Discrimination & Hate Crimes

Discrimination and Hate Crimes committed against LGBTI in Turkey

While some Pride Events are no longer banned in Izmir, Court refused to lift the ban on the Pride March

Source: Izmir denied the request to lift the ban on Pride March (İzmir Onur Yürüyüşü yasağının kaldırılması talebi reddedildi) https://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=28378 21 June 2019

The court decided to reject the request to lift the ban decision on the Izmir Pride March. The Pride Week Committee reiterated their call: Tomorrow (June 22) at 18:00 we will meet in front of the Kıbrıs Şehitleri Starbucks (The Old Leman Culture Center) to deliver our press release.

Izmir’s 1st Administrative Court, which had on June 19 prevented the carrying out of a ban on some activities within the scope of Izmir Pride Week, announced today its decision on the prohibition of the march.

The court rejected the request of Genç LGBTI+ Association to lift the Governors ban of the Izmir Pride March to be held tomorrow (22 June).

The court declared that “…(the march would be an) obvious and possible danger that a crime could be committed ”. The Izmir Pride March has in fact been free from strife for years.

#PrideCantBeBanned

About the court’s decision İzmir LGBTI+ Pride Week Committee has stated:

“The court’s decision is announced. The request to lift the ban of the 7th LGBTI + Pride March was denied. Tomorrow (June 22) at 18:00 we will meet in front of Kıbrıs Şehitleri Starbucks (Old Leman Culture Center) to make our press release. We welcome all LGBTI + individuals and rights defenders! ##OnurYasaklanamaz

What had happened?

Izmir Governorship had banned the 7th Izmir LGBTI+ Pride Week on June 14th with the below comment.

“Law No. 2911 on Meetings and Demonstrations and the Implementation of the Law No. 5442 in accordance with the Provincial Administration Law No. 11 / AC articles which points at the peace and security of people living in our province, the immunity of people, ensuring public safety and well-being; ensuring national security, public safety and well-being; national security, public order, prevention of crime, protection of general health and the rights and freedoms of others or the prevention of possible violent and terrorist incidents ”.

 

Trans women were attacked in Antep, the police took the attacked women into custody

In a park in Antep, trans women were attacked. The police officers responded to the incident by arresting the women who were attacked. The police also harassed the women during custody, saying “how can a man be girly?”. After the attack, tape was attached over the park bench. We talked to İffet, who is one of the people taken into custody, about the event.

Source: Trans women were attacked in Antep, the police took the women into custody (Antep’te trans kadınlar saldırıya uğradı, polis kadınları gözaltına aldı), Yusuf Gülsevgi, Kaos GL, https://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=28341&fbclid=IwAR30FUuLdHFlsaFGv01ZNgU28t0saYKoMS4Kf3M-dxIENfS0IL12WWwlBiY, June 18, 2019

Can you introduce yourself to us briefly?

Of course. I am İffet, I am a 31 years-old transvestite. I work as a sex worker for a living. The moment when I started transitioning, people turned me into a vampire. In other words; I am home during the day time and on the streets during the night time. I live like a vampire. That is all.

You were attacked in Çınarlı Park. How did it happen?

It happened like this: I go to the park with the girls almost every night to find a client. There was an argy-bargy situation two days ago. Some people attacked one of our friends. The police officers arrived immediately. They took all of us into custody and released us the next day. When we came back to the park, we realized that they had covered the benches with tape and a police car was standing by.

You said that you were taken into custody, how did the police officers treat you there? Were you harassed physically or psychologically?

I swear you are nuts. There is a transvestite and a police officer, how can the officer stay silent in this situation? (Laughs) Not physically, but I was harassed verbally.

What did they say?

“What’s all this fuss in the middle of the night? You were the last thing we needed tonight. How can a man be girly?” they said.

You mentioned about tape being tied up to the benches…

To me, this means that they don’t want us. In other words, this means that a battle has started. I was born a fighter. I have always fought with people and I still live. And I will fight to win this battle.

Right after all this, the manager of the teachers’ lodge close to the park announced that LGBTI+s cannot enter the public coffee house of the lodge. What do you think about this decision?

There is a human rights violation here. The manager of the teachers’ lodge paves the way for discrimination through this decision, gives hatred a green light. What kind of morality is this, invading our living spaces?

What is your message about all the happenings?

I am not the first transvestite, nor will I be the last one. We have existed throughout history and we will exist in the future, too.

 

Love has won in İzmir: The ban on Pride Week has been lifted!

Source: Love has won in İzmir: The ban on Pride Week has been lifted! (İzmir’de aşk kazandı: Onur Haftası yasağı kaldırıldı!), Pembe Hayat, http://www.pembehayat.org/haberler/detay/2176/izmirrsquode-ask-kazandi-onur-haftasi-yasagi-kaldirildi, June 19, 2019

The Young LGBTI+ Association (Genç LGBTI+ Derneği) has successfully appealed against the ban imposed by the Governorship of İzmir on the 7th İzmir LGBTI+ Pride Week and the ban has been lifted.

On June 14, the Izmir Governorship made a statement through its official website, banning the İzmir LGBTI+ Pride Week which was planned to start on June 17.

“Pursuant to the Law no.2911 on Meetings and Demonstration Marches, the Regulation on Implementation of this Law, and Article 11/A-C of the Law no.5442 on Provincial Administration, several activities & events planned to be organized were banned by our governorship in order to ensure the peace and safety of the city’s people, to protect their right of privacy, the safety of the economy, public security, and welfare; to protect national security and public order, to prevent crimes, to protect public health, public decency, and other people’s rights and freedom, and to prevent possible violence and terrorist activities.”

İzmir LGBTI+ Pride Week made a public statement through social media after the governorship introduced the ban and stated that they condemn the decision. “In the current political atmosphere of Turkey, especially over the last 4 years, Pride Week activities and events organized in many cities were banned and LGBTI+ activities & events were banned in Ankara for an indefinite period. All of these bans have a goal to threaten and intimidate LGBTI+ individuals for being visible and having raised their voices.”

The ban is lifted!

Genc LGBTI+ Association’s appeal against execution of the ban was heard by the court today [June 19]. After another hearing at the court for İzmir Pride March on Friday it will be decided whether the two scheduled events “Bondage Workshop” and “Sex Toy Workshop” will still take place. All other events have permission to take place in line with the court decision to repeal the ban on the 7th İzmir LGBTI+ Pride Week. The decision was taken with one vote in favour of enforcing the ban and two votes for the bans repeal. One of those two votes repealing the ban, commented that this decision should be applied to all pride activities in Izmir.

The Governorship of Antalya has banned the 3rd Antalya Pride Week!

The Governorship of Antalya has banned Antalya LGBTI+ Pride March and “all the related activities and events”. The governor’s office put forward “public decency” as the reason for this discriminatory ban.

Source: The Governorship of Antalya has banned the 3rd Antalya Pride Week! (Antalya Valiliği, 3. Antalya Onur Haftası’nı yasakladı!), Kaos GL, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=28317 June 15, 2019

 

The governorship of Antalya has banned the 3rd Antalya LGBTI+ Pride Week stating the reason as “to prevent dissident groups from facing each other, to ensure the current peaceful environment, national safety, public order, public health and decency not to be disturbed, to block possible violence and terrorist activities, to preserve the unbreakable unity of the government, state, and nation, to protect the rights and freedom of other people,” pursuant to  Law no.2911 on Meetings and Protest Marches, the regulations on implementation of this law, and Article 11/A-C of the Law no.5442 on Provincial Administration.

The governor’s office has announced that “the Pride March and all the activities & events which will be organized afterwards in relation to that, such as public statements and activities/events by way of support to similar protests, as well as all the activities (marches, public statements, hunger strike, sit-in protests, setting up a booth or tent) which are follows-up to the same issue” have been banned in the whole city for 15 days.

Lawyer Ahmet Çevik: “We don’t accept the unlawful ban decision”

Lawyer Ahmet Çevik talked to KaosGL.org about the ban decision of the Governorship of Antalya:

“Today, the police officers of Antalya Security Branch Directorate, who came to the office of BIZ Association, notified [us of] the ban decision of the Governorship of Antalya. However, we refused to announce it because we don’t accept this unlawful ban decision. The ban decision of the Governorship of Antalya is contrary to the international agreements and to our own legislation. Let me tell you more clearly, the ban decision is contrary to the Istanbul Convention, the principles of equality in the constitution, the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, and domestic legal order. Therefore, we refuse to announce it, the Governorship of Antalya should announce the ban to the public.”

Stating that the ban decision of the Governorship doesn’t only involve the activities within this week, but it also bans all the LGBTI+ activities throughout the whole city for 15 days and even protesting against the ban has been banned,  Çevik said:

“The Governorship has not only banned the Pride Week activities which will take place for 3 days. It banned all the LGBTI+ activities which will be organized in the whole of Antalya for 15 days starting from June 15. In addition to that, calling for LGBTI+ activities and reactions & protesting against it [the ban] in the digital world are banned, too. Moreover, no human rights associations or activist can condemn this ban or make a public statement about it within the borders of the city because these acts will also be considered as LGBTI+ activities. To sum, ban, ban, ban. Everything is banned!”

It is banned in Izmir, too!

The Governorship of Izmir announced a decision yesterday (June 14) and banned the 7th Izmir LGBTI+ Pride Week stating similar reasons. The Governorship of Izmir gave the reason for it as “to ensure the people’s right to privacy, safety of the economy, public security, and welfare; to ensure national security, public security, and welfare; to protect national security, public order, to prevent crimes, to protect public health, public decency, and the other people’s rights and freedom, to prevent possible violence and terrorist activities.”

The governorship of Izmir has banned the 7th Izmir LGBTI+ Pride Week

 

The governorship of Izmir has banned the events & activities which have been organized within the scope of the 7th Izmir LGBTI+ Pride Week between the 17th – 23rd of June [2019].

Source: The governorship of İzmir has banned the 7th Izmir LGBTI+ Pride Week (İzmir Valiliği, 7. İzmir LGBTİ+ Onur Haftası’nı yasakladı), Kaos GL, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=28314 June 14, 2019

 

The governorship of Izmir has banned the 7th Izmir LGBTI+ Pride Week which has been organized with the efforts of volunteers, by stating the reason as “to ensure the peace and safety of the city’s people, their right to privacy, the safety of the economy, public security, and welfare; to ensure national security, public security, and welfare; to protect national security, public order, to prevent crimes, to protect public health, public decency, and the other people’s rights and freedom, and to prevent possible violence and terrorist activities,” pursuant to Law no.2911 on Meetings and Protest Marches, the regulation on implementation of this law, and  Article 11/A-C of Law no.5442 on Provincial Administration.

 

Trans Guest* House, a social awareness project

 

Trans Guest* House project will be launched on June 18-22, 2019 with a photography exhibition, stories and memories of the trans women and men’s lives, with the aim to increase awareness.

The project is directed by Kübra Uzun and has three components: A photo book titled “Guest*House”, a video titled “Once Upon A Time” and the exhibition titled “1+1: We are strong together!”.  

The photobook “Guest*House” is supported by the Consulate General of the Netherlands Istanbul, introducing photos taken by Ömer Tevfik Erten at the Trans Guesthouse. The guest house was opened by the Istanbul LGBTT Solidarity Association in 2013 for trans individuals who have no place to stay and were subjected to violence. The book includes a magical realist story titled ‘Unravelling A Riddle’ written by Dutch-Turkish author Defne Çizakça, in the memory of Hande Kader, the trans woman activist whose burnt body was found in the woods near Istanbul.  The book is designed by Merve Deniz.

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The video titled “Once Upon A Time” will be screened at the Consulate General of the Netherlands Istanbul. The video is prepared in the memory of Çingene Gül, a trans woman murdered in her house in Istanbul in 2014. It gives us a peek at the guests of the guest house’s search for safe space and the struggle for the sustainability of the guest house.

The exhibition titled “1+1: We are strong together!” will be hosted by Boysan’s House, a space opened in the memory of LGBTI+ activist Boysan Yakar who passed away in a car accident. Upon Ömer Tevfik Erten’s call the exhibition brings together a new generation of photographers in Turkey . Lamarts is the print sponsor of the exhibition and presents the selections of MAKHism, Dilek Yaman, Damla Atak, Nazlı Yıldırım, Şener Yılmaz Aslan, Ateş Alpar and Ömer Tevfik Erten.

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The exhibition will be launched on June 18, 19:00. A panel titled “Art and Activism” will take place at Boysan’s House with the participation of art theoretician Ezgi Bakçay and Prof. Seçkin Tercan.

Photographers who work or would like to work in the field of gender studies are invited to come together on June 20, 18:00 and participate with the exhibited artists.

All events are free of charge and open to the public.

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Book Review: Our Children, A Guide for Families and Relatives

“Our Children, A Guide for Families and Relatives” (Çocuklarımız, Aile ve Yakınlar için bir Rehber) is a booklet designed for LGBTI+ parents and relatives. The booklet is published by LISTAG (Families and Relatives of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Individuals) in collaboration with LGBTI+ family groups from different cities around Turkey serves as an invaluable resource for parents and relatives of LGBTI+ children and youth. In the preface it reads that the purpose of the booklet is to share knowledge gained by the common experiences of families of gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans individuals, and provide families with less or little experience with information and help raise their awarenesse. Included in the preface is an important note on the fact that the feelings and thoughts many LGBTI+ families initially experience when their children come out to them are similar and that knowing they are not alone is in itself comforting.

What makes this resource booklet a powerful read is that it also includes extracts from the book, “Stories Under the Rainbow” (Gökkuşagından Hikayeler), a compilation of real life stories from the families of LGBTI+ individuals. These accounts, distributed throughout the booklet, are the voices of parents of LGBTI+ children and youth relaying their own struggles, challenges, and experiences. Perhaps these narratives effectively echo similar sentiments to the parents reading “Our Children”, reassuring them that their experience is not unique to them.

The booklet provides definitions for core LGBTI+ terminology such as for gender identity and sexual orientation; information and suggestions for parents on ways to cope with their own feelings; information about the coming out process as LGB and how best to support LGBTI+ individuals and the coming out process of trans children and youth, and what the transition process in Turkey entails. It also contains information about LISTAG and the work it does to support families and raise awareness about LGBTI+ discrimination and rights.  

Stressing the importance of carving space and time for reflection to process feelings and thoughts, the booklet notes that many parents may neglect the fact that they too need support, and encourages parents to also tend to their own feelings while supporting their child.

One main suggestion the booklet provides to parents is to operate from a place of love despite wherever they may be in their own acceptance process and that a great way to find solidarity is to get in touch with LGBTI+ family groups. In the afterword, a parent encourages other parents to confront their own fears together with their children and to be open to learning about other lives without judgement and adds, “Let’s try to really understand and let’s not leave our children alone on this challenging journey.”

For a parent whose child may have recently come out to them as LGBTI+ and who may lack knowledge on the topic, finding access to information and guidance on LGBTI+ topics in Turkish might be a challenging endeavor. Providing parents with a good starting point, this is an impactful resource that will serve this gap and help many families better understand and support their LGBTI+ child. It is not difficult to imagine the positive impact “Our Children” will have on many families. With its clear explanations, suggestions and the narratives from experienced parents, “Our Children” makes a great gift to all parents of LGBTI+ children and youth.

Review by Lukka Alp Akarçay for LGBTI News Turkey