family

“My Child” coming out documentary screening by the Kocaeli LGBTI Initiative

The screening of an LGBTI documentary called “My Child” brought hundreds of people together in the city of Kocaeli in Turkey.

Source: Buket Kaya, “Kocaeli’de Benim Çocuğum belgeseli salona sığmadı,” (Screening of My Child Documentary attracts hundreds of viewers,”) kaosGL.org, 16 November 2014,  http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=17967

Organized by the Kocaeli LGBTI Initiative, Women’s Labor Collective and Education and Science Workers’ Union (Egitim-Sen) Kocaeli Branch Office, the screening welcomed “Families of LGBTs in Istanbul” (LISTAG) as guest speakers on Saturday evening at Izmit Public Education and Culture Center.

The families held a dinner at Egitim-Sen before the screening and talked with the members of the Kocaeli LGBTI Initiative on LGBTI visibility in the city and families’ stance towards the issue. The families also distributed LISTAG brochures.

Hall for 400 people was not enough

The hall with capacity for 400 people, and additional seats were completely filled before the screening despite the adverse weather conditions. Some participants had to watch the documentary standing.

Nazli Ulutepe from Egitim-Sen Kocaeli Branch Office said that education in Turkey is getting more and more conservative and homophobic, underlining that Egitim-Sen will work towards fighting the situation.

Muserref Ubuz from Women’s Labor Collective emphasized that LGBTI and women struggles are in solidarity with each other and that they will resist all forms of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

“Time to take off the heteronormative masks!”

The most dramatic speech was given by a member of Kocaeli LGBTI Initiative who ascended the stage with a beard and make-up. The person told LGBTI people, forced to live with masks for years, to start throwing away these masks and to get involved in the fight to leave their oppressed lives.

Stating that not all babies, love, art and life are heterosexual, the person addressed the audience: “It is your turn to take off the heteronormative masks that the system forcefully put on you, it is your turn to fight discrimination hand in hand with us.”

After the speech, a minute of silence was dedicated to people excluded, pushed to commit suicide or murdered because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

A Q&A session with the families followed the screening. LISTAG families received a loud applause and expressed their gratitude. People with various occupations and students talked about the movie’s contribution to their lives and sought an answer to how they can fight discrimination in their fields of work. The event ended with participants clapping and cheering with slogans.

A feminine gay and the bus driver

Source: Arda Yücel, “Feminen bir gey ve otobüs şöförü” (“A feminine gay and the bus driver”), Kaos GL, 10 September 2014, http://www.kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=17493

 
I left the office on Monday and started waiting for a bus at Sultanbeyli city center. It’s a dark area and the last stop of the bus is quite close to my house… Anyhow, I boarded the bus.

Photograph by Jnbn, 2007, https://flic.kr/p/5wEiPK, cc by-nc 2.0

Photograph by Jnbn, 2007, https://flic.kr/p/5wEiPK, cc by-nc 2.0

I did not have an Akbil [a public transportation pass] with me, so I asked the other passengers whether they had an extra one. A sensitive young passenger gave me his [Akbil] card and I handed him the fee for it. In the meanwhile, the bus driver noticed that I was gay from my tone of voice and started giving me dirty looks. I understood that something was going to go wrong…

The bus was crowded, which is why I started standing at the front door. People naturally kept disembarking the bus. When we arrived at the last stop, only a few passengers were left and they disembarked using the middle door of the bus, I wanted to leave using the front door since I was near it.

While I was leaving, the bus driver hit my arm and asked me “are you disembarking here?” I said “Yes.” He asked “Do you live here?” I said “It’s none of your business.” He said “Don’t leave, let’s talk a little.” And naturally in that context, I left politeness aside, said “Who do you think you are, how dare you speak to me like that?” and left the bus.

As I walked, I put my headphones on and kept on walking while talking to myself. He came after me with the bus shamelessly. I really lost it and yelled “Get lost, the fact that I am gay does not mean I will sleep with whoever I come across!”

The whole neighbourhood heard it and told about it to my mother. And my mother, god bless her soul, claimed I was in the wrong. “Didn’t I tell you to put on proper clothes, talk, walk and behave properly and straight?”[1] In short, a feminine gay can neither walk on the street nor live humanely!

 


[1] “Doğru düzgün”, lit. “correct and straight,” is an idiom used to convey, usually with frustration, that the other person (who is perceived to be acting in a silly, rude, or childish way) should act normally. Its heteronormative connotations are latent, rather than open and direct.