Homophobia in Kurdistan

Big Reaction to the Peoples’ Democratic Party’s Homosexual Event

Source: “HDP’nin eşcinsel eylemine büyük tepki,” (“Big reaction to the People’s Democratic Party’s homosexual event,”) Haber 10, 15 January 2014, http://www.haber10.com/haber/468587/#.Utfg82SSzEh

The Education and Science Workers’ Union (Eğitim-Sen) and the People’s Democratic Party’s (HDP) panel of gays and lesbians in southeastern city of Batman led to big reactions from the people of Batman.

Eğitim-Sen’s panel entitled “Students Living with Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity,” held last weekend at the Batman Municipality Conference Hall  drew the reactions of Batman locals. Activists from the gay movement and the representatives of Batman Eğitim-Sen Branch attended the panel. Remzi Altunpolat- LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and intersex) activist, Kaos GL member, and HDP member- and psychological consultant Berna Savcı attended Batman’s first ever panel as speakers.

What’s the goal of such activities in Kurdistan?

Şirin Işık said that they cannot understand why such a panel would be held in Kurdistan and added, “Panels like this are situations that do not fit our religion and customs. The people who organized this are trying to spread the perversion of communism to our society. It’s curious that a perverted event like this was held in a place like Batman that is bound by its religion and customs. What’s the goal of such activities in Kurdistan? We strongly condemn the people who host such events and do not want it to happen again.”


“It is difficult to say I am Kurdish and Gay!”

Source: İpek İzci, “Kürdistanlı Bir Eşcinselim Demek Zor!,” (“It is difficult to say I am Kurdish and gay”) Radikal, 22 October 2013, http://www.radikal.com.tr/hayat/kurdistanli_bir_escinselim_demek_zor-1156541

There is a new LGBT entity in Turkey: Hêvî LGBTI. The activists of Hêvî talk about the first and only Kurdish LGBT association in Istanbul…

“The experience of sharing during the Gezi Resistance, that solidarity, and people truly embracing each other made us hopeful for a humane and mutual life,” says Asya as she explains why they named the first and only Kurdish LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Intersex) initiative in Istanbul as Hêvî LGBTI. “Hêvî” is Kurdish for “hope.”

Hêvî LGBTI Initiative was founded by a group of friends who met in the LGBT Block during the Gezi Resistance. They established the initiative formally on 1 September 2013, coinciding with the World Peace Day. However, the real founding day is 22 September 2013 when the manifesto was declared. One of the activists, Asya, is from Diyarbakır, the others are from Mardin, Siirt, and Van… But, it would be wrong to assume that Hêvî LGBTI Initiative is composed only of Kurdish people. Hêvî LGBTI Initiative concentrates on geography rather than ethnicity. There are Turkish activists among them as well.


Hêvî LGBT Initiative Announced its Foundation

Source: Kaos GL, “Hêvî LGBTİ İnisiyatifi Kuruluşunu İlan Etti,” (“Hêvî LGBT Initiative Announced its Foundation,” 22 September 2013, http://www.kaosgl.com/sayfa.php?id=14853

Hêvî LGBTI Initiative: “It was necessary to form an entity in Istanbul that can call out to Kurdistan and so here we are.”

Hêvî LGBTI Initiative announced its foundation on September 22, 2013 by holding a press conference. The initiative’s manifesto was read both in Turkish and Kurdish. Hêvî announced that its main working issue will be “the specific problems of Kurdish LGBTI people living in Turkey.”

“The contribution of LGBTIs to a stable peace is responsibility”

Hêvî Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex (LGBTI) Initiative announced its foundation by holding a press conference at the offices of the Democratic Congress of People (HDK) Beyoğlu District Organization. Hêvî activists Asya Elmas, Rosi Da, Mehmet Umut, Ceylan and Cem Emre Gutay led the meeting. Cem Emre Gutay and Asya Elmas read the initiative’s manifesto in Turkish. The manifesto states that the initiative was formed by a group of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex people who met at the LGBT Block in Gezi Park during the Gezi Resistance.

The word Hêvî is “hope” in Kurdish and Hêvî aims to create and spread hope among LGBTI people.