Trans woman inmate Ida is on hunger strike

Trans activist Diren Coşkun has announced that İda Koçak, a trans woman inmate, has started a hunger strike after she was denied vegan meals in prison. Today is the eighth day of her strike. Koçak has repeatedly demanded vegan meals which was denied by the prison administration.  Pink Life Association has contacted the psychosocial support unit of the prison and requested information about the current situation. Trans, inmate and human rights advocates have launched a hashtag campaign to raise İda’s voice, with the hashtag #idayasesver .

ERNb9HkXkAAKlFv.jpg
Trans women inmates have been facing many discriminatory practices under incarceration. Diren Coşkun herself was on a death fast in 2018, demanding her right to gender confirmation surgery and an end to her confinement in solitary confinement.  In September 2019, Miray, a trans woman inmate from Alanya L Type Prison, started a hunger strike as the prison administration kept LGBTI+ inmates in solitary confinement based on their gender identity. On August 2019, trans woman inmate Buse mutilated herself after being kept in a solitary confinement in a men’s ward and denied gender confirmation surgery. Similarly, trans woman inmate Esra Arıkan has repeatedly started hunger strikes due to the inhumane conditions of her imprisonment, such as being confined to a solitary cell, physical abuse and torture as well as harassment. After a ten year long battle, Arıkan finally got her gender confirmation surgery and was transferred to a woman’s prison. However, last year on August, Arıkan was once more on strike, seeking proper medical attention.

 

UPDATE: İda’s demands were met the next day (21.02.2020) and she ended her hunger strike after receiving a vegan meal.

ILGA-Europe’s #AnnualReview2019 is now out!

Annual Review 2020 report cover.png

 

ILGA Europe’s annual review covering the period of January and December 2019 is published. The Turkey chapter was drafted in coordination with team members of LGBTI News Turkey. Once more, Turkey ranks 48 among 49 countries, with a score of 5%. You can read the Turkey chapter here and the full report here.

Below we share the press release on the report:

Annual Review of the situation of LGBTI people paints a picture at odds with a widespread notion that in Europe the work is done

Launched today [February 4, 2020] , the 10th edition of ILGA-Europe’s Annual Review details the human rights situation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people across the 49 European countries, and the five countries of Central Asia. Created with LGBTI activists and experts on the ground, the Review also identifies trends, both current and on the rise.

This year’s review, which charts developments during the 12 months of 2019, paints a complex picture that diverges from the widespread narrative that all is well for LGBTI people in large parts of Europe. Central to this is a sharp rise in anti-LGBTI hate speech carried out by public figures across Europe – in countries ranging from Bulgaria, Poland and Turkey, to Cyprus, Finland, Greece, Portugal and Spain – and the very real consequences of this for LGBTI individuals and groups. In many countries across the European and Central Asian regions, and not only those with a documented growth in official bias-motivated speech, there has also been an equally sharp increase in online hate-speech and physical attacks on LGBTI people, many of the latter premeditated and brutal.

The review identifies that this is a pan-European phenomenon, from the UK where the populist narrative surrounding Brexit can be linked to an increase in anti-LGBTI hate crimes and incidents, to the banning of events in many towns and cities on the continent, the prosecution of participants in Pride marches in Turkey, and a growing presence of anti-LGBTI and neo-Nazi protesters in public spaces during LGBTI events across the region.

Alongside the rise in hatred, there is increased movement of people from within the region to countries perceived as less harsh. More LGBTI people left countries such as Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan for neighbouring countries where the situation might be perceived as relatively safer. There is also an anecdotal rise in people saying they want to leave countries like Poland for other EU countries.

Reported obstacles in access to healthcare, bullying in schools and the workplace, and LGBTI people being denied services, often with a lack of governmental intervention, all play a part in the overall picture of a Europe where lived experiences for a large part do not match up with the surface message that LGBTI rights and equality have been fully secured.

According to Evelyne Paradis, Executive Director of ILGA-Europe: “It is not all bad news. The issue of bodily integrity for intersex people continues to gain more prominence on the political agenda of governments and institutions. 2019 was a year of positive developments for rainbow families in the region, with an expansion of family rights in a few countries; and important advancements continue to be made on reforming or establishing legal gender recognition procedures, even if in many countries progress is slowing down.

“However, the lived reality of LGBTI people in many parts of Europe and Central Asia is increasingly difficult and for a large part remains invisible, even to organisations like ILGA-Europe. Action is needed. Governments still have so much to do, from adopting laws that guarantee the protection of people’s rights and giving public authorities the means to translate policy into practice across sectors, to leading by example in having a discourse promoting social acceptance and inclusion.

“By making people aware of such a broad and nuanced picture, which is constantly shifting and evolving, the ILGA-Europe Annual Review aims to give a sense of the enormity of issues and areas that affect the lives of people, which will continue to require attention, especially in a context where LGBTI people are being targeted and vulnerability is heightened.”

What’s on Queerfest today? January 25

Don’t miss out on the films to watch today, workshops and talks! All films have Turkish and English subtitles!

EO4MezHXUAEK2P6

French Cultural Center

14:00 Chronic

16:00 I’m Moshanty. Do you love me? followed by a Q&A with Tim Wolff

18:00 Lemebel

Vault 34

13:00 IQMF Shorts

15:00 Mezipatra Shorts followed by a Q&A with Pavel Bicek

17:30 Transfinite followed by a Q&A with Neelu Bhuman

19:30 Shelter:Farewell to Eden

Kıraathane İstanbul

13:00 Queernes #Forever Shorts

15:00 Lover Shorts

16:30 Queer Shorts from Turkey

18:30 Koli Gazes Upon Kolis! Shorts

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

20:00, Institut français

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

TALK: LGBTI+ ARCHIVING – WHY DOES IT MATTER?

20:15, Feminist Mekan

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

ROUND TABLE: NON-BINARIES COME TOGETHER!

15.00, SPoD Office

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

SOUND FOR VIDEO WORKSHOP

January 25-26, Altyazı Sinema Derneği

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

QUEER APPROACHES TOWARDS CIS-HETERO ROLES

January 25-26  14.00-17.00, The Circle

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

 QUEER DOCUMENTARY DEVELOPMENT WORKSHOP 

January 25 10.30-17.30, Altyazı Sinema Derneği

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

What’s on QueerFest today? January 24

You can watch six different selections of shorts as well as “These Peculiar Days”, “The Celluloid Closet”, “Club Splendida”, or “Transitioning” on today’s schedule. Check out our summary for today’s events on QueerFest below.

EO4MezHXUAEK2P6

 

TALK: STORIES TRANSFORMED

January 24 Ocak, 19:00, SALT Galata

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

TERF ARGUMENTS(?) CACOPHONY

January 24, 20.00, Institut français


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

TALK: QUEER PERFORMERS SPEAK!

January 24 18.00, Institut français

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

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

 

What to expect from 9th QueerFest?

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

EOkUtz-WoAAR5xf

Under the Rainbow

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

Queer Documentaries

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

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

Queer Series

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

cULT

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

Short Selections

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

Queer Shorts from Turkey will feature:

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

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

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

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

Volkan Güleryüz’s Iris (İris, 2019),

Gizem Aksu’s SOULSOLESOURCE (SOULSOLESOURCE, 2019),

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

Gökçe Onur’s Akışkan (Fluid, 2019),

Nicolas Jakubiak’s Barbo (Barbo, 2019)

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

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

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

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

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

EVENTS

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

January 25, 20:00, Institut français

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

TALK: OUR BEAUTIFUL FILMS: ON QTIPOC FILMS

January 26, 19:15, Vault34

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

TALK: LGBTI+ ARCHIVING – WHY DOES IT MATTER?

January 25, 20:15, Feminist Mekan

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

TALK: STORIES TRANSFORMED

January 24 Ocak, 19:00, SALT Galata

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

TERF ARGUMENTS(?) CACOPHONY

January 24, 20.00, Institut français

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

TALK: QUEER PERFORMERS SPEAK!

January 24 18.00, Institut français

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

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

ROUND TABLE: NON-BINARIES COME TOGETHER!

January 25, 15.00, SPoD Office

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

Workshops

SOUND FOR VIDEO WORKSHOP

January 25-26, Altyazı Sinema Derneği

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

QUEER APPROACHES TOWARDS CIS-HETERO ROLES

January 25-26  14.00-17.00, The Circle

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

 QUEER DOCUMENTARY DEVELOPMENT WORKSHOP 

January 25 10.30-17.30, Altyazı Sinema Derneği

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

 

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

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

kuirfestfilm20kuirfest20etk

Trans Istanbul Initiative is Established

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

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

trans-istanbul-inisiyatifi-kuruldu

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

“We invite all LGBT+ to empower each other”

The Initiative’s opening statement is as follows:

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

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

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

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

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

You can find the Trans Istanbul Initiative here.