Hasan Atik: “I will represent our demand to live as equal citizens”

Hasan Atik, an LGBTI+ rights advocate running for a seat in the Turkish Parliament as the 4th candidate on the ballot list from the People’s Democratic Party answered Kaos GL’s questions.

Source: “Hasan Atik: ‘I will represent our demand to live as equal citizens’ “ (Hasan Atik: “Eşit yurttaşlık temelinde yaşam talebimizi dile getireceğim”), Yıldız Tar, kaosgl.org, May 27,2018, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=25904

How did you decide to become a candidate? Was your candidacy as a gay politician in HDP supported?

I have assumed duties in various levels of HDP. In every position I have worked in complete harmony with my party and my colleagues. HDP exists in all colors. When I decided to apply for the candidacy, my fellow party members supported me both at the centre of the party and in local branches and they continue to support me.

You are running for a seat in the parliament from a place which will not elect you. Yet, as far as we know, you are the only open gay candidate. What are your plans for the election campaigns?

It was my request to be a candidate from Edirne. I believe I can be more beneficial for my party in Edirne. No member of HDP is in this election just for a seat, we care about our party. I will continue rights advocacy during the election campaign. I will continue to work for equal citizenship not only for one identity but for all identities. For me, my candidacy is not a means to an end but the end itself; the aim for equal and free citizenship for all peoples of Turkey.

Unfortunately, we live in a country where LGBTI+ rights are not maintained. As an MP candidate, what are your demands regarding the LGBTI+ rights?

Our most urgent demand is the right to live. Equal citizenship, freedom, equality in access to accommodation and employment are also among are demands. I will fight for the legal recognition of hate crime. I will be a strong defender for our demand to live not underdiscrimination but under equal citizenship.

Aside from LGBTI+ rights advocacy, you also advocate  for HIV/AIDS related rights and give counseling on the matter. How will you carry this struggle of yours to political arena?

HIV/AIDS is a pressing matter in Turkey. The state does not have a preventive approach, aside from providing treatment. We will first fight to have sexual health training in the national education syllabi. Then we will educate the society against HIV-phobia. We will fight against stigmatization and discrimination, which are dominant tendencies in Turkey.

Our purpose is to ensure that the Turkish state belongs to everyone living inside our borders. We aim to govern this country by sharing our authority with all segments of the society, all peoples of Turkey. Together, we will rebuild Turkey into a more democratic and livable country. We will win.

 

Queer Cyprus Association’s LGBTI+-Friendly Municipality Protocol

As the local elections draw closer in Northern Cyprus, Queer Cyprus Association prepared a text titled “LGBTI+-Friendly Local Governance Protocol” and invited the municipal mayoral candidates to sign the protocol, reminding the future mayors of their responsibilities towards LGBTI+ rights.

Here are some of the duties listed under the protocol:

“I hereby vow to;

 

  • Take steps to protect the rights and the liberties of LGBTI+ individuals, to undertake egalitarian, liberal, transparent and participatory local governance practices in the district I am running for,
  • To realize policies providing LGBTI+ individuals access to public services, equal benefit  from rights to healthcare, to accomodation, to employment and to transportation,
  • To take these policies into account when preparing our budgets,
  • To cooperate with LGBTI+ associations and platforms in order to ensure that local services are all-inclusive,
  • To support the CSO’s working in the field of sexual orientation and gender identity and to organize activities or projects together with the municipality’s relevant units or similar local institutions,
  • To prepare an anti-discrimination regulation for the municipality which includes sexual orientation and gender identity,
  • To organize vocational training for municipality employees regarding LGBTI+ rights and discrimination,
  • To encourage cultural centers and recreational facilities ran by the municipality to include sexual orientation and gender identity related issues in their activities,
  • To encourage the municipality’s current online and print media platforms to inform the public regarding gender identity and sexual orientation equality and ban discrimination,
  • To be a LGBTI+ friendly mayor.”

 

 

While the deadline for the mayor candidates to sign the protocol is June 22, two candidates have already signed it.  Ulaş Gökçe, the independent mayoral candidate for Gazimağusa signed the protocol on May 26. Mehmet Harmancı, the incumbent mayor of the Turkish Municipality of Lefkoşa, running again for the post with the Communal Democracy Party (Toplumcu Demokrasi Partisi)  signed the protocol on May 27th. It is reported that during Harmancı’s administration, the Lefkoşa Turkish Municipality has supported LGBTI+ rights by putting up the rainbow flag, organizing seminars to increase awareness on equality and discrimination as well as decorating roundabouts with rainbow banners on May 17 as a part of IDAHOBIT celebrations.

(This article is compiled from news articles on Kıbrıs Postası and Detay Kıbrıs websites, as shown on the links.)

Istanbul Pride Week 2018 and What You Can Do to Support

As Istanbul Pride Week turns 26 this year, pride volunteers once more call for your support to organize the celebrations through June 25- July 1. Pride Week in Istanbul is organized solely by volunteer effort and crowdsourcing. On the second year of the state of emergency in Turkey and amidst bans against LGBTI+ assemblies and demonstrations, Istanbul Pride Week grows stronger and your support is ever more important for the LGBTI+ community in Turkey. Here is some information on how Pride has been celebrated in Turkey recently and what you can do to support the LGBTI+ community of Turkey.

What’s going on?

Over the last couple of years, Pride March has been taking place amidst police intervention and bans. Last year, both LGBTI+ and Trans Pride Marches in Istanbul were banned by the  governorship, followed by a governorship ban against all LGBTI+ related events in Ankara, which had led to bans in other cities.

Despite the bans and oppression, the LGBTI+ community in Turkey is very much alive and active. The associations continue their work and struggle for equality and freedom for all LGBTI+ individuals in all realms of social life. However, most of their work, including the organization of Pride Week is voluntary and requires financial support.

What is the crowdsourcing for?

The donations gathered by crowdsourcing will be used for the costs of events organized within the scope of Pride Week. These are film screenings, panels, forums and exhibitions. This year’s theme for Pride Week is “boundaries”, the theme will be the guiding concept for these events. You may see detailed information on how this budget will be spent on this link.

What else can I do to support Pride Week in Istanbul?

If you cannot make a donation or if you would like to support Pride Week in other ways, we say: Sharing is caring! You can share the crowdsourcing link on your social media accounts to help Pride volunteers reach more people and raise awareness in your own community. You can also follow the updates through Pride Week’s facebook page and our page. Keep in mind that messages of solidarity are always meaningful and empowering for volunteers and activists,  be it on twitter  or banners in your local Pride celebrations. It’s the thought that counts!

(Photo collage: Natali Arslan)

LGBTI Bans featured on EU Progress Report

The bans against LGBTI activities were criticized in the EU Progress Report on Turkey and it was emphasized that the fundamental rights of the LGBTI individuals are not protected.

(Source: “LGBTI Bans featured on EU Progress Report” (“LGBTİ yasakları AB İlerleme Raporu’nda”), Yıldız Tar, kaosgl.org, April 18, 2018, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=25617.)

European Union (EU) Commission has published Turkey’s Progress Report for the year 2018. The report includes descriptions of hate speech against LGBTI individuals, exclusion of sexual orientation from the law regarding hate crimes, lack of legal protection against discrimination and the bans against LGBTI+ activities.

The Progress Report stated “There are serious concerns on the protection of the fundamental rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people.” Regarding the ban in Ankara against LGBTI+ activities, the rejection of Kaos GL and Pink Life’s request to halt the execution of the ban and the ban against Pride Walks, the report states the following:

“No changes have been introduced to the military disciplinary system and medical regulations which define homosexuality as a ‘psychosexual disorder/illness’. For the third year in a row, LGBTI marches were banned for security reasons. Activists have been sued for ‘participating in an unauthorised demonstration’. LGBTI-themed events were forbidden in Ankara and other cities causing an international outcry. The detention and release under judicial control of an activist following his social media posts regarding Ankara governor’s ban on LGBTI events for an indefinite period is testimony of the pressure exercised against activists in this field. In February 2018, an Administrative Court rejected the request of two NGOs’ to lift the execution of this ban. Intimidation and violence against the LGBTI community continues to be a major problem and hate speech against LGBTI people is not effectively prosecuted, as it is mostly considered within the boundaries of freedom of speech. There is no specific legislation to address these crimes. There is limited protection given to LGBTI organisations who have been receiving threats. Discrimination towards the LGBTI community is still widespread.”

The report specifies that the legal regulations regarding hate crimes do not comply with international standards and do not include sexual orientation based hate crimes:

“Turkey should urgently adopt a law on combating discrimination in line with the European Convention on Human Rights, including with regards to sexual orientation and identity.”

The report also criticizes the National Human Rights and Equality institution for not including sexual orientation in the criminalization of discrimination.

26.ISTANBUL LGBTI+ PRIDE WEEK CALLS FOR SUPPORT

Last year, the Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week was comprised of over 50 events organized with a crowded group of volunteers. This year too, Pride Week is being organized through crowdfunding and awaits everyone’s support.
Every year, the Istanbul LGBTI+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Intersex and Plus) Pride Week is organized by an independent group of volunteers responding to an annual call and modelled on an anti-hierarchical solidarity maintained each year with a new boost of energy. This year the 26. Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week will take place between June 25 – July 1, 2018.

Like previous years, this year’s Pride Week volunteers invite everyone to support the organization through crowdsourcing in order to cover the expenses. Those willing to support the Pride Week can join the campaign on the Indiegogo website and donate the amount of their choosing.

Pride Week Volunteers say “Even though we were not able to realize our walk due to the police intervention last year, we did come together in different places across the city through Pride Week activities and strengthened our struggle by coming into contact with each other. This year too, we need your support to come together and to organize our activities in spite of all the bans and of the shadow cast by these bans”.

We proudly declare the theme for 26.Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week which is to take place between June 25- July 1 in its 26th year, in spite of incessant bans and increasing pressure: Boundaries!

We call on to you to discuss, rethink, talk about and to enhance the meaning of the word “boundary”, a word which we approach within the boundaries of thinking and writing.  We make this call because we do not accept the boundaries drawn against our identities, orientations and existences. We come together, rising from the spaces we are sought to be constrained in, by those who isolate us from the public space saying “Do whatever you want, but behind closed doors”. We know how important it is to erase the boundaries put against love, pleasure and sharing; in spite of those who remain silent to harassment, rape, torture, and violence which recklessly roam the streets.

We make this call because we want society to be aware of the intersex individuals whose bodies are violated in their early ages, in an effort to make them “fit” the social norms. We stand against those who restrain us within the boundaries of the binary gender regime to protect their own power positions, we say “we are here” against those who avert their gaze from us, thinking we are “different”.   We show that countless queer gender identities and sexual orientations exist, against the boundaries that limit the number of the identities, orientations and existences. We shout out that asexuals, aromantics and many others exist.

We make this call, because we are aware of the destruction caused by the ongoing war beyond the boundaries of our country and we want to stand against the boundaries drawn by the nationalist, racist and colonialist states.  We want to talk about the invisible boundaries of racism and xenophobia that come between us and our migrant friends, who have past beyond these boundaries drawn by the states through myriad struggles. We want to render the psychological and physical problems the boundaries cause visible.  We want to share the pride we feel for our identities with migrants, ethnic minorities and all those from different nations. We shout out that on our dates and in our relationships, our boundaries apply, not those drawn by the patriarchy. We lift the boundaries set for the number of our partners and lovers.

In Istanbul we protest the Governorship of Ankara’s ban against LGBTI+ activities for an indefinite period,  and we mock their boundaries. As we have been saying for the last 25 years: We do not want the ghettos we are imprisoned in but the entire cities! To those who think they can put boundaries on our solidarity and resistance by incarcerating many trans friends like Diren who made her voice heard by her hunger strike, demanding a humane treatment in prison, we raise our voices with our hunger and our letters. We win back the pride of a dignified life.

This year in Pride Week, want to make invisible boundaries seen and to fight with all our might against these boundaries set to the advantage of those in power. We are fully confident that we can set our own boundaries against those who foster the hate speech against our lives, our bodies, our feelings, and that we will break their unbounded confidence.

What’s on Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week?

In the past Istanbul Pride Week has been organized under various themes, such as Caution! Family, Taboo, Memory, Resistance, Contact, Normal, What’s Between Us. Throughout the Pride Week, we will seek different methods of resistance and ways of building a stronger solidarity with forums, panels and film screenings focused on the subjects of  the LGBTI+ movement’s agenda.

Through the week, within the scope of public and free events, there will be panels, workshops, film screenings, theater plays, picnics and a gathering of LGBTI+ organizations from other cities. Activists, LGBTI+ organization representatives, MPs, representatives of foreign consulates as well MPs and activists from abroad will attend the events as participants and speakers.

This year as it turns 14, Genetically Modified Tomato Awards will make a public call to vote for the most LGBTI+phobic discourses.
Pride Week says “We are missing without you!” and invites you to donate for support through the link.

 

Istanbul Pride Week 2018 and What You Can Do to Support

As Istanbul Pride Week turns 26 this year, pride volunteers once more call for your support to organize the celebrations through June 25- July 1. Pride Week in Istanbul is organized solely by volunteer effort and crowdsourcing. On the second year of the state of emergency in Turkey and amidst bans against LGBTI+ assemblies and demonstrations, Istanbul Pride Week grows stronger and your support is ever more important for the LGBTI+ community in Turkey. Here is some information on how Pride has been celebrated in Turkey recently and what you can do to support the LGBTI+ community of Turkey.

What’s going on?

Over the last couple of years, Pride March has been taking place amidst police intervention and bans. Last year, both LGBTI+ and Trans Pride Marches in Istanbul were banned by the  governorship, followed by a governorship ban against all LGBTI+ related events in Ankara, which had led to bans in other cities.

Despite the bans and oppression, the LGBTI+ community in Turkey is very much alive and active. The associations continue their work and struggle for equality and freedom for all LGBTI+ individuals in all realms of social life. However, most of their work, including the organization of Pride Week is voluntary and requires financial support.

What is the crowdsourcing for?

The donations gathered by crowdsourcing will be used for the costs of events organized within the scope of Pride Week. These are film screenings, panels, forums and exhibitions. This year’s theme for Pride Week is “boundaries”, the theme will be the guiding concept for these events. You may see detailed information on how this budget will be spent on this link.

What else can I do to support Pride Week in Istanbul?

If you cannot make a donation or if you would like to support Pride Week in other ways, we say: Sharing is caring! You can share the crowdsourcing link on your social media accounts to help Pride volunteers reach more people and raise awareness in your own community. You can also follow the updates through Pride Week’s facebook page and our page. Keep in mind that messages of solidarity are always meaningful and empowering for volunteers and activists,  be it on twitter  or banners in your local Pride celebrations. It’s the thought that counts!

(Photo collage: Natali Arslan)

IDAHOBIT Celebrations across Turkey

The LGBTI+ community of Turkey celebrates the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia across the country with gatherings, panels and press statements, in spite of the bans and state of emergency conditions.

(This article is compiled from articles published on the KaosGL website.)

May 17th marks the declassification of homosexuality as a mental disorder by the World Health Organization 28 years ago, and has been celebrated since 2004 to promote LGBTI+ solidarity and to strengthen the struggle against all kinds of gender identity, expression, and sexual orientation-related violence. This year in Turkey, many celebrations took place in various cities across the country.

KaosGL released a press statement regarding the ongoing bans against LGBTI+ demonstrations and assemblies, drawing attention to hate speech in the media, discrimination against LGBTI+ individuals in employment, and increased impunity against hate crimes. (Read the statement through this link.) KaosGL has also published an ad celebrating the day in the national dailies Birgün and Evrensel, as seen on the featured image of this article, raising the rainbow flag in print media. The ad reads: “Happy IDAHOBIT, with wishes for equality and freedom!” Yıldız Tar from KaosGL also attended the panel organized at the Dutch Embassy in Ankara, together with Gökkuşağı Aileleri Grubu and Maruf, an association from the Netherlands.

SPoD (Social Policies, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association) organized a week-long celebration of IDAHOBIT. On May 19th, SPoD hosted a discussion with gaycities.com editor and independent journalist Tony Taylor, and on May 17th the association held a panel at the Istanbul Consulate of the Netherlands together with activists Simon Timmerman from COC (Netherlands) and Ida Ali Lindqvist from RFSL (Sweden), where participants shared their experiences in LGBTI+ activism. On May 20th, SPoD called everyone to join a picnic at Maçka Demokrasi Park to strengthen solidarity and to unwind a little.

Bursa Özgür Renkler Derneği (Free Colors Association) welcomed IDAHOBIT 2018 with various events, including a training session on May 7 at Uludağ University; a gathering to recruit new volunteers on May 16th; and a special forum titled, “Civil Society Gathering for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Equality” on May 17th, bringing together 13 civil society organizations.

BİZ Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Studies Association organized a film screening followed by a panel to honour the day in Antalya.

Several local governance bodies and foreign embassies celebrated IDAHOBIT as well. While the Belgian, German, British, Danish, Dutch, Swedish and Canadian embassies hung the rainbow flag on their building, Ankara’s Çankaya Municipality, İzmir Metropolitan Municipality Women’s Studies Directorate and Şişli Municipality celebrated by sharing solidarity messages. The Union of Education and Science Labourers and Confederation of Public Employees Trade Unions did not forget to support the struggle against homophobia, transphobia and biphobia and shared social media posts demanding an end to discrimination.
Amnesty International Turkey posted special illustrations for IDAHOBIT 2018 with the captions “Love is a human right!”, while Human Rights Association (İHD) reminded social media users that LGBTI+ rights are human rights in their solidarity message.

Publishing houses were also among those who shared messages of solidarity for May 17th. Ayrıntı, Sel and Notabene publishing houses, known for printing LGBTI+ literature, honored the day through their social media accounts.