Homophobic lecture notes in the medical faculty of Istanbul University

The lecture notes for 4th year pediatric class in the medical faculty of Istanbul University refers to homosexuality as a disorder that must be treated.

Source: Aslı Alpar, “İstanbul Üniversitesi Tıp Fakültesi’nde homofobik ders notu,” kaosGL.org, 26 March 2018, http://www.kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=25407

According to the lecture notes which were posted on social media by the 4th year students in medical faculty of Istanbul University, homosexuality is introduced as a “Temporarily growing tendency towards same sex interest to be carefully monitored and corrected.”

The student who spoke to KaosGL.org, stated s/he had shared these lecture notes on their social media account right away after seeing it, and that they don’t know which lecturer wrote it.

The student indicated that during their medical education they have come across similar homophobic and transphobic statements before and said: “the professor teaching endocrinology to the 4th year students also used insulting expressions to refer to transsexuals and females.”

Homosexuality is not a disease!

Psychologists, psychiatrists and other specialists for mental health have concluded that homosexuality is not a disease, a mental disorder or an emotional problem. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) took homosexuality off their list of mental and emotional disorders in 1973. In 1975, the American Psychological Association also moved to support this perspective. Both these associations warned mental health specialists to stop associating homosexuality with illness. This stance was reaffirmed by both institutions with new research. Additionally, in 1992 the World Health Organization removed the classification of homosexuality as a mental disorder from the list of International Classification of Diseases. Turkish psychiatry also uses the version with homosexuality removed as a disease.

Here, you can find the Frequently Asked Questions brochure prepared by the Kaos GL NGO for frequently asked questions about homosexuality answered by specialists and life examples.

“If homosexuality was something that could be treated, a heterosexual person could be turned into a homosexual as well”

Source: Hazal Özvarış, ”Eşcinselliğin tedavisi olsa heteroseksüeller de eşcinsel yapılabilirdi!,” (“If homosexuality was something that could be treated, a heterosexual person could be turned into a homosexual as well,”) T24, 25 June 2012, http://t24.com.tr/haber/dr-seven-kaptan-escinselligin-tedavisi-olsa-heteroseksuel-insanlar-da-escinsel-yapilabilirdi/207036

Before the 20th LGBT Pride Week, we interviewed psychiatrist Seven Kaptan, who has been volunteering as a therapist for the Families of LGBTs in Istanbul (LISTAG) for three years.

“After five hours he told me that he was gay. At that moment, I saw the relief in his eyes. I vividly remember that he stopped crying and was calm. He was relieved but my world turned upside and down. I had felt this kind of affliction when I lost my father years ago… Lost… I lost the son I had known for 17 years.” (Radikal, 2006)

The words above belong to Selma Çizmeci, a member of the Families of LGBTs in Istanbul (LISTAG). Founded in 2008 by the parents of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans children, LISTAG now includes about 130 family members.

The 20th Istanbul LGBT Pride Week will begin on June 25 and and will conclude on Sunday, June 30 with the pride march in Taksim. Aside from working with the family group, Seven Kaptan is an educator-therapist in the Anti-Homophobic Mental Health Initiative and her area of expertise is the issues transsexual people face. We asked her about the fundamental issues of homosexuality and transsexuality.

Dr. Kaptan talked to us about the processes LGBT people and their families go through. Her responses to our questions are below:


Court Finds French Book “Indecent”

Source: “Yargıtay, Fransızca kitabı ‘müstehcen’ buldu,” (“Court Finds French Book “Obscene”,”) Radikal, 6 August 2013,  http://www.radikal.com.tr/turkiye/yargitay_fransizca_kitabi_mustehcen_buldu-1145084

The owner of the publishing house “Sel Yayıncılık” İrfan Sancı and the translator İsmail Yerguz were put on indecency trial for publishing and translating the book “The Exploits of a Young Don Juan” written by Guillaume Apollinaire.

Istanbul, 2nd Court of First Instance arrived at a verdict to acquit, since the book was a literary work and does not constitute crime. Then the verdict was appealed and the file was seen at the 14th Penal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals. The Penal Chamber denounced the verdict of the Court of First Instance unanimously, dropped the decision, and requested the defendants to stand trial for 6 to 10 years imprisonment.