bianet

Cyber-attack against Istanbul LGBTI’s Website

The website of Istanbul LGBTT Solidarity Association was hacked. Kıvılcım Arat from the Association said “LGBTIs used not to be perceived as a threat. Attacks increased as they became the subject of/in politics.”

Source: Çiçek Tahaoğlu, “İstanbul LGBTİ’nin Web Sitesine Siber Saldırı” (“Cyber Attack against Istanbul LGBTT’s Website”), bianet, 6 July 2015,  http://www.bianet.org/bianet/lgbti/165826-istanbul-lgbti-nin-web-sitesine-siber-saldiri

The website of Istanbul LGBTI [LGBTT] Solidarity Association was hacked by a group called “Armania”.

510Hackers changed the first news heading of the website to “WE ARE SONS OF BITCHES YEAHH”. The website at http://istanbul-lgbtt.net is still accessible but news items display an error.

Istanbul LGBTI’s Kıvılcım Arat reported that “As it turns out, they had found a vulnerability in the website a while ago but waited for a controversy before hacking it. They took advantage of the order of the day where the police attacks the Pride Parade and LGBTIs continue to be targeted [for violence] and posted their messages to the website.”

Kaos GL’s website was targeted with a DDoS attack simultaneously with the police attack against the Istanbul LGBTI Pride Parade on June 28th.

Arat, who reported that online attacks against LGBTIs are increasing in addition to the already widespread physical and verbal assaults, expressed that the reason for the increase in attacks is the visibility of the LGBTI and LGBTI’s presence in the political arena:

LGBTIs used not to be perceived as a threat; we were seen as a group that keeps their head down at all times. But this perception dissipated after Gezi. A certain discomfort emerged from LGBTIs’ becoming political subjects in the last election process and their solidarity around the slogan ‘We will not let you become the President’.

It was indeed not Ramadan but the discomfort of the election process that lead to the attacks during the Pride Parade, which has been organized for 13 years. After all, a week ago and again during Ramadan, the 6th Trans Pride Parade was organized on the same street.

A message of ‘you better tread lightly, not get into politics, withdraw into your shell’ is being given with these target-ful statements, news articles, and assaults. Because Turkey’s LGBTI movement is one of the most political ones in Turkey. It seems that attacks will continue, unfortunately.

Cyber-attack against Kaos GL on Pride Day

Tar: “That the cyber attack was deployed simultaneously with the [police] intervention to the Pride is of great significance. That a cyber attack is deployed while LGBTIs who exclaimed ‘homosexuals will not remain silent’ on the streets were assaulted with tear gas means that there is a [coordinated] effort to silence LGBTIs.”

Source: Çiçek Tahaoğlu, “Onur Gününde KaosGL’ye Siber Saldırı” (“Cyberattack against Kaos GL on Pride Day”), bianet, 29 June 2015, http://www.bianet.org/bianet/lgbti/165656-onur-gununde-kaosgl-ye-siber-saldiri

Kaos GL was inaccessible for hours on 28 June due to a DDoS attack while police assaults continued on Istiklal Street.

Kaos GL’s editor Yıldız Tar spoke to bianet and, drawing attention to the simultaneous attacks on the streets by the police and cyber attacks online, expressed that the attack against LGBTIs’ news website is a planned assault on the freedom of speech and the right to be informed:

Yesterday, our Kaos GL website was targeted at the very moment police assaults began against the Pride Parade. The attack continued for a long time, preventing access to the website. At first we thought this to be a technical problem but out communications uncovered this to be an attack.

That the cyber attack was deployed simultaneously with the [police] intervention to the Pride is of great significance. That a cyber attack is deployed while LGBTIs who exclaimed ‘homosexuals will not remain silent’ on the streets were assaulted with tear gas means that there is a [coordinated] effort to silence LGBTIs.

Our website was unable to recover until late last night. This prevented us from communicating rights violations. We experienced violence on the streets as well as intervention with our right to speech.

We do not know who the assailants were, but we witnessed tweets pointing Kaos GL as a target and claiming ‘this is how we silence you’ Naturally, we have documented each of these instances.

We believe that this was a concerted attack. They tried to silence us and failed. Just as the rainbow flag was flying over everywhere yesterday, Kaos GL too continues its broadcast.

What is a DDoS attack?

DDoS (Distributed Denial-of-Service) is an attack where a server receives considerable amounts of requests by many computers simultaneously to the point of inoperability. It does not [necessarily] mean that the server in question was breached.

Istanbul LGBTT Activist: “Assailants say ‘you can murder fags, there is no penalty for that’”

7 trans women were assaulted in Istanbul in the last month. Kıvılcım Arat of Istanbul LGBTI said: “It is the government, which avoids producing legislation [against hate crimes] and which issues press statements that point people out as targets, who is responsible for the increase in assaults.”

Source: Çiçek Tahaoğlu, “Saldırganlar ‘İbne Öldürmenin Cezası Yok’ Diyor” (“Assailants say ‘you can murder fags, there is no penalty for that’”), Bianet, 1 June 2015, http://www.bianet.org/bianet/lgbti/164977-saldirganlar-ibne-oldurmenin-cezasi-yok-diyor

7 trans women were assaulted in Istanbul in the last month [May 2015].

Some assaults occurred out of nowhere while women were walking on the street, some occurred in women’s homes. Other trans women who heard that trans women have been assaulted rushed to the hospitals and waited outside the ER in solidarity, even when they did not know the victim.

Yet, the attacks continue and very few of the women apply to rights organizations regarding what they experienced and initiate legal procedures.

Istanbul LGBTI [sic- correct name Istanbul LGBTT], one of the organizations working for trans rights, reported that only three trans women applied [for support] following the attacks. Two of them did not continue the necessary legal procedures afterwards; one is waiting for her recovery.

Why is it that these women, who struggle for their lives every day, do not engage in a legal struggle? Kıvılcım Arat, member of the board of directors of Istanbul LGBTI [sic], responded to this question: “Because they do not trust the judiciary.”

“They are reluctant [to pursue cases] because they do not trust the judiciary. Activists need to intervene at that stage. Unfortunately, that is not always possible.”

Arat tied the high number of assaults during the month to the statements by government authorities. While they have avoided issuing statements regarding LGBTIs up until now, government authorities have begun bringing the issue to the forefront as the elections are approaching. Arat reminds us of the statements by President Erdoğan, “We do not put forth homosexual candidates,” and by Prime Minister Davutoğlu, “Homosexuals caused the destruction of the tribe of Lot.”

“Ever since the HDP [which has an LGBTI candidate and actively campaigns for LGBTI rights -Trans.] started its election campaign, the statements by government authorities about LGBTIs have been encouraging people to commit hate crimes. Recently, following the statement by the President, two trans women were assaulted.”

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Elif İnce: A History of Turkey’s LGBTI Movement in the 1990s

Despite the raids and evacuations of trans homes in Cihangir and torture in police custody, the LGBTI in Turkey became organized during the 1990s. Lambdaistanbul and Kaos GL associations were founded after the police dispersed the 1993 Pride Parade and the first LGBTI publications appeared.

Source: Elif İnce, “LGBTİ: Kaldırımın Altından Gökkuşağı Çıkıyor”, (“LGBTI: The Rainbow is Peaking Out from the Pavement”), bianet, 8 December 2014, http://bianet.org/bianet/lgbti/160544-lgbti-kaldirimin-altindan-gokkusagi-cikiyor

The 1990s were the years when the LGBTI movement started to organize as a social movement against police violence. Despite the raids on homes and nightclubs and the days-long torture in police custody, these years witnessed the foundation of the Lambdaistanbul and Kaos GL associations, the LGBTI organizations in universities, and the first LGBTI publications.

The first Pride Parade named “Sexual Freedom Events” in 1993 in Beyoğlu was blocked by the police based on the governor’s ban. Activists’ houses were raided and they were taken into custody. Participants from abroad were deported. The first pride parade was held ten years later in 2003 and was attended by 40 people. In the last pride parade, 2014, tens of thousands marched.

Gays, Feminists, Greens

The oppressive environment of the 1980 military coup led to the weakening of mainstream leftist groups. Those who could not previously find a place for themselves in these movements began to have their voice heard. In 1997, the Kaos GL Association submitted a statement to be published in Radikal İki, a Sunday issue of a liberal daily Turkish newspaper (now only online). The statement read as follows:

“Transvestites, transsexuals, feminine gays also experienced the oppression of the 1980 coup. Things were ignored and it was a time of every man for himself. When we tried to make a little bit of noise, our voice was drowned among those endless hierarchies. They’d say “not now; there are bigger urgencies”… In the 1980s, there were similar reactions from many different groups to voices that people were not used to, voices they had not heard before. Gays, feminists, greens… Where the hell did they come from?”

In the mid-1980s, the Radical Democrat Green Party Initiative was founded under İbrahim Eren’s leadership. Greens, feminists, atheists, anti-militarists, as well as gay and trans individuals started to organize within this initiative. The party declared its support for gay rights. Eren observed that gays became the largest group within the party and the party was dubbed the “party of the gays”. In 1998, trans activist Demet Demir said, “the group was called the gay group but the majority were trans.”

Sevda Yılmaz, who wrote under the pen-name of Ali Kemal Yılmaz, tells the story of a hunger strike that began on 29 April 1987 to protest the systemic violence and oppression of gay and trans individuals at the hands of the Beyoğlu Police Department. The Radical Democrat Green Party Initiative supported the strike.

The strike which began in a house in Taksim moved to the stairs of Gezi Park on 30 April and was dispersed by the police. The strike continued in different houses for a couple of weeks. Yılmaz was the spokesperson for the strike, which found coverage in international press and drew the support of important artists such as Türkan Şoray, Rıfat Ilgaz and Barış Pirhasan.

This hunger strike is remembered as the first large-scale LGBTI protest before the 1990s.

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The LGBTI media reference guide is out

Source: “Gazeteciler İçin LGBTI haberciliği rehberi çıktı” (The LGBTI media reference guide is out), Bia News Source,  July 9, 2014, http://www.bianet.org/bianet/medya/157064-gazeteciler-icin-lgbti-haberciligi-rehberi-cikti

The guide answers the question of what reporters need to pay attention to when covering issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity.

Kaos GL and Pink Life, Turkish LGBTI organizations, have compiled a practical media reference guide for journalists reporting on LGBTI issues.

The guide provides a framework for keeping in regard certain points when reporting on LGBTI related policies in Turkey. The guide offers rights based suggestions on topics regarding use of language and terminology in reporting news related to gender, violence and suicide, news sources, off the record statements, use of photography, and respecting privacy.

What should a reporter pay attention to?

The guide includes excerpts from news reports that include hate speech against  the LGBTI community and explains the approach to reporting taken by the news portal of KaosGL.org and Kaos GL magazine.

  • We defend the freedom of news, commentary and critique. However, we distinguish between the news, commentary and opinion regarding current events. An author can express their personal opinion on the reported issues only by signing their name under the article.
  • The journalist reports news and refrains from commentary.
  • We do not state agreement with anyone.
  • We do not draw conclusions from any information.
  • We do not homogenize people and events.
  • We do not judge anyone.
  • We do not exclude anyone.

The role of the media workers

The guide underlines the important role media workers play in spreading awareness of forms of discrimination related to gender, sexual orientation and gender identity across a wider base in society.

Below is a sample of suggestions from the guide to news coverage:

Gay man, lesbian woman vs. heterosexual man/woman?

References in news reports to individuals’ gender, sexual orientation and gender identity in contexts where these are irrelevant to the content of the news constitute discrimination. Just as we do not mark heterosexual and male individuals as heterosexual male; we should not be marking women, gays, bisexuals and trans individuals when such characterizations have no direct relevance to the news content.

Being gay is not a matter of “confession”

“They confessed” as in “They confessed they are gay” is one of the misused expressions that appears widely in the news media and in public. Being gay is not a crime nor a mistake, therefore it is not a matter of confession. The appropriate expression should be “they announced they are gay.”

“The transvestite whose real name is…”!

News reports use trans individuals’ names as they appear in their identity cards without their permission. Reporters must use the person’s chosen name and surname.

Gender transition, not gender change

Instead of gender change/correction surgery, use “gender transition surgery” or “gender reconstruction surgery.” Phrases like ‘change’ presume the assigned gender as their basis and contribute to the perception that trans individuals are  less  “woman” or “man” than how they feel and express. This aggravates the othering process.

Sexual orientation, not sexual preference

It is inaccurate to use the term “sexual preference” to describe homosexuality, bisexuality and transsexuality. Like heterosexuality,  homosexuality and bisexuality are sexual orientations; transsexuality is about gender identity. The  terms “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” must be used instead of “sexual preference“ in accordance with these definitions.

Avoid unnecessary innuendos

In reports relating to LGBTI people, there should be no references to derogatory slang in headlines or no reporting using such slang. It is important to avoid unnecessary references and innuendos such as “The ball is in the court for the LGBTI association court case” in order not to reproduce discrimination.

click for the guide

 

“What Would Be Different If A Gay was Slapped There?”

Source: Çiçek Tahaoğlu, “Tokat Yiyen İbne Olsaydı Ne Değişecekti?” (“What Would Be Different If A Gay Man Was Slapped?”) Bianet. org, 27 May 2014, http://bianet.org/bianet/lgbti/155961-tokat-yiyen-ibne-olsaydi-ne-degisecekti?bia_source=newsletter

The mashup photo of Taner Kurucan, a Soma resident who was allegedly slapped by PM Erdoğan during his visit, and Yasin Keskin, an LGBTI activist holding a banner “Even if we are gay,” went viral online. Bianet interviewed Yasin Keskin as the mainstream media articles and comments covertly legitimized the violence against him as he was gay.

Yasin Keskin, the real owner of the photo taken at Gay Pride, filed a criminal complaint to the Antalya Prosecutor’s Office in order to determine the distributors of the photo and to prevent further publication of the images. The criminal complaint has been submitted to the İstanbul Prosecutor’s Office.

“The comments under the released photo on social media include threats and hateful phrases.  I’m 29 years old and have spent 29 years under the oppression and violence of society against homosexual people. I have been exposed to violence many times during my struggle and now I am scared of going to Istanbul, even of going out,” LGBTI activist Keskin told Bianet.

“When I went to the courthouse, people said that they saw the photo. People that I don’t know have sent messages on social media. If anyone recognizes me while walking on the street, I could be exposed to a lynching attempt. We are living in a country in which homophobic and transgender murders occur frequently,” he added.

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LGBTI people march against Hate Crimes and Worker Deaths

Source: Yıldız Tar, “LGBTI’ler Nefret ve İş Cinayetlerine Karşı Yürüdü,” (“LGBTI people march against Hate Crimes and Worker Deaths,”) bianet.org, May 18, 2014, http://www.bianet.org/kadin/lgbti/155764-lgbti-ler-nefret-ve-is-cinayetlerine-karsi-yurudu

The ninth Anti-homophobia Meeting organized by Kaos GL concluded with a march against homophobia, transphobia, hate and workplace murders.* Thousands joined the march dedicated to the hundreds of workers who were killed in the Soma Mine. Signs such as “Soma: We know the Murderers” and “Either we will be emancipated together; or we will rot together” were carried at the protest that began at the Ankara University’s Cebeci campus.

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Those who joined the protest included representatives of LGBTI organizations from Ankara, Istanbul, Mersin, Adana, Diyarbakır, Kars, Dersim, Malatya, Antalya, İzmir, Eskişehir and Antep as well as representatives from HDK (the Democratic People’s Congress), ESP (The Socialist Party of the Oppressed), SYKP (the Socialist Reconstitution Party), SDP (the Socialist Democracy Party), SGD (Socialist Youth Associations) and ÖGK (Free Young Woman). LÖB (High School Students Union) and IHD (Human Rights Association) were present with their uniforms. And the red flag finally reached out for the rainbow.

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