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

lezbifempankart

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.

(more…)

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/

943884_458267974360517_7570827872938564930_n

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.

boysan_yakar

“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

boysanzelis

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.

(more…)

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. 

(more…)