LGBTI Activism

LGBTI rights movement in Turkey

Queer Olympix 2019 Banned by Kadıköy District Governorship

 

Queer Olympix 2019 was cancelled after the Kadıköy District Governorship banned the event. The organizers were given notice by the police, which arrived to Kalamış beach with a water cannon, according to KaosGL. The police told the organizers that they “should have notified the authorities” prior to the event. KaosGL asked Lawyer Hayriye Kara her opinions, who said : “There is no law article that requires such notification for sports events. Delivering such a notice on a Saturday morning deprives the organizers of the right to appeal against the ban, as the courts are closed on the weekend.”

Queer Olympix has published this message on social media shortly after the ban:

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Later in the day, Queer Olympix participants published a video. The full text of the video in English is as following:

We learned that if we do ‘long jump’, it threatens public health, public order, and public morality. If we jump too long and too far, if we insist on being in the areas where we are not welcomed, we can overcome heterosexism, god forbid!

The event Queer Olympix that we planned to organize for the third time has been banned by Kadıköy district governorate. We were informed about that when we arrived at the event area this morning (24 August Saturday). The preparation crew of 20 people in Kalamış was informed of the ban by riot control vehicles and riot police, the participants were followed until their homes, the decision was issued in the last minute while it would be done anytime throughout the year. All of these demonstrates one thing: These bans aim to function to oppress us not only physically but also psychologically, to ignore our voluntary effort, and to reject our existence. As Queer Olympix team and participants, we are aware of these aims and we want to inform everyone that we will continue defending our existence and visibility in the sports spaces against all these preventions. 

During the last two years, in Heybeliada and Kalamış, we organized this event with no problem together with many LGBTI+ and women participants from different cities and countries. The fact that such an event was banned in the last minute for the purposes of “protection of public health, public order, and public morality and prevention of crime” is a blatant example of intolerance towards us ‘even only when’ we want to do sports in public spaces. 

As women and LGBTI+ people, we care about being together while our living spaces were being limited, our fundamental rights -especially our right to live- are being violated. We are sad and angry about the fact that our event, which we made a great effort to realize throughout the year, was banned by a district governorate decision. Even though they banned our event, we know that the existence of LGBTI+ people and women in sports spaces anywhere in Turkey cannot be banned. Despite the arbitrary bans under cover of security, we are in the streets, in the schools, in the fields, and in the workspaces against binary system and heterosexism.

We said that “we will run if we cannot walk” to emphasize the importance of Queer Olympix after the prevention of Istanbul Pride March in 2015. Now it is obvious that what is prevented is not that we run or do race walking, we play football or volleyball, we do relay race or long jump, but that we insist on existing in public space as who we are. 

We cannot understand how sports can be banned on the grounds of public health; our understanding of public health includes securing our rights to live, providing equal opportunities to everyone to maintain their lives in a healthy way, and prevention of discriminating health practices which risk the lives of LGBTI+ people.

Instead of using the state resources to prevent the football games of LGBTI+ people, we invite the state to use their resources to prevent women killings and hate crimes. LGBTI+ people will continue existing in the fields as they exist in the fields.


Queer Olympix Organization Team and Participants:
-Atletik Dildoa
-Lolitop
-Muamma
-Olympikhalkedon
-Q-Bitches
-Queerpool
-Queer League Armenia
-Sportif Lezbon
-Queer Olympix Karması”

“We want Buse to live!”

The campaign to publicise the rights violations to which trans woman prisoner Buse is subjected has begun today with a press release at the Human Rights Association.

Source: “We want Buse to live!” (“Buse yaşasın istiyoruz!”), Kaos GL, https://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=28653&fbclid=IwAR05N640a22qEdstEfQlg_J8trmD4H7MSo6N01Uj3-6wIb0budISSzE5HN4, August 21, 2019

The campaign to publicise the rights violations to which trans woman prisoner Buse, who is currently kept in Tekirdağ F-type Men’s Prison no.2, is subjected has begun today (August 21) with a press release at the Human Rights Association.

Prior to the press release, Buse’s lawyer Eren Keskin stated that Buse harmed herself as a result of the violations of her rights in prison and she is currently in the Rehabilitation Center of Metris Prison.

After reminding [us] during the press release that Buse had been on hunger strike several times, struggling to initiate her gender affirmation process, it was stated: “The extent of this systematic torture became so unbearable for her that, on 27 July 2019, Buse performed an action by cutting off her genitals as a reaction to the Ministry of Justice’s arbitrary usurping of her right; her action was to escape from the prison that is her body and to prevent the surgical process from being interrupted and herself from being dragged to death. She was taken to the hospital.”

At the release, it was reminded that Buse needs to be saved from the prison of her body and she needs solidarity and power to do so: “We call on all LGBTI+s and those who are against LGBTI+ phobia to support the solidarity network we will establish.”

“We see that Buse’s body nor her psychology has now no power to withstand this torture.”

The full text of the press release is as follows:

“We, as Buse’s friends, know that this discriminatory process that Buse has been subjected to and has been fighting against for over 6 years is not the first example of the violence that trans women are exposed to both in prisons and in social life. It is necessary to see that this process, which has been extended by the Ministry of Justice for months, is the result of the whole policy of violence against trans women who are kept in isolation claiming security reasons, while [it is] their security [that] needs to be ensured. It is necessary to raise a voice against this cycle of violence. Transphobia and isolating conditions in prisons threaten and harm the psychological and physical integrity of trans people.”

“Last year Diren Coşkun and this year Esra Arıkan had to take various actions to make their voices heard because of the discrimination, violence and torture they were subjected to in prisons. Buse has been subjected to multiple discrimination, too, every moment she has spent in prison, and she has had to start hunger strikes during the 6 years she has fought for her right to start the gender affirmation process. Unfortunately, it is not difficult to guess that many trans people, neither whose names nor living conditions are known, have been subjected to various discrimination.”

“Buse has been in prison for 24 years. We want Buse to live. We see that neither Buse’s body nor her psychology now has power to withstand this torture that Buse has been fighting against for many years. The extent of this systematic torture became so unbearable for her that, on 27 July 2019, Buse performed an action by cutting off her genitals as a reaction to the Ministry of Justice’s arbitrary decision usurp her right; her action was to escape from the prison that is her body and to prevent the surgical process from being interrupted and herself from being dragged to death. She was taken to the hospital. She is better now and has been referred to Metris Prison.”

“Buse needs to be saved from the prison of her body so that she can live and she needs solidarity and power to do so. We call on all LGBTI+s and those who are against LGBTI+ phobia to support the solidarity network we will establish.”

“Buse is not the first to face these hardships; we will continue our fight to prevent trans women from being subjected to discrimination and ill-treatment in prisons. We ask you to spread this call to make the public aware of Buse and other trans prisoners.”

“You can follow the recent news via Twitter account @buseyasasin and the hashtag #BuseYaşasın (#LetBuseLive).

Akit continues its attempts at defaming LGBTI+ achievements

LGBTI+ rights advocates continue their battles at court for the recognition of their right to gender transition procedures. As Emirhan Çelebi wrote in his recent article on his battle against Cerrahpaşa Training Hospital’s unlawful practices. In court Çelebi challenged the arbitrary denial of hysterectomy and oophorectomy surgeries to trans men. Çelebi and his attorneys won the case against the hospital, after the hospital administration’s appeal to Council of State.

This pursuit of justice seems to have upset the extreme rightwing daily Akit, who have repeatedly targeted LGBTI+ activists, with troubling examples of hate speech. Trans individuals in Turkey have the right to gender affirmation surgeries and are indeed forced to do so in order to have their gender recognized in their ID cards. Such mandatory surgery is in itself a violation of the rights of trans individuals, another realm of struggle for trans activists. The legal battle in this case was to ensure that the hospital follows the law.  Yet, Akit’s slur-ridden news article attempts to turn this struggle on its head, suggesting that this achievement is a travesty of justice, that the hospital’s “righteous” appeal was “tripped up” by the Council of State.

While the article lumps all LGBTI+ individuals under the all too familiar label “pervert”, it is completely in denial of any reality, as it announces that the trans individuals now have the right to get their surgeries done in any hospital of their choosing. The reality is that the trans individuals already have the right (and indeed, the obligation) to have a gender affirmation surgery in certain training hospitals. This is by no means an example of the lack of information, it is a further attempt to alarm the “public” and to mobilize transphobia (and homophobia, due to confusion of terms in the article) against the LGBTI+ rights advocates exercising their rights as citizens. 

Akit and other transphobic media outlets might be in denial, but the truth is trans citizens exist, out or not they are everywhere, they are not going anywhere and will continue the battle for their fundamental rights. We once more wholeheartedly celebrate Çelebi and all the achievements of trans individuals which remain unknown to us, in their battle for survival and for a decent life. 

 

Note: We choose to spare our readers the triggering affects of the hate speech, and we paraphrase its main points instead of translating the article in its original language. However, you can follow this link if you wish to read our translation of the article. Please be aware that it involves violent and offensive language.

A Review of Pride Across Turkey: Defiance and Resilience

The horizon looks bright in some regions of Turkey for future LGBTI+ Pride weeks and marches. New opportunities have emerged for Turkish LGBTI+ rights associations and activists to gain concessions from the police and the judiciary. This year’s pride events highlighted the strength, capacity and resilience of rights defenders, even in a hostile political environment. 

LGBTI+ Pride weeks took place across Turkey, despite state repression and bans on public gatherings. From Istanbul to Mersin, LGBTI+ rights organisations and individual activists marked Pride across the country with defiance in celebration of their identities. Chants echoed across the country with the cries, “we are here, we are queer” and “where are you my love? / I am here my love”.

In many cities across Turkey activists and lawyers were able to win concessions from the police and judiciary making some of this year’s pride events the largest in years. However, in Gaziantep, a city in southeastern Turkey, no improvements were seen in recent years for LGBTI+ rights activists and the situation has even deteriorated since the official lifting of the State of Emergency.

In this article we will look at many of the Pride celebrations across Turkey, reporting the challenges as well as the successes of this year. Looking at the accomplishments of activists can open up new opportunities for Prides in the future. 

Istanbul

The theme of this year’s Pride, EKONOMİ NE AYOL? (‘Economy? What’s that?’), focused on rising inflation in Turkey and the vulnerable position of LGBTI+ individuals in an economic crisis.

Between June 24-30 art exhibitions, picnics, film screenings, workshops and parties took place in 29 venues across the city. The variety of events set an inclusive atmosphere for people of all identities, with an emphasis on inclusion and peace building. 

Early in the week Istanbul Pride Week Committee met with the Governor, who declined their request to hold Pride Walk in Taksim and stated that the LGBTI+ community was regarded as a “socially dubious group”. The Governor also declined a petition to have the Pride march celebrated in Bakırköy, another part of the city designated for demonstrations but less politically symbolic than Taksim.

On Sunday, June 30 without state permission, people were to meet in Taksim for the Pride Walk. Heavy police presence around Taksim and along Istiklal Avenue prevented people meeting on Taksim Square. However, the police consented to negotiate with some of the organisers, allowing the Pride to take place until 17:30 on Mis Sokak, a street near Taksim famous for its LGBTI+ friendly bars. A press statement was read there to sounds of hundreds of people cheering. One quote from the press statement was,

“We do not give up our lives, our solidarity, nor our organized struggle! We are here, get used to it, we are not going.”

At almost exactly 17:30 the police marched down Mis Sokak spraying the few people who remained with tear gas, rubber bullets and chasing them with dogs. A bar on Mis Sokak where people were continuing to celebrate was also sprayed with tear gas. Before the police attack, people were able to meet in security for over an hour. The police did not use water cannons as they had in previous years and some people taking part in the celebrations described the police as more restrained than in previous years. 

As the Pride march was chased from Mis Sokak activists kept meeting in various neighborhoods of the central district of Beyoğlu, reading press statements and celebrating before eventually being dispersed again by the police. The defiance of the continual celebrations was in line with  the message of Pride: we are here, we are everywhere.

Metehan Ozkan from LISTAG, an association which works with the parents of LGBTI+ individuals described this year’s Pride: “We had parents from Ankara, Izmir and Antalya parents groups, we had new members who had a chance to experience Pride for the first time with their children. Though the Pride was ‘limited’ it was very emotional for them.”

Mustafa Sarıyılmaz from SPoD, an Istanbul-based association focusing on social and psychological support for LGBTI+ individuals, said:

“Police was less brutal than last year. I might easily comment that what we had this year was a small gathering that we all missed and longed for a very long time. And, we now have our hope that we might be able to have our parade back in two year’s time. Because, these are all the signs that the movement in Turkey is getting stronger day by day. We have developed a huge solidarity between us now, which wasn’t the case before.”

That night two parties closed the Istanbul Pride, one was put on by Gzone Mag magazine involving trans and drag performers, the other event was hosted by local LGBTI+ DJs. 

During the Istanbul Pride, six people were detained by police.

SECKER_Bradley-Pride 2019-Istanbul-Turkey-1.jpg

Ankara

An indefinite blanket ban against all LGBTI+ events was declared in the capital Ankara under the state of emergency on November 2017. Kaos GL made an appeal which the 12th Administrative Court used to re-examine the ban and ruled that the city governor did not have the legal power to issue bans of that kind. Although the ban was officially lifted, in practice it continued to be in effect.

On May 10, students at the Middle Eastern Technical University staged a Pride celebration despite the rectorate forbidding it. The celebrations were also dispersed by the police using tear gas and rubber bullets. Twenty-five people were detained including an academic working at the university. In reaction students released a press statement calling for “a ban on the bans”. A party was also held afterwards by the students involving drag performances, with the names of those arrested read aloud and applauded.

Some of these arrested students have subsequently had their student loans and assistance revoked on the recommendation of the Security Directorate to the Credits and Dorms Authority. 

Izmir

The 7th İzmir Pride Week planned for June 17-23 was banned on June 14 by the Governorship of Izmir. However, an appeal by the association Genç LGBTİ+ (LGBTI+ Youth) repealed the ban allowing many of the planned events to take place. In the decision to prevent a ban on some of the Pride activities, one judge voted in favor of enforcing the ban and two votes were for the bans repeal. One of those two votes repealing the ban, commented that this decision should be applied to all Pride activities in İzmir.

However, the ban was not fully lifted for the Pride march nor for two events entitled “Bondage Workshop” and “Sex Toy Workshop”. Activists persisted in marching and negotiated with the police, winning the concession to read a press statement on Kıbrıs Şehitleri Avenue in the center of Izmir. However, after the press statement 17 activists were detained. 

Gaziantep 

In Gaziantep  a blanket ban for 20 days on LGBTI+ events prevented Pride events from taking place. During Pride week activists were prevented from putting up a Pride rainbow flag in Çınarlı Park and police prevented activists reading a press statement at Yeşilsu Square. Instead, the Human Rights Association, IHD (Insan Hakları Derneği) hosted a Pride event to read the Pride’s press release:

“As long as you view our existence as a threat, we continue to say, ‘Every step of ours is a Pride March.’

“If it is your tradition to declare those who strive for an honorable and just life immoral and terrorists to cover up your “sins,” it is our tradition to not stop speaking, not stop and not obey.

“We know that what fuels your aggression is our power. We know in our struggle since the 1980s that you are trying to exploit the beauty of our togetherness.”

ZeugMadi Lgbt, an Antep based LGBTI+ Rights association told LGBTI+ News Turkey that for them there was no improvement in how Prides were experienced in previous years. 

“In fact, the State of Emergency is still not over in Turkey. As LGBTI+ individuals we are still under martial law. Both socially and by the law. Harassment, incidents of rape, sexism, homophobia, transphobic rhetorics have all increased after the formal ending of the State of Emergency.”

Mersin

Despite a blanket ban on LGBTI+ events put into effect on June 25, the Mersin Pride still took place. Activists met in workshops and marched in small group unveiling Trans and LGBTI+ Pride flags in a few select spots across the city. Again, the defiance and determination of activists meant that few a short time in different parts of the city, LGBTI+ individuals were more visible. 

Municipalities’ Official Support

From across Turkey, municipalities controlled by the main opposition party, CHP sent out greetings and support to Pride over social media. This occurred in the past but a larger number of municipalities sent out posts  this year. 

On this topic Mustafa Sarıyılmaz from SPoD reported to LGBTI+ News Turkey that 

“Thirty-five municipalities around the country celebrated Pride over Twitter, it seems the visibility of queer community in Turkey has grown, in a positive way. Well, on the other hand, …. the director of religious affairs made all imams around Turkey curse LGBTI+’s in Friday prayers. Yet, we’re hopeful.”

 

Words by George Winter

Photos by Bradley Secker in the İstanbul Pride 

29/07/2019 Correction: The article had previously stated that a Pride after party was put on by GQ magazine, this was incorrect. Gzone Mag put the party on.

Alan Savunması: A voice for women and the LGBTI+ community in sports 

In recent years, women’s and LGBTI+ initiatives in Turkey have been actively seeking to eradicate sexist and heteronormative violence from the realm of sports. From chants inciting rape to sexist coverage of sports news, the spectacle of sports and sports journalism have been tainted with violence. Many remain unaware of the fact that LGBTI+ and female athletes exist and compete in all branches of sports, in both national and amateur teams. Alan Savunması* is a new online platform publishing news focusing on LGBTI+ and female athletes, their negative experiences and their accomplishments. Zeynep Serinkaya from LGBTI+ News Turkey interviewed Ali from Alan Savunması on their work. We would like to remind our readers that for now Alan Savunması is only in Turkish. 

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How did you come up with the idea of Alan Savunması? Can you introduce the crew?

Alan Savunması had been in our minds for a long while. When we witnessed the inequalities experienced by a few female soccer player friends of ours and their efforts in the field, we decided that we did not want to remain indifferent to it all. These inequalities are not only the problem of the women we know. There is worldwide discrimination, which just happens to be felt more intensely in Turkey.

When we started following sports with female players, especially women’s soccer we observed that there are many LGBTI+ athletes struggling to play. I’m saying “struggling” because hegemonic masculinity and homophobia impose themselves on every realm.

While we were still enraged by what the female athletes were going through, we listened to the story of several LGBTI+ athletes’ experiences of harassment, ostracization and verbal insults on the brink of physical violence. This led us to take action. 

Bearing in mind that people are not aware of these experiences or choose to remain silent, we decided that first we needed to render these experiences visible. As we are currently continuing our undergraduate studies and have no regular income, we focused on ideas that we can realize with minimum cost and maximum effort. (Only for now!)

To that end, it was best to establish a news platform: We are journalism students so we believe we have the capacity and we think it can be really beneficial to make these inequalities be known to get people to take action. 

We are a crew of two at Alan Savunması for now. I am (Ali Safa Korkut) 23 years old and currently enrolled at Uşak University as a senior year journalism student. I live in Diyarbakır. My friend Özdemir Atuğ is a classmate of the same age, living in Aksaray. 

I am the editor and reporter for the website, Özdemir manages our social media accounts and technical maintenance. 

 How is the relationship of Alan Savunması crew with sports? What are the sports you are interested in, do you play in any teams?

We are both deeply interested in sports. I played amateur soccer for four years but I am also interested in basketball and swimming. Aside from these, I try to follow tennis, volleyball and athletics. 

As a crew, we try to follow all branches of sports, not just the ones we know. We spend every day involving ourselves in sports. 

The number of initiatives which use sports to stand against gender inequality and discrimination is increasing in Turkey. Karşı Lig, Queer Olympix, Kızlar Sahada are a few examples. How do you think one can support the individual and institutional work of activists and LGBTI+ communities seeking to alleviate the challenges of inequality in sports?

As I mentioned before, I believe visibility is the first step: We need to contribute to the visibility of both the achievements and negative experiences of female and LGBTI+ athletes, as well as the visibility of the initiatives and activists seeking to support their visibility. There are human rights activists who are into sports in their private lives yet have no idea about the victimization or the existence of female and LGBTI+ athletes. Their lack of awareness is not their fault, the media outlets have no coverage of LGBTI+ athletes and activists in their newsfeeds at all. 

By covering organizations like Karşı Lig, Queer Olympix and Kızlar Sahada in detail through the media, it is possible to create awareness. This duty falls on the shoulders of alternative media. As the mainstream media follows hegemonic masculinity and has no respect for the diversity of sexual orientation, it refutes the existence of diverse identities and leaves no space in their news cycles. Alternative media should do its share at this point and include female and LGBT+ athletes as well as the  LGBTI+ activists working to contribute to their visibility in their content. 

As for future steps to be taken, it would be useful to organize symposiums, panels, conferences with larger crowds involving sports clubs, athletes and supporters, in order to guide them towards valuing female and LGBTI+ athletes more.

Sports is perhaps the realm where corporeal and gender norms impose themselves most violently. How do you think the relationship between sports and gender-sexual orientation based discrimination can be changed?

Discrimination begins in the language. Sexist discourses are the greatest indicator of this fact. This is also the case with sports. We see that supporters of any sports use sexist discourses when they want to say something against their opponents before, during or after the game. The supporters are in a mindset that regards being a woman or being LGBTI+ as an abhorrent thing. They use ugly insults against the opponents by alluding to the qualities of a woman or an LGBTI+ individual. 

This can be defined as a manifestation of the patriarchy of our culture. Those who consider sports to be a male realm occupy the bleachers and exhibit their hate speech and sexism with their chants and banners. Therefore, I believe we have to end sexism through language. If we can purify our language from sexist utterances, we can get rid of gender discrimination in every realm of life, not just sports.

While battling against heteronormativity and sexism, is it possible to transform the industrialized and competition-driven sides of sports? In your opinion, what is the impact of reading about the positive examples on the audiences?

Sports have become a servant to capital and has been industrialized in every aspect, therefore I do not think that it can become an activity that sides with the people in the long run. However, this industrialization can have positive impacts against gender based discrimination in sports, albeit for its own interests. 

Sportswear brands such as Nike, Adidas, Puma frequently feature LGBTI+ and female athletes in their commercials. Although they claim that their sole aim is to stand against gender based discrimination, I do not believe the reality to be as such. It is a known fact that as a part of the industrialization of sports, brands seek to create new markets for their products and to increase their client bases. As such, although they are acting in their own interests, they contribute to the struggle against gender based discrimination.  

Reading positive news can create a positive influence in society as well as media.

There might be those who read the articles and news on Alan Savunması and decide that they too can write. What would you like to tell those who would like to join you or send their writings to you? What is the importance of LGBTI+ sports reporting? 

Journalists, writers, academics, students of the Department of Communication, basically anyone can send us their news articles and/or opinion pieces. Alan Savunması is open to their contribution. We would like them to know we can feature any news or articles focusing on female or LGBTI+ athletes in any field of sports. We support any content that will contribute to the visibility of female or LGBTI+ athletes.

LGBTI+ sports reporting is important for the struggle against gender based discrimination and heteronormativity.  The media coverage of the accomplishments or negative experiences of amateur or professional LGBTI+ athletes will not only change the perception of society but also that of media for better.  

Alan Savunması is a good example. Since  we started publishing, we have been observing an increase in the news on LGBTI+ athletes, especially in alternative media. 

 Is there anything else you would like to tell our readers? Aside from submitting articles, how can they support you?

I can tell our readers that they do not need to be LGBTI+ to defend the rights of women and LGBTI+. We are a case in point. Neither I and nor my friend here in Alan Savunması identify as LGBTI+ individuals. Yet we think it is a humanitarian duty to raise our voice against the injustice and to defend the rights of others. So should our readers.

I don’t know about the future but for now we do not need financial support, yet if they would like to we would not mind it 🙂 We appreciate it if you follow our social media accounts and pass the word onto the others.

Interview by: Zeynep Serinkaya

You can visit Alan Savunması at http://alansavunmasi.org.

*Translator’s note: Alan Savunması isTurkish for Zonal Defence.

Alan Savunması: Alışın, kadınlar ve LGBTI+ler sporda!

Son yıllarda kadın ve LGBTI+ girişimleri Türkiye’de sporu boyunduruğu altına alan cinsiyetçi ve heteronormatif şiddeti ortadan kaldırmak için faaliyetlerini arttırdı. Tecavüzcü tezahüratlardan cinsiyetçi manşetlere, spor endüstrisi ve spor haberciliği şiddete bulanmış durumda. Çoğu insan LGBTI+ ve kadın sporcuların gerek profesyonel gerek amatör olarak her spor dalında var olduğunu ve rekabet ettiğini bilmiyor. Alan Savunması LGBTI+ ve kadın sporcuların kazanımları ve olumsuz deneyimlerine odaklanan yeni bir çevrimiçi haber platformu. LGBTI News Turkey’den Zeynep Serinkaya Alan Savunması’ndan Ali Safa Korkut’la bir röportaj yaptı.

 

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Alan Savunması‘nı kurma fikri nasıl ortaya çıktı? Ekibinizi kısaca tanıyabilir miyiz?

Alan Savunması aslında uzun zamandır gerçekleştirmeyi düşündüğümüz bir projeydi. Futbol oynayan birkaç kadın arkadaşımızın bu alandaki çabasına ve maruz kaldıkları eşitsizliklere yakından tanıklık edince buna kayıtsız kalmak istemedik. Keza bu eşitsizlikler sadece bizim tanıdığımız kadınların başına da gelmiyor. Dünya genelinde böyle bir ayrımcılık olmakla beraber bu Türkiye’de biraz daha fazla hissediliyor.

Sporun kadınların mücadele ettiği dallarını ve özellikle de kadın futbolunu biraz yakından takip edince spor yapmaya çalışan LGBTİ+ sporcuların da bir hayli fazla olduğunu yakından gözlemledik. ‘’Spor yapmaya çalışan’’ diyorum çünkü eril tahakküm ve homofobi her alanda egemenlik kurmaya çalışıyor.

Henüz kadın sporcuların maruz kaldıkları karşısında öfkemizi yatıştıramamışken bir de birkaç LGBTİ+ sporcunun spor yaparken yaşadığı taciz, dışlanma ve hatta fiziksel şiddete kadar varan sözlü hakaretleri birinci ağızdan dinleyince bir şeyler yapmak istedik.

İnsanların bu durumlardan haberdar olmadıklarını veya olsalar bile sessiz kaldıklarını düşünerek ilk aşamada bu yaşananları görünür kılmamız gerektiğini düşündük. Mevcut olarak üniversite eğitimimizi sürdüğümüz ve düzenli bir gelirimiz olmadığı için de -en azından şimdilik- minimum gider ve maksimum efor sarf ederek başarıya ulaşabileceğimiz fikirler üzerinde yoğunlaştık.

Bu doğrultuda da hem gazetecilik bölümü öğrencileri olarak yapabileceğimize inandığımız için hem de bu eşitsizlikleri duyurabilmek ve toplumu harekete geçirebilmek adına gerçekten yararlı olacağını düşündüğümüz için yapabileceğimiz en doğru şeyin bir haber sitesi kurmak olduğuna kanaat getirdik.

Şu anlık Alan Savunması’nda sadece iki kişi faaliyet gösteriyoruz. Ben (Ali Safa Korkut), 23 yaşımda ve Uşak Üniversitesi Gazetecilik Bölümü son sınıf öğrencisiyim. Diyarbakır’da yaşıyorum.

Diğer arkadaşım da aynı sınıfta olduğum Özdemir Atuğ. O da benimle aynı yaşta ve Aksaray’da ikamet ediyor.

Ben sitenin editör ve muhabirliğini yapıyorum, Özdemir de sosyal medya yönetimi ve sitenin teknik işleriyle ilgileniyor.

Alan Savunması ekibin sporla arası nedir? İlgilendiğiniz sporlar, oynadığınız takımlar nedir?

İkimiz de sporla oldukça yakından ilgileniyoruz. Dört seneye yakın bir süre boyunca amatör olarak futbol oynamakla beraber basketbol ve yüzme ile de yakından ilgileniyorum. Bunun dışında tenis, voleybol ve atletizm gibi sporları da elimden geldiğince takip etmeye çalışıyorum.

Ekip olarak bu böyle aslında, sadece bilgi sahibi olduğumuz sporları değil tüm spor dallarını takip etmeye çalışıyoruz. Her günümüz sporla geçiyor.

– Türkiye’de son zamanlarda Karşı Lig, Queer Olympix, Kızlar Sahada gibi spor yoluyla toplumsal cinsiyet eşitsizliği ve ayrımcılığa spor yoluyla karşı çıkan inisiyatiflerin sayısı artıyor. Sizce bu tür oluşumların ve bireysel olarak spor alanındaki eşitsizlikleri gidermeye çalışan LGBTI+lerin ve aktivistlerin çalışmaları nasıl desteklenebilir?

Söylediğim gibi, ilk aşamada kadın ve LGBTİ+ sporcuların başarıları ve yaşadıkları olumsuz durumlar ile onların görünürlüğüne katkı sunmayı amaçlayan oluşum ve aktivistleri görünür kılmak gerektiğini düşünüyorum. Çünkü gerçekten özel hayatında sporla yakından ilgilenen ve kadın ve LGBTİ+ sporcuların varlıkları ile mağduriyetlerinden habersiz olan insan hakları aktivistleri var. Ancak bu habersizlikleri de kendilerinden değil, medya kuruluşlarının LGBTİ+ sporcu ve aktivistlere haber akışlarında hiçbir şekilde yer vermemelerinden kaynaklanıyor.

Öncelikli olarak Karşı Lig, Queer Olmypix ve Kızlar Sahada gibi organizasyonlara medyada detaylı bir şekilde yer vererek bu konuda bir duyarlılık/farkındalık yaratılabilir. Burada da alternatif medyaya büyük iş düşüyor. Ana akım medya kuruluşları bir eril tahakküm oluşturmak istediğinden ve farklı yönelimlere sahip bireylere saygı duymadığından, onların varlıklarını reddediyor ve hiçbir şekilde haber akışlarında yer vermiyor. Bu noktada alternatif medyanın devreye girerek haber akışlarında kadın ve LGBTİ+ sporcular ile onların görünürlüğüne katkı sunmayı amaçlayan LGBTİ+ aktivistlere daha fazla yer vermesi gerekiyor.

Sonraki aşamalarda çeşitli spor kulüpleri, sporcular, taraftar grupları vs. gibi etki alanı geniş kesimlerle panel, konferans, sempozyum, vs. gibi etkinlikler düzenlenerek kadın ve LGBTİ+ spor ve sporculara gereken değerin verilmesi sağlanabilir.

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-Spor belki de bedensel ve cinsel normların en çok dayatıldığı ve şiddet ile kendini gösterebildiği bir alan. Sizce sporun toplumsal cinsiyet ve cinsel kimlik temelli ayrımcılıkla ilişkisi nasıl düzeltilebilir?

Ayrımcılık öncelikle dilde başlıyor. Bunun en büyük göstergesi de cinsiyetçi söylemler. Sporda da bu böyle. Baktığımız zaman, spor dalı fark etmeksizin maç öncesinde, esnasında veya sonrasında karşı takım aleyhinde bir şeyler söylemek isteyen taraftarlar, onları aşağılamak için ilk olarak cinsiyetçi söylemlere başvuruyor. Kadın veya LGBTİ+ olmayı aşağılık bir durum olarak gören zihniyet tarafından rakip takıma kadın olmak veya LGBTİ+ birey olmak üzerinden benzetmeler yapılarak çirkin hakaretlerde bulunuluyor.

Bunu kültürümüzdeki ataerkilliğin bir tezahürü olarak gösterebiliriz. Sporu sadece erkeklere ait bir alan olarak görenler tüm erillikleriyle tribünlerde de yer alıyor ve maç boyu nefret söylemi ve cinsiyetçi söylemlerle dolu marş ve pankartlarını sergiliyor.

Bu sebeple cinsiyetçiliği öncelikle dilde bitirmemiz gerektiğini düşünüyorum. Kullandığımız dili cinsiyetçi söylemelerden arındırabilirsek sadece sporda değil yaşamın her alanında cinsiyet ayrımcılığını ortadan kaldırabiliriz.

– Heteronormativiteyle ve cinsiyetçilikle mücadele ederken, bir yandan da sporun endüstrileşmiş ve rekabete odaklanan halini dönüştürmesi mümkün müdür? İyi ve olumlu örneklerin haberlerini okumanın buna nasıl bir etkisi olabilir sizce?

Tüm hücreleriyle endüstrileşmiş ve sermayedarlara hizmet eder hale gelmiş olan sporun, uzun vadede yeniden halk yönünde tavır alan bir etkinlik haline gelebileceğini maalesef ki sanmıyorum. Ancak bu endüstrileşme, içinde bulunduğumuz süreçte -kendi çıkarları için de olsa- sporda cinsiyet temelli ayrımcılığa karşı olumlu bir katkıda bulunuyor.

Nike, Adidas, Puma vs. gibi önde gelen spor giysi üreticileri, reklamlarında kadın ve LGBTİ+ sporculara sıkça yer veriyor. Bu reklamların yegane amacının cinsiyet temelli ayrımcılığa karşı bir duruş sergilemek olduğu iddia edilse de bunun pek de öyle olduğunu düşünmüyorum. Spordaki endüstrileşmenin bir parçası olarak, ilgili markaların bu reklamlarla asıl amaçladıkları şeyin ürünlerine yeni pazarlar oluşturmak ve müşteri kitlelerini geliştirmek olduğu herkesçe bilinen bir gerçek.

Böylelikle her ne kadar kendi çıkarları doğrultusunda hareket etmiş olsalar da cinsiyet temelli ayrımcılığa karşı verilen mücadeleye de katkı sunmuş oluyorlar.

İyi ve olumlu haberlerin örneklerini okumak başta medyada olmak üzere toplumda da olumlu bir algı oluşturabilir.

Alan Savunması‘ndaki haber ve makaleleri okuyup “ben de yazarım” diyenler olabilir. Aranıza katılmak ya da size yazı göndermek isteyenlere neler söylemek istersiniz? LGBTI+ spor haberciliğinin önemi sizce nedir?

Gazeteci, yazar, akademisyen, iletişim fakültesi öğrencileri vs. gibi toplumun her kesiminden insan haber ve/veya düşünce yazılarını bizlere gönderebilir. Alan Savunması onlardan gelecek katkılara açıktır. Sporun herhangi bir dalı ile ilgili kaleme aldıkları, odak noktasında kadın veya LGBTİ+ sporcular olan her türlü haber ve yazıya Alan Savunması’nda yer verebileceğimizin bilinmesini isteriz. Kadın ve LGBTİ+ sporcuların görünürlüğüne katkı sunacak her türlü içeriğe Alan Savunması’na yer verebiliriz.

LGBTİ+ spor haberciliği, özellikle heteronormativiteye ve spordaki cinsiyet temelli ayrımcılığa karşı büyük önem arz ediyor. Amatör veya profesyonel olarak sporculuk yapan çok sayıda LGBTİ+’nın başarılarının veya maruz kaldıkları ayrımcılıkların medya aracılığıyla duyurulması yalnız toplumun algısını değil medyanın algısını da olumlu yönde etkileyecektir.

Buna örnek olarak, Alan Savunması’nı gösterebilirim. Yayım hayatımıza başladıktan sonra özellikle alternatif medyada LGBTİ+ sporculara yönelik haberlerde bir artış gözlemleyebiliyoruz.

– Okuyucularımıza söylemek istediğiniz başka bir şey var mı? Yazı ve makale dışında sizi nasıl destekleyebilirler?

Okuyucularımıza kadın veya LGBTİ+ bireylerin haklarını savunabilmek için illa LGBTİ+ olmak gerekmediğini söyleyebilirim. Bunun en büyük örneği de bizleriz. Ben ve Alan Savunması’nda faaliyet gösteren diğer arkadaşım LGBTİ+ bireyler değiliz. Ancak, kendimizden olmayan insanların da hakkını savunabilmeyi, ortadaki adaletsizliklere bir ses çıkarmayı birer insanlık vazifesi olarak görüyoruz. Lütfen onlar da öyle görsünler.

İleride nasıl olur bilmem ama şu an için herhangi bir maddi desteğe ihtiyacımız yok ancak destek sunmak isterlerse de hayır demeyiz 🙂 Şimdilik sosyal medya hesaplarımızdan bizleri desteklemeleri ve daha fazla insana sesimizi duyurmamıza yardımcı olmaları yeterli.

Daha fazlası için Alan Savunmasının sitesini ziyaret edebilirsiniz.

Röportaj: Zeynep Serinkaya

Pride March held on Mis Sokak, Taksim; police attacked dispersing crowd

Hundreds of people came together in Mis Sokak [Mis Street], Taksim for the Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride March: “We are here, get used to it, we are not going” After the announcement, as the group dispersed, police attacked with gas bombs and plastic bullets.

Source: Onur Yürüyüşü Mis Sokak’taydı, yürüyüş dağılırken polis saldırdı: Buradayız, alışın, gitmiyoruz! (The Pride March was on Mis Street, the police attacked as the march broke up: We’re here, get used to it, we’re not going!) Ylıdız Tar, KaosGL (https://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=28438) June 30, 2019

 

LGBTI+ people  and anti-discrimination activists met in Taksim today (June 30) for a press release on th LGBTI+ Pride March.

Before the march was due to begin at 17:00, police were deployed to Istiklal Caddesi [Istiklal (Independence) Avenue] and surrounding streets. During the day, they conducted identity checks on people they assumed to be LGBTI+.PHOTO

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Hundreds of people met on Mis Sokak!

The Istanbul LGBTI + Pride Week Committee gave a press release on Mis Sokak, as a result of a meeting with the police. Hundreds of people gathered in Mis Sokak.

Hundreds of people carrying rainbows, trans and intersex flags often shouted slogans on Mis Sokak: “Don’t keep quite, shout there are homosexuals,” “Whose morality is [the] general morality?” and  “Where are you my love?”

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Ahmet Şık and Gökçe Gökçen were in action!

People’s Democratic Party (HDP) Istanbul Deputy Ahmet Şık and Republican People’s Party (CHP) Vice President for Human Rights Gökçe Gökçen also participated in the action.

At 17.00, the press release was read on Mis Sokak. The Pride Week Committee’s statement said: “We do not give up our lives, our solidarity, nor our organized struggle! We are here, get used to it, we are not going.”

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Rainbow flags on buildings!

During the press release rainbow flags were hung from buildings around Mis Sokak. Among the places where the rainbow flag was hung was the Socialist Refoundation Party (SYKP) building.

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After the press release, songs from the list prepared by the Pride Week Committee were played on the street.

After the press release, the Pride Week Committee said, “We are leaving Mis Sokak and scattering to every street in Taksim. We continue to dance and have fun in the streets! ”

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Two people detained

Two people from Mis Sokak were detained during the press release.

 

Police attacked dispersing crowd

In Mis Sokak and surrounding streets police attacked the dispersing crowds with gas bombs and plastic bullets. Police also attacked places where those who fled the attacks stayed using gas bombs.

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Under the blockade of the police, marchers in Mis Sokak were attacked with  dogs. Those sitting in the area were also attacked with gas bombs and tables were upturned. 

 

Walking in Tatavla

On the other hand, LGBTI + phobia opponents who came together in Tatavla walked along Kurtuluş Caddesi {Kurtuluş (Liberation) Avenue]. During the march with rainbow flags, the slogan “We will not turn our backs, we will not turn our backs, we will not turn our backs on this way” was shouted.

 

Walk from Talimhane to Taksim Square

Another group marched from Talimhane to Taksim Square with rainbow flags and slogans.

 

Press release: We’re here, get used to it, we’re not going!

Photos: Egemen Kepekci