Şişli Municipality Mayor’s Advisor Boysan Yakar has been accepted to an exchange program with two LGBTI organizations in the USA. Yakar talked to kaosGL.org about the exchange program, his work in the municipality, and the place of LGBTIs in politics.
Source: Ömer Akpınar, “Şişli Belediye Başkanı Danışmanı ABD’de LGBTİ örgütlerinde çalışacak”, (“Advisor to the Şişli Mayor to Work with LGBTI organizations in the USA”), kaosGL.org, 27 April 2015, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=19269
Boysan Yakar, Advisor to the Şişli Municipality Mayor, has been accepted to the Professional Fellows Program with a scholarship to observe the legislative process in the US. Throughout the month of May, Yakar will work with two LGBTI organizations that operate on a national and international level. He will also participate in a candidacy training program for LGBTIs who are considering participating in politics.
“It is important to adopt these efforts for our own local conditions through the Şişli Municipality.”
Q: You will work with the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and the Victory Institute for two weeks each as part of the exchange program. The HRC is known for its work on marriage equality, while the Victory Institute works for the emergence of LGBT leaders. What excites you about working with these two institutions?
The LGBTI rights movement has made significant and irreversible gains with the Obama administration in particular. The HRC works for LGBTIs’ right to marry and for the right to equal services in municipalities on both the federal and state levels. The Victory Institute campaigns for LGBTI and allied representatives in several state elections. It is important to hear about their experiences as part of this process and to discover ways to exert pressure.
I aim to learn about their past campaigns while I am in the US. I also want to work on figuring out what kind of alliances we can build with Turkey’s LGBTI movement. What excites me the most is the chance to observe districts and municipalities in Washington D.C. that work for LGBTIs, immigrants, women, and other minorities. It is important to adopt these efforts for our own local conditions through the Şişli Municipality.
I have seen the importance of SPoD LGBTI’s “LGBTI-Friendly Municipality” Campaign, where I was also a candidate for the local elections in 2014. It was an important experience to positively use the election atmosphere and the gains of the LGBTI movement with Istanbul’s municipalities. It is clear that the “LGBTI in the Parliament” Campaign will yield even more positive results this year.