Lambdaistanbul

My Pride Story: Pride from Sisterhood to Sapphism

 

Today in Pride Stories: Who cannot settle with feminist sisterhood, sapphism and LezBiFem

Gaye’s Pride Story

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Nowadays, I am in the middle of a busy work schedule which I thought was ‘temporary’ at first. Like other things that I postpone, I was waiting for the right time and place to write and share my little story, with a cup of coffee on the table and shed from the anxiety of being late to work.  Sometimes activism needs the right time and place too… For me and my friends, working or being broke is such a common reason for not being able to go or organize an event; it is a relief to know that we will run into each other at Pride at least.

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Lambdaistanbul: Hoping for “Peace” in 2016!

Source: “2016 için ‘Barış’ Diliyoruz!” (“Hoping for ‘Peace’ in 2016”), Lambdaistanbul, n.d., http://www.lambdaistanbul.org/s/etkinlik/2016-icin-baris-diliyoruz/

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In a few days another page will fall off the calendar, bringing 2016 in place of 2015.  While we should be full of excitement of new beginnings, we are instead going through a time when deaths and massacres have become routine news. While one side of the country is full of New Year’s decorations, the other is covered in bullet holes. In just the past year, more than 200,000 people have had to immigrate due to imposed curfews and threats to their safety. Schools are closed, health centers are closed, markets and bakeries are closed… and 11-year-old children die because their homes are struck by tank cannons.

See Human Rights Watch report “Turkey: Mounting Security Operation Deaths”

We are asking the authorities: How many more people need to die before a quieting of weapons and a return to the negotiation table occurs?

After the Diyarbakır, Suruc, and Ankara massacres, homophobia, transphobia, suicides, hate crimes, and traffic accidents, we have been through a rather difficult 2015. Despite all of this, it was again our solidarity and holding onto one another that allowed us to stay on our feet. As Lambdaistanbul, we are calling on you in these last days of the year to add your voices to ours and put an end to this war, this massacre.

We want 2016 to bring “Peace” to our country. However, in recognition that merely wanting this is not enough, we are taking action, and are informing all of our followers that in 2016 we will be hosting more events and creating more opportunities for discussion and debate. In addition, we would like you write what you wish for in the name of peace on a piece of cardboard and take a picture with it, and then share it with us through our email address (lambda@lambdaistanbul.com) or through our Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Add your voice to our call for peace! When you are not with us, we are way too few.

 

Inquiry into Policemen who Attacked the Pride Parade was not Permitted!

 

The Governorship of Istanbul has not permitted a legal inquiry to be initiated against the police who attacked the Pride Parade, injuring many people and detaining journalists.

Source: “Onur Yürüyüşü’ne Saldıran Polislere Soruşturma İzni Çıkmadı!” (“Inquiry into Policemen who Attacked the Pride Parade was not Permitted!”) KaosGL.org, 25 November 2015, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=20603

Following the police attack of LGBTI organizations’ 2015 Pride Parade, the official complaint for trial of the officials of the General Directorate of Riot Police was finalized. The Governorship of Istanbul has not permitted inquiry into the policemen who attacked the parade.

The Governorship, stating that the Pride Parade had been “banned”, defended that the police attack that occurred throughout the day was “within the legal limits”. It further argued that there was not “any information, document, or video recording in relation to misconduct of the policemen”, despite the evidence submitted by LGBTI organizations and images shown in the media.

LGBTI organizations had filed an official complaint

LGBTI organizations had filed an official complaint, with regard to the police attack of the Pride Parade, concerning the Minister of Interior Affairs Sebahattin Ozturk, Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin, and Istanbul Police Chief Selami Altınok, who executed the unlawful order.

Kaos GL, Lambdaistanbul, SPoD LGBTI, and Red Umbrella requested that the responsible parties be tried based on the following crimes: wounding with intent, torture, persecution, mistreatment, coercion, transgression of right to use force, misconduct, issuance of unlawful order and execution thereof, prevention of exercise of freedom of speech, prevention of exercise of freedom of association and right to hold meetings and demonstration marches, and restriction of liberty.

What happened at the Pride Parade?

The police attacked the Istanbul LGBTI Pride Parade with tear gas, water cannon, and plastic bullets. The protesters were detained, the journalists were assaulted. Yıldız Tar, KaosGL.org’s Editor, and Cicek Tahaoglu, Bianet’s Women and LGBTI News Editor, were among the detained and battered journalists.

Members of the Parliament from HDP and CHP stood hand in hand in opposition to the police. The rainbow flag flew in all of Beyoglu’s streets despite the police attack that went on throughout the day. The Governorship of Istanbul stated that the police “interfered” with the Pride Parade due to the possibility of “provocation”, even though there was no trouble of any kind until the police attack.

Following the Istanbul LGBTI Pride Parade, as the Governorship claimed there were “no injured people”, it was discovered that many were injured after being subject to police brutality. Among the injured was Sinan Onder Duman. Duman was injured in his right eye due to the targeted shot of a plastic bullet by the police.

Even though the Governorship alleged that no one suffered any injury, LGBTI activists were attacked by unidentified assailants in civilian dress, in Tophane. One person’s nose and another’s hipbone were broken.

Boysan’s dream comes true: Equality Unit in Şişli Municipality!

The launch of the Şişli Municipality Social Equality Unit will take place on October 22. Boysan Yakar will be commemorated that night.

Source: Yıldız Tar, “Boysan’ın hayali gerçek oldu: Şişli’de Eşitlik Birimi!”, (“Boysan’s dream comes true: Equality Unit in Şişli Municipality!”), kaosGL.org, 20 October 2015, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=20380

Şişli Municipality has established a Social Equality Unit. The process that began with Boysan Yakar’s work as Advisor to Mayor Hayri İnönü has come to fruition and the unit has begun its work.

The Equality Unit’s establishment will be announced with a launch at 19:30 on Thursday, October 22 at the municipality’s new service building. Boysan Yakar, who lost his life in a traffic accident, will also be remembered that night.

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“Different politics for a more equal world”

Lambdaistanbul LGBTI activist Elif Avcı who began working at the Social Equality Unit explained the unit’s establishment to KaosGL.org:

After the 2014 local elections, talks began with municipalities which signed the LGBTI-Friendly Municipality Protocol to hold them to their promises. In the strategic planning phase of this process, we spoke with the Şişli Municipality as LGBTI associations and communicated our requests to be included in the strategic planning. The Equality Unit was one of these demands. Then Boysan Yakar, who began working as the mayor’s advisor at the Şişli Municipality, followed up on these demands and after his struggle for a year and half, the equality unit within the municipality has been founded.

This unit will serve to create equalitarian and participatory politics for LGBTI, people with disabilities, senior citizens, minorities, refugees, children, youth, and women. Boysan could not see the establishment of the unit he worked so hard for. So as much as the unit excites me, it also breaks my heart. We are working in a place where we feel Boysan’s loss every day. On the other hand, we don’t have the luxury to fail his hard work. With his inspiration, we are trying to make real a different politics for a more equal world.

Istanbul Memorial for Boysan, Zeliş, and Mert on 13-14 September

An Istanbul memorial for Boysan Yakar, Mert Serçe and Zeliş Deniz will be held on 13-14 September.

Source: “Boysan, Zeliş ve Mert için İstanbul’da anma”, “Memorial for Boysan, Zeliş, and Mert in Istanbul”, KaosGL.org, 10 September 2015, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=20153

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An Istanbul memorial will be held for our Boysan Yakar, Mert Serçe, and Zeliş Deniz who we lost in a traffic accident.

Lambdaistanbul LGBTI made a call to Istanbul’s LGBTI organizations and activists to visit Boysan Yakar and Zeliş Deniz at their gravesites on 13-14 September and food will be distributed after.

The memorial program will begin at the Zincirlikuyu Cemetery at 14:00 on Sunday, 13 September at Boysan’s grave. After the one hour memorial, Şişli Municipality buses will take participants to the Yeni Kanarya Cemetery to commemorate Zeliş Deniz at 15:00. The first day of the memorial will end with a visit to Zeliş Deniz’s family.

On Monday, 14 September at 18:30, participants will meet at Boysan Yakar’s home and go to Zeliş Deniz’s mother’s house for dinner. On the same day at 20:00, Şişli Municipality will distribute food to those in need at Elmadağ Park and Şişli Merkez Neighborhood Park in memory of Boysan, Zeliş, and Mert. At 21:30, Ayşe Tükrükçü from the Istanbul Initiative “Çorbada Tuzun Olsun” that serves soup to the homeless will distribute soup and helva, prepared after a person’s passing, in memory of Boysan, Zeliş, and Mert.

For more information, please see: https://www.facebook.com/events/430100477180823/

Islamist daily Vahdet calls for LGBTI organizations to be closed down

Islamist daily Vahdet covered Turkish courts’ past rejections of closure requests made against LGBTI associations Kaos GL and Lambdaistanbul as the “judicial promotion of immorality”.

Source: Ömer Akpınar, “Vahdet’ten “LGBTİ örgütleri kapatılsın” çağrısı!”, (“Islamist daily calls for LGBTI organizations to be closed down!”), kaosGL.org, 23 February 2015, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=18819

Vahdet was founded in December 2014 by journalists who left Yeni Akit, another extremist newspaper infamous for its hate speech against ethnic, religious and sexual minorities in Turkey. As the last part of its discriminatory attacks, the paper put forth news about the closure requests against Kaos GL Association in 2005 and Lambdaistanbul LGBTT Solidarity Association in 2006.

The Turkish Constitutional Court acknowledged last year that referring to gays as “perverts” is hate speech. However, Vahdet still called Kaos GL and Lambdaistanbul “the NGOs of perverse circles”, deeming the verdicts that the associations are not “contrary to morality” to be a “trump card given to the perverts by the court.”

Vahdet rediscovers LGBTI history in Turkey

Islamist and conservative media organs have been instrumentalizing homophobic and transphobic hate discourse to attack the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) as the country’s LGBTI movement rises despite having no support from the government.

Vahdet claimed that “the immoral circles gain protection to continue their activities freely due to some judicial verdicts”, targeting previous decisions in favor of LGBTIs’ freedom of expression and organization.

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Free health care service from the Şişli Municipality

Source: “Şişli Belediyesi’nden LGBTİ’lere ücretsiz hizmet.” (“Public service from the Şişli Municipality.”) Radikal, 10 October 2014, http://www.radikal.com.tr/saglik/sisli_belediyesiden_lgbtilere_ucretsiz_hizmet-1218959

Şişli, Istanbul, Municipality initiated free health care services for the LGBTI communities. LGBTI individuals will be able to benefit from health care services for free and, if they would like to do so, using nicknames rather than disclosing their identities.  

For the first time in Turkey, Şişli Municipality in Istanbul began providing health care services for LGBTI communities. According to the announcement by Kaos GL, following meetings between Lambdaistanbul, SPoD, and the Şişli Municipality, which signed the “LGBTI Friendly Municipality Protocol,” the Municipality decided to provide health care services devoted to LGBTI individuals. 

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Bookstore shelves to be purified of homophobia

Source: Çiçek Tahaoğlu, “Kitapçıların Rafları Homofobiden Arınıyor.” (“Bookstore shelves to be purified of homophobia.”) Bianet, 20 October 2014, http://bianet.org/bianet/saglik/159306-kitapcilarin-raflari-homofobiden-ariniyor

The Lambdaistanbul Mental Health Commission is meeting with bookstores in order for books which argue that homosexuality is an illness and that LGBTI people need to be treated to be taken off of their shelves.  It also has a call for activists.

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Call for Solidarity with the People of Kobane!

Source:“Kobane Halkı’yla Dayanışma Çağrısı!” (“Call for Solidarity with the People of Kobane!”), Lambdaistanbul, 3 October 2013, http://www.lambdaistanbul.org/s/etkinlik/kobane-halkiyla-dayanisma-cagrisi/

A civil war erupted in Syria in March 2011; with the attack of ISIS, one of the most brutal organizations to develop in recent history, on the city of Kobane, this civil war has arrived within a few meters of our doorstep. We could say that this period is the cruelest of this civil war. As happens in all wars, the primary targets in Syria are women and children.

At least 70,000 women and children were forced to exile to the district of Suruç in the city of Urfa, following the ISIS attacks on the city of Kobane in Rojava, Kurdistan. In part because Turkey neighbors Kobane, the Turkish public witnessed, via the local and international media, the support that was being provided [by the current Turkish government] to the brutal ISIS gangs. As such, we too, at Lambdaistanbul LGBTI Organization, are witnessing the threat to life in Kobane and to security in the Middle East because of warmongering gangs that are directly or indirectly supported by the Republic of Turkey.

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Yeni Akit: The Perverts Pester High Schools

Source: İskender Özel, “Sapkınlar liselere el attı” (“And Now the Perverts Pester High Schools”) Yeni Akit, 01 March 2014, http://www.yeniakit.com.tr/haber/sapkinlar-liselere-el-atti-12254.html

Yeni Akit is a conservative daily newspaper that engages in hate speech against LGBTI people and other groups. This is a verbatim translation. 

LGBT organizations in Turkey are known to be already gaining popularity and wide acceptance in Turkish Universities. And now, they ‘pester’ high schools which are run by the Ministry of National Education!

“These perverts will take advantage of working with peer groups to confuse the innocent minds of students”

“They Are Pioneering Immorality”

Some high-school age students who had participated in former meetings of LGBT organizations reunited on February 6, 2014 and established LGBT High-School. The initiative was formed by F.H. and E.Ö., two members of the youth branch of Lambdaistanbul. While spreading perversity in high schools, they will be receiving support from their elders. The second meeting of the newly formed LGBT High-School was held on February 21 and stated “we are speaking from the schools, where heterosexism, transphobia, sexism, militarism, and speciesism are being imposed”

The fact that the initiative’s formation was first covered by Armenian newspaper AGOS and by the trigger of the Cemaat (Gülen movement) T24 was not seen as meaningful.

LGBTI High School Students: We organize solidarity, not hatred!

Source: “Liseli LGBTİ: Nefreti Değil, Dayanışmayı Örgütlüyoruz!” (“LGBTI High School Students: We Organize Solidarity, Not Hatred!”) kaosGL.org, 17 February 2014, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=15836

LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and intersex) high school students prepared a text, which announces that they will not keep silent against oppression and ignorance in the education system.

The government does not want us in schools

The LGBTI high school students who assembled for the first time on February 6th stated, “The government does not want ‘tomboys,’ ‘faggots,’ ‘trannies’ in its schools. They beat and kill us in the streets, to top it off they also keep spilling out hatred, beating and killing in classes, corridors, toilets and books.

LGBTI high school students, who say “We call out from schools, where heterosexism, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, militarism and speciesism have been grafted,” will hold their second meeting at the Lambdaistanbul Cultural Center at 17.00 PM on February 21st.

The LGBTI high school students who stated, “Our fight will continue until the corridors get colored rainbows, until our colors spill from books and until we have access to education as equally, free and in our mother tongue.” You can contact this group on Facebook via this link: https://www.facebook.com/liselilgbti

LGBTI Statement on the Case of Roşin Çiçek

To the Press and the Public,

In July 2012, 17 year old Roşin Çiçek was hatefully murdered by his father and uncles for being gay and his young body dumped to the side of the road. Roşin Çiçek is one of the countless LGBTI individuals killed for not conforming to the profile desired by the heteronormative culture.

During the hearings, the attitudes of the defendants’ relatives towards the press and LGBTI activists are extremely aggressive; they have assaulted and insulted our LGBTI activist friends. R.Ç.’s mother requested that members of the press be removed from the court, however, the police did not allow it. Then the mother screamed at the members of the press and said, “If he [R.Ç.] were gay, I would have killed him with my own hands. You have shamed us.” The suspects have made contradictory statements throughout the case and have claimed not to have committed the murder. However, in the last hearings, the father confessed to the murder and claimed that his brothers had nothing to do with it. This is a slap in the face. The father’s admission is conflicting. This murder was not committed by just one person. It is clear that the other defendants are also involved.

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LGBTI Immigrant and Refugee Helpline

Scroll for Persian and Turkish
Lambdaistanbul LGBTI Solidarity Association has been working for LGBTI rights and freedoms in Turkey since 1993. With our Helpline, founded in 2004, we have been working to offer solutions to problems LGBTI people face.
Turkey is a crossroad for refugees. We are aware of the problems that LGBTI immigrants and refugees encounter in Turkey as these problems are becoming more visible. Thus; Lambdaistanbul has founded an LGBTI Immigrant and Refugee Helpline which serves in Azeri, Persian, English and Turkish to help people and contribute solutions to the problems they encounter.
If you are an LGBTI immigrant or refugee residing in Turkey and if you have any questions regarding the issues below:
– If you do not know where to apply to get legal and medical help
– If you need information on institutions and the services they offer
– If you want to share and talk about the problems you face due to your LGBTI identity
– If you need a counselor or a psychologist
Call us at +90 (553) 544 29 75 on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday between 6:30 and 8:00 PM EEST.

The CHP’s LGBT Report Takes Shape

Source: “CHP’nin LGBT Raporu Şekilleniyor,” (“The CHP’s LGBT Report Takes Shape,”) LGBT Haberhttp://www.h.madisozluk.com/2013/10/chpnin-lgbt-raporu-sekilleniyor.html?m=1

The LGBT Committee of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kadıköy Youth Organization has started to draft its report that was initiated in July 2013.

The CHP Kadıköy Youth Organization’s LGBT Rights Research Committee is the first institutional LGBT structure within the CHP. The committee has started to draft its report ahead of schedule.

The committee visited Lambdaistanbul LGBTT Solidarity Association,  LISTAG Families of LGBTs in Istanbul, Social Policies, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association (SPoD) in August and September. It participated in the meetings of the LGBT Political Representation and Participation Platform and founded grounds for solidarity with LGBT representatives of other political parties. The committee took part in the LGBT event at Yoğurtçu Park and in the Kaos GL meeting in Taksim. They met with LGBTQI individuals and took notes. They functioned as consultants to politicians within the CHP on LGBT politics. They shared information and experiences with the CHP youth in other cities who want to start other LGBT commission within the CHP. The committee helped LGBT organizations reach politicians from the CHP.

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LGBT Organizations and Independent Activists in Istanbul Start the “LGBT Political Representation and Participation Platform”

Source:  SPoD, “İstanbul’daki LGBT Örgütleri ve Bağımsız Aktivistler LGBT Siyasi Temel ve Katılım Platformunu Kurdu,” (“LGBT Organizations and Independent Activists in Istanbul Start the LGBT Political Representation and Participation Platform,”) http://www.spod.org.tr/turkce/istanbuldaki-lgbt-orgutleri-ve-bagimsiz-aktivistler-lgbt-siyasi-temsil-ve-katilim-platformunu-kurdu/

The Gezi Resistance and the continuing park forums have led to an unmistakeable conclusion for LGBTs: the opportunities for our visibility and the clear expression of our common demands. LGBTs combined their long years of experience with the power of the resistance and the support of different parts of society and poured out to the streets as tens of thousands of people in the 21st Pride Walk.

With the power we attained from the Gezi Resistance and the struggle LGBTs have led for years, we have started working on the “LGBT Political Representation and Participation Platform.” The platform aims to bring our political demands regarding the local elections to a common ground and to ensure that our demands are respected, improved, and set to motion.

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