Hate Speech & Anti-LGBTI Media

Turkish media and similar sources with anti-LGBTI, homophobic propaganda

“We prioritise the topics society is sensitive about; therefore, we have cancelled the program”

After the Republican People’s Party (CHP) Beyoğlu Municipality Mayor Candidate Alper Taş mentioned “LGBTİ” during TV5’s program “the Matters in Question with Çağla Cilara”, the channel’s presenter was fired and the program was cancelled.

Source: “We prioritise the topics the society is sensitive about; therefore, we have cancelled the program” (Toplumsal hassasiyetleri önceleyeceğiz, programı yayından kaldırdık) Gözde Demirbilek, KaosGL, March 5, 2019

https://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=27754&fbclid=IwAR310VJiERp3wzaEwtY0fSnnrPSKEpuVC7hTLmi78tsUdvjrHAbI1xyK180

Çağlar Cilara hosted the Republican People’s Party (CHP) Beyoğlu Municipality Mayor Candidate Alper Taş on the program “the Matters in Question” which he presented on TV channel 5, a channel founded by Necmettin Erbakan. During the program, he asked Taş the questions of the audience. In the previous days, Alper Taş had been a guest on the program “Human Rights Agenda” which lawyer Veysel Ok presents, and Taş had stated there “we will establish LGBTİ assemblies”. This statement of his was a topic of the program “the Matters in Question” as well. When Cilara asked questions about LGBTİ issues, Taş answered as follows:

“I stand by my words. Our LGBTİ citizens are our people. The majority of them live in Beyoğlu. They suffer from intense pressure and cruelty due to their sexual orientations, preferences. We will ensure them to live as a human because they are human. Their sexual orientation, identities are none of our business. We won’t look at their identities, we won’t look at their sexual orientation. We will look at whether or not there are citizens living in Beyoğlu, whether or not they are human. Starting from this, I as the municipality mayor candidate will follow their problems and solve the problems they revealed via their own assemblies, in order to help them to live in Beyoğlu without suffering from cruelty and pressure. The people do not become the way they are by specifically and consciously preferring it, it is something natural.”

The program’s presenter Çağlar Cilara replied him by saying “Yes, they were born this way”.

“There is a huge rage towards them as if they are not humans, not beings, not a part of the society. As a result, our thoughts are the same today as they were yesterday and there is no contradiction. We stand by the words we expressed for LGBTİ people. We will not take a single step back from it”, added Taş.

TV5 cancelled the program

After the questions about LGBTİ individuals had been asked, TV5 stated “We prioritise the topics society is sensitive about as well as those which are in line with our moral values, so we will continue broadcasting unwaveringly hereof.” declaring that they had separated ways with Çağlar Cilara and the program has been cancelled:

“The opinions and thoughts stated by Beyoğlu Municipality Mayor Candidate Alper Taş who was a guest on the program the Matters in Question with Çağlar Cilara represented his ideas. None of them are reflective of TV5.”

“One of the basic broadcasting principles of TV5 is to consider topics society is sensitive about as well as our moral values. Despite knowing our loyalty to this fact, trying to present these statements as if they reflect the general broadcasting policy of TV5 lacks fairness, morality, and understanding. As a channel that broadcasts many programs live on each day of the week with the slogan “everyone having a word to say” and hosts several guests of every opinion, not every agenda should be brought up as if it reflects TV5’s broadcasting policy. This attitude is clearly a operation to manipulate people’s perception.”

“However, TV5’s broadcasting board decided to cancel this program in order to prevent these perception operations, attempted before the elections. TV5 will continue broadcasting unwaveringly hereof. In future, just like in past TV5 will prioritise topics which society is sensitive about as well as those in line with our moral values. We kindly declare this to the public.

“I will keep asking, do not worry”

Cilara shared TV5’s statement while stating “My adventure at TV5 is over. The journalists in Turkey are torn between political polarisation, conflict, and noise. I asked my question, presented the news. I presented more than 3 thousand programs within 8 years. More than 10 thousand news articles were written from my programs.  Do not worry, I will keep asking questions.”

In memory of Hande Şeker: The gender of transgender killings

Hande Şeker was killed in her house on 9th of January, 2019 by a cop who was there as her client.* Her housemate who is a trans woman as well was wounded by the same person. Despite some improvements in the language of the media since the 90s thanks to the struggles of the LGBTI+ movement, this murder which is clearly a hate killing was presented in the news with transphobic and misogynistic language.

Source: In memory of Hande Şeker: The gender of transgender killings (Hande Şeker’in ardından: Trans cinayetlerinin cinsiyeti) February 5, 2019 http://www.5harfliler.com/hande-sekerin-ardindan/

After Hande Şeker was killed, many newspapers and news websites shared her name presented in her ID card. This was done even though there is no public benefit in sharing it and her approval cannot be given because she was murdered. In addition papers when mentioning Hande Şeker, referred to her as a “transvestite” and “trans person”. “Transvestite who uses the nickname Hande Şeker” (Milliyet), “Hande Şeker codenamed transvestite” (Habertürk), “Trans person who uses the nickname Hande Şeker” (Sabah). All these news articles show how trans women are considered in the newsrooms. The journalists’ refusal to recognize trans women as women leads them to use a misogynistic and violent language.

The first message which was delivered via these news articles is that Hande is not Hande, often using the phrase “in reality”.  In other words, Hande Şeker, a woman who was murdered by a security officer of the government, is actually “fooling” us. Despite the fact that a trans woman lives, socialises, and works with a name she picked herself; this identity is just a “code name” for the media. Because mentioning Hande Şeker as Hande Şeker means recognizing the murdered person as a woman, normalising this fact, and not making it the centre of the news. However, this doesn’t suit the mainstream media which has traditionally made use of victims “being trans” to cause a stir.

First, they get a photograph of the victim from her social media account, which shows her beautiful face, probably taken by herself, and in which she looks in the way she wanted to look; and they put this photograph into the news article. And they write her name as Hande Şeker at the headlines. But then, they attach her name at the Identity card to the spotlight or under the photograph; the name which is coded with “maleness” and clearly not used by her. In this way, the message of “don’t believe in Hande” is delivered to the reader who was reading an article about femicide. So, it causes the readers to feel sympathy towards the transphobic killings’ culprits who testify before the court and to empathise with murderers who say “I thought she was a woman, but she is a man”. If the victim is a trans woman, questioning her “femaleness” in the news article is an additional strategy of the presentation. So, the focus of the news article is taken from the killing and the victim and transferred into the femaleness of the murdered woman, her background, the names and genders which are assigned to her without her will. The purpose is to confuse the mind of the reader who didn’t question the femaleness of the victim, to make them say “So, A is actually Y”, and to present “being a trans woman” as something horrible. Making them question the femaleness of Hande; ensuring the readers to watch their step by unearthing “this secret fact”. Otherwise, the readers may see the case in the shoes of the murdered woman instead of the man who entered her house and killed her; God forbid! They may see Hande as a woman, as she is; God forbid! They may forget questioning the femaleness of trans women for a moment; God forbid!

Cumhuriyet

Horror in İzmir… Cop shot trans people: 1 was killed

9th of January, 2019 Turkey

At the quarrel at an apartment in Konak District of İzmir, trans person Hande Şeker died and 2 people were wounded by the bullets of the gun of police officer A.D.

The incident occurred on the second floor of a 4 floored apartment in the Alsancak Neighbourhood today around at 06:30. Hande Şeker and second-hand phone seller A.T.K. who is reported to have gone to her house in order to have sex with her for money had a quarrel. According to the claims, police officer A.D. (23), who was allegedly outside of the building and on his off day, entered into the house as thinking that the trans people were attacking to his friend A.T.K., then he pulled out his gun and shot up one after another. 2 bullets hit Hande Şeker; her friend Y.A. who is a trans woman too and A.T.K. were wounded.

Taking this news article into consideration, the press working outside of the mainstream media still haven’t internalised the practice of writing trans-friendly news and haven’t thought about it enough. Nil who was wounded in the same incident, was only presented as Nil in the news article of Kaos GL; however, at several different sources, her name in her Identity card was stated fully or partially; or initials were used by some other sources. The point which led us to think about the lack of the practice is that even a newspaper such as Evrensel which is usually attentive to this point and usually cites news from Kaos already used the initials of Nil’s name from the identity card after presenting her as Nil first. The reason for it is probably because some of the journalists are attentive about it while the others are extremely careless when benefiting from different sources. For instance, Gazete Duvar and Gazete Karınca mentioned Nil with the initials of her name from her identity card, while Birgün did a good job and chose to mention about her as N with the first letter of her name, not her name from the identity card.

Hürriyet

News from Konak: Police officer killed a trans person and wounded 2 people in İzmir

Police officer killed a trans person and wounded 2 people in İzmir

Halil İbrahim KARABIYIK-Davut CAN/İZMİR, (DHA)- The quarrel occurred at an apartment in Konak District of İZMİR, trans person died and 2 people were wounded by the bullets from the gun of police officer A.D.

The incident occurred on the second floor of a 4 floored apartment in Alsancak Neighbourhood, 1468 Street today around at 06:30. The trans person who uses the code name of “Hande Şeker” and second-hand phone seller A.T.K. who claimed to have gone to her house in order to have sex with her for money had a quarrel. Meanwhile, police officer A.D. (23) who is reported to have been outside of the building and on his off day.

Milliyet

09.01.2019

Horror in İzmir during the early hours of the day!

Shot by the gun, Hande is dead and 2 people are wounded

After the quarrel at an apartment in the Alsancak Neighbourhood of the Konak District in İzmir, Hande Şeker died and 2 people were wounded, after being shot with a gun by police officer A.D. who was not on duty, according to claims.

The incident occurred on the second floor of a 4 floored building in Alsancak today around 06.30. The transvestite who uses the code name of “Hande Şeker” had a quarrel with A.T.K. who allegedly went to her house in order to have sex with her.

Using the word transvestite, which was an indispensable part of presenting this news until quite recently and has only slightly diminished (I say “slightly” because it appears that news articles are often written as if we are still the 90s, depending on the channel and journalist), is heavily connected with the tradition of writing “transvestite terror” in the history of Turkish media. By typing “transvestite horror” in your search engine, you can view the language of the current news articles; the same language in these articles continues appearing with the word “horror” which is a replacement for the word “terror”. The media’s intention to omit the womanhood of the trans women from the news articles is highly rooted in this sense. On the other hand, using “trans person” as a tool to “sterilise” Hande Şeker and all trans women from their womanhood is the new method of the trans-misogynistic news language.

Since we are threatened with death and forced to accept having malaria, some people expect us to see that choosing the words “trans person” instead of “transvestite” is an improvement. However, these people are women. Moreover, they are women who are subjected to the violence of men and were murdered by men. These news articles are not about different identities which are outside of the binary gender system, nor about trans men. They are specifically about the trans women killings. But the journalists or editors are clearly not willing to write the word “woman” and they grab the word “person” which is apparently perceived as more hygienic and neutral by them. For those who are more or less aware of the wrong in the subtle meaning of the word “transvestite” but are not willing to present trans women as women, “trans person” is a new lifesaver. Have you ever read something like “cis person” in a news article? If you read this, is it possible to understand the gender of that person? However, just like all other femicides, Hande Şeker’s killing is connected with her gender which news articles deliberately tried to separated from the case.

Mitch Kellaway, a trans male editor researched the trans killings presented in the news mostly in USA and Brazil in 2015 and realized that the ratio of trans female victims to the number of trans male victims is approximately 200 to 1. Despite the fact that there isn’t any similar research for Turkey, it is possible to see from the news and in real life that trans women, especially those who work as a sex worker, are so vulnerable to violence.

Trans killings are a serious gender-based topic; moreover, eliminating their gender in the news articles about trans women killings is not only causing a will-breaking intervention to their existence but also objectifying them and pushing them to a distance where readers are unable to sympathise, by vanishing their identity. Additionally, eliminating femaleness from the readers’ eyes by using the name at the identity card many times is the news’ tactic to make the readers see the case in the shoes of the culprits of violence and therefore to cause an empathy towards these culprits. So, when writing these news articles, it is important to emphasise that victims and killings should not be eliminated from their gender, trans-misogynistic acts should not be separated from the picture, and many power dynamics among genders, which enable each of them to live, are important.

*Translator’s note: Hande Şeker was working as a sex worker. Read more about her in this Pembe Hayat article.

Illustration by Yayoi Kusama

“Homosexuality is not a crime, no one can be accused of being homosexual”

Source: “Homosexuality is not a crime, no one can be accused of being homosexual” (Aslı Alpar, “Eşcinsellik suç değil, kişi eşcinsellikle suçlanamaz”) KaosGL, 30 January 2019 http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=27480

Why has the newspaper Hürriyet published an article including discriminatory language? An article entitled “Breaking news regarding the decision in the case of the garbage truck driver who has been accused of having a homosexual relationship” is misleading and sensational.

Today, the newspaper Hürriyet has published a news item under the headline “Breaking News Regarding The Decision In The Case Of the Garbage Truck Driver Who Has Been Accused of Having A Homosexual Relationship”.

This news piece, signed by Dinçer Gökçe, announces the result of the reemployment lawsuit that the garbage truck driver R.S. filed against the Kağıthane Municipality because the Municipality fired him without paying any severance pay due to a “homosexual relationship”, which was also reported by the newspaper Hürriyet in July.

The news announces that the 34th Labour Court of İstanbul  enforced the re-employment of R.S. whom Kağıthane Municipality fired without paying any severance pay due to a “homosexual relationship”. The news was presented with a blurred picture of a garbage truck and two men standing side by side. The news does not mention that the workers the legal right-to-work was violated or that it cannot be a concern for Kağıthane Municipality if they were accused of having “homosexual relationship” out of working hours.

The newspaper first published the news relating to Kağıthane Municipality’s violation to the right of privacy and the right to work of the labourers, with the headline “the homosexual relationship of the garbage truck drivers caused trouble in the Municipality”

Lawyer Kerem Dikmen: “Since homosexuality is not a crime, no one can be accused of homosexuality”

Kaos GL Association Legal Coordinator Lawyer Kerem Dikmen assessed the Hürriyet news story for KaosGL.org. Lawyer Dikmen notes that the statement as “accused of homosexuality” which is stated at the headline of the news is wrong:

“Crime is a definition used for actions for which the Criminal Code requires enforcement. Therefore, there cannot be a case where a person is accused of homosexuality, because homosexuality which is a sexual orientation is not a crime. Of course, Hürriyet reporters know it is not a crime; however, you can clearly see the homophobic attitude here.

“Scandal” is a violation to the right of privacy and the right to work!

Is the decision really “breaking news”?

Lawyer Dikmen interprets the statement of “Breaking News Regarding The Decision” as:

“When ‘breaking news regarding the decision’ is stated, you think of a situation which is not expected, should not be expected after the court’s judgment and for this reason is shocking. If a person is fired because of his/her sexual orientation, the breaking news is the decision on not being re-employed; it is not the decision on being re-employed. The fact that a homosexual person works in a workplace and a judicial intervention prevents him/her being fired while working are clearly being pushed out of the realm of the ordinary here and it is implied that the ordinary situation is that a homosexual person does not work in a workplace or the court does not decide on reemployment after s/he is fired. Moreover, the statement as ‘a claim of homosexual relationship of 4 people’ develops the perception of homosexuality as a crime.”

Red Umbrella Sexual Health and Human Rights Association’s Statement on December 17, International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers

48363671_924137514458718_5121403679030640640_n (1)

“Sex workers living in Turkey continue to have their rights violated.Sex workers are a target of multiple discrimination due to the intersection of their work and gender identity. Othering, stigmatization, marginalization and the violence and discrimination that come about with these attitudes prevent sex workers from leading a life as equal citizens. Added to rights violations, are poverty, patriarchy, heterosexism, whorephobia and similar factors. As such, sex workers become the primary target of “hate operations” supported by the state and social rage.

There are many studies which demonstrate the degree of discrimination and hate against sex workers. The fact stated by all of these studies is that sex workers living in Turkey are in constant threat from hate motivated criminal acts. Hate speech and hate crimes against sex workers are isolating them in all realms of life and push them into a vicious cycle which takes away their right to live.

Law enforcers target sex workers due to the legislation and practices that “regulate” sex work which in turn pushes them into working in insecure areas, being victims of organized crime and poverty. Sex workers are forced to work amidst all sorts of insecurity while also being deprived of access to justice. Violence and discrimination motivated by hate, target sex workers on a daily basis and marginalize them. Marginalization brings suicides and murders.

With love and respect, we commemorate every sex worker whose voice was unheard, who had to struggle against all kinds of violence and who were taken from us by murderers.

VIOLENCE AGAINST SEX WORKERS IS A CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY!”

Source: https://www.facebook.com/KirmiziSemsiyeCinselSaglikVeInsanHaklariDernegi/photos/a.144136365792174/924137507792052/?type=3&theater

December 1 World AIDS Day Events in Turkey

gazete-ilanlari1-aralik

 

The LGBTI+ Community in Turkey marks World AIDS Day 2018 with engaging activities . Despite the restraining political environment in Turkey, LGBTI+ activism has been growing stronger and one field where it has consolidated its efforts is in raising awareness on testing for HIV and focus on the lives of HIV+ individuals. In this article, we introduce organizations working for HIV awareness and events that will mark the day this year.

 

Pozitifiz (We are Positive) is a non-governmental organization that approaches the HIV issue from a human rights perspective, seeking to increase access to better healthcare for HIV+ individuals and abolish prejudices against them and their families to provide better living conditions. Most of the founders are HIV+ individuals who have been active in the field for many years.

 

Red Ribbon Istanbul is another civil society organization which strives to expand the channels of information for HIV awareness. They aim to “communicate scientifically-grounded HIV-related information to all parts of society, using clear and easy-to-understand language.”  Red Ribbon Istanbul also works to foster collaboration of private sector, civil society and state actors in order to increase opportunities for safe and anonymous testing, diagnosis and treatment.

 

Red Ribbon Istanbul and Pozitifiz joined forces for their #hivcokdegisti campaign, which says “HIV has changed, have we?”. The campaign circulates statements aiming to rid the public sphere from prejudices about HIV+ individuals and HIV+ living, reminding all of us that “HIV is not only a matter for those who live with HIV, but also for everybody else”. You can read their joint statement for World AIDS Day 2018 on this link.

 

This year, Pozitifiz also participated in the meeting for GSK (GlaxoSmithKline)’s World AIDS Day 2018 Campaign , titled “Kendin İçin 1 Aralık” (December 1 For Yourself) which introduces the stories of HIV+ individuals through their own narratives, inviting everyone to share their own support messages with the #dokun (#touch) hashtag, in an effort to overcome the barriers of fear and prejudice. The campaign also urges everyone to get an HIV test and to learn more about AIDS.

 

Hevi LGBTI Association and Boysan’ın Evi (Boysan’s House) marks the day with a panel titled “HIV/AIDS and Isolation on the basis of gender: Women Tell Their Stories”. The panel is to take place on December 2, 17:00-19:00 at Boysan’s House with the participation of panelists Çiğdem Şimşek and Müzeyyen Araç. Hevi LGBTI has also published multilingual pamhplets and is organizing two more panels on December 1, titled “HIV through Letters” and “AIDS in Turkey- Recent Medical Methods and Studies”.

 

Dramaqueer Art Collective which has recently opened its art base in Tarlabaşı will host a talk titled “M.Paniği” (“M. Panic”) on the first known and sensationalized AIDS case in Turkey. Murteza Elgin, a successful vocalist and manager, became the target of a media circus, finding out about his own HIV+ condition through the very news that stigmatized him. Serdar Soydan will introduce M’s story and the struggle against fear and prejudice in this talk.

 

On World AIDS Day 2018 there will also be an exhibition opening at Operation Room at American Hospital, titled “Positive Space”. The exhibition invitation states that it “opens discussions about themes, directly related to HIV/AIDS, such as visibility and stigma, victimhood and guilt, pleasure and disease as well as subjective bodies recording, separating, accepting and rejecting, infecting and spreading in opposition to ideological and medical bodies. Even though the exhibition affirms ‘positivity,’ it reserves the right to see AIDS as a metaphor. The unrepressed HIV does not destroy the cell, it attacks and emaciates it, just like masculine domination or bio-power practices do. “Positive Space” looks for new contamination technologies against these practices.” Read more about it in this link.

 

To make the World AIDS Day more visible, Kaos GL and Pozitifiz Association has published ads on two dailies (Evrensel and Birgün) with Aslı Alpar’s illustrations with the title “End Stigmatization and Discrimination”.

 

Kaos GL’s Social Services Studies Group has published a statement on World AIDS Day 2018 drawing attention to the discrimination HIV+ individuals face. Here is the statement:

 

“We are disappointed to see that discourses on December 1 World AIDS Day solely focus on the increase in the number of individuals living with HIV. We believe that it is not possible to ignore the discrimination that people living with HIV experience in many realms of life. This discrimination not only affects the psychosocial wellbeing of people living with HIV negatively, but also prevents people living with HIV from accessing social services efficiently. People living with HIV have equal rights with everyone else, from the right to healthcare to the right to work, from the right to education to the right to accomodation.

 

As the Kaos GL Social Services Studies Group we fight for the people with HIV’s access to their rights and we will continue our fight. We are conscious of the responsibility and duty that social services experts and other professionals working in the field of psychological healthcare bear.

 

HIV can be controlled. What matters is that hatred, discrimination and pressure against people living with HIV is controlled.

 

Happy December 1 World AIDS Day!”

 

Illustration: Aslı Alpar

 

LGBTI individuals in German and Turkish tabloid press: Queer Invisibilities

The book Queer Invisibilities investigates LGBTI representation in the Turkish Hurriyet and German Bild newspapers. Yener Bayramoglu’s study brings a fresh perspective to queer historiography/history writing and archiving.

Source: “Almanya ve Türkiye bulvar basınında LGBTİ’ler: Kuir Görünmezlikler,” Kaos GL, 9 May 2018, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=25774

The book titled Queere (Un-)Sichtbarkeiten (Queer Invisibilities), analyzes LGBTI representation in Hurriyet and Bild newspapers has been published with the help of the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung. The study by Yener Bayramoglu, a researcher living in Berlin, investigated LGBTI and queer representation in German and Turkish media. The book has been published in German. A Turkish translation is unavailable as of yet.

“As is the case in many areas, queer historiography also takes its foundation in the experiences of white males. The historic processes that closely affect Western white gay males are granted universality. In this framework, in almost all corners of the world, all queer subcultures are assumed to pass through similar historic milestones.”

Introduction to the Book

Tabloids under scrutiny

Queer Invisibilities proposes an alternative historiography. It takes at its center events that are rendered invisible in typical history writing. It uses tabloids as a basis, which are generally left out of queer theory.

Rather than ignoring the misrepresentations, invisibilities, and hate speech in tabloids, Queer Invisibilities proposes accepting these as a part of queer history. The book argues that history writing cannot be solely based on stories of heroism, success, progress, and advancement. Especially on the subject of queer history, it shows that the archives are largely full of sad, shameful, and wrong representations.

What does tabloid journalism do?

Another thesis put forward by Queer Invisibilities is that the tabloid press, in trying to scandalize queer individuals, in fact paves the way for the queerification of mainstream culture. Actually, it is thanks to tabloid journalism that queer representations, which did not exist in mainstream culture before, become a part of it. [The tabloids’] queer representations, which were wrought to scandalize, marginalize, and hide, were granted more visibility in the process.

Comparing Turkey and Germany

Another novel idea presented to queer theory by the book is the comparison between Turkish  and German print news. Due to the comparative analysis between the Hurriyet and Bild newspapers’ representations, different milestones, different stories, and different temporalities are made visible. This shows that a single, universal LGBT history cannot exist. In this respect, Queer Invisibilities puts forward the idea that the typical West – East opposition loses its meaning.

According to this study, while the Hurriyet archive is full of various rich queer representations, the German Bild newspaper is generally full of misrepresentations, deformed voices, and significant historic gaps arising from queer invisibility.

After “Perversion” flyers in Ankara, “Revolting” flyers in Izmir were distributed

After flyers that said, “Homosexuality is perversion” were distributed in residential mailboxes in Esat, Ankara today (July 20), flyers that said “Homosexuality is revolting and could be reversed by means of persuasion” were distributed to people living in Kordon, Izmir.

Source: “After “Perversion” flyers in Ankara, “Revolting” flyers in Izmir were distributed”, (Ankara’da “Sapkınlıktır” Bildirisinden Sonra İzmir’de “İğrençliktir” Bildirileri Dağıtıldı), pembehayat.org, July 20, 2018, http://www.pembehayat.org/haberler.php?id=1844

Flyers that said, “No to homosexuality and homosexual organizations” were distributed today in Esat, Ankara. These flyers proliferate hate speech, refer to homosexuals as “sexual perverts” and claim that they are supported by the “British deep state.”

Flyers that said, “Homosexuality could be reversed by means of persuasion; it is immoral and revolting” were distributed to people sitting on grass at a park in Alsancak, Izmir. The flyers state that youths should not fall into this trap, [and] protect their moral values and live an “honorable” life. They claim this under the guise of “human rights” and continue with “We want Kemalist young men who protect their country and people, not young men who put on make-up and have a soft spoken voice.”

“These people are detached from love.”

One person who saw these flyers being distributed spoke with Pembe Hayat:

“I do not understand how people can think that homosexuality can be reversed by ‘persuasion’ in 2018 when the DSM* removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders many years ago. It is obvious to me that these people are detached from scientific knowledge and love. When there is such good progress being made regarding LGBTI+ people; when marriage is becoming legalized around the world, homosexuals in Turkey are still being targeted with homophobic attitudes through these kinds of leaflets. How long will LGBTI+ people have to hide their love? How long are they going to be subjected to hate speech and to stares of disgust when they walk hand in hand? Nobody can decide for anybody who they should love. The rainbow will always exist.”

*DSM: the abbreviation for American Psychological Association’s “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders.” The American Psychological Association removed homosexuality from the list of mental disorders in 1973.