, emotions come much later for me. Lately,  I’m thinking of settling accounts with family in my mind. I’m wondering what kind of reflex my own mother, father and relatives will develop. I want this encounter for myself. This way I can clean my environment. I will be free of people who don’t accept my child. One day I want to talk to my son and “get things off my chest”. I find many people to be hypocritical.

*This interview was first published on Kaos GL’s issue no. 139 on “Family”.

 

LGBTI activist Bulut Öncü lost his life in a traffic accident

LGBTI activist Bulut Öncü, who worked in the field of sexual health, lost his life in a traffic accident. Condolences to all of us.

Source: “Bulut Öncü trafik kazasında yaşamını kaybetti”, kaosgl.org, 20 February 2017, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=23098

LGBTI activist Bulut Öncü lost his life in a traffic accident this morning. Öncü was in a taxi in Istanbul when the accident happened.

His funeral will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 21 in his hometown of Konya.

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He worked in the Community Volunteers Foundation, Y-Peer Turkey and UNFPA

Öncü was a volunteer reporter at KaosGL.org between 2010-2013. He also worked at the Community Volunteers Foundation, Y-Peer Turkey and the UN Population Fund. Öncü was working as an International Consultancy Expert (ICE) from Belgium as part of Sivil Düşün EU Program.

Öncü worked and volunteered in different fields of civil society but was known for his work in the field of sexual health.

Öncü was also a 3H Movement member.

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He was going to run in Runatolia

If the traffic accident hadn’t torn Bulut Öncü from his loved ones, he would have run in Antalya Runatolia Marathon on March 5 for Y-Peer Turkey:

I need your help to solve an important problem!

We are facing a problem that concerns us all: there is no sexual health education for different age groups in Turkey’s education system and Turkey has the youngest population in Europe! Only one in 10 youths have the right information regarding HIV and AIDS in Turkey and nine out of 10 youths do not know when they are fertile with the risk of pregnancy…

But there are youths who work day and night to solve this problem! I will run 10 kilometers on March 5, 2017 in Antalya Runatolia Marathon for Y-Peer Turkey, an association that opens the path for youth to gain life skills by increasing their knowledge on sexual and reproductive health.

My goal is to collect 7,200 TL through donations in order to fund sexual and reproductive health education for 36 youths. If I succeed, 36 youths will get the right information about sexual and reproductive health. Moreover, this will take place through peer education models and informal education techniques. These youths who will be educated in various topics including rights, growing up as a teen and development, birth control, sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS, risky behaviors and condom use, will share what they learn with their peers and the benefit of correct information will be multiplied.

It is our responsibility to support the visibility of youth’s messages, to be in solidarity with them and to realize the dream of a world where all youth can reach sexual health education. I wish for you to join this dream and wait for your support.

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Condolences!

As Kaos GL, we are experiencing the pain of losing our volunteer reporter, friend and comrade Bulut Öncü. We give our condolences to all his friends and loved ones. Rest in peace.