LGBTI Activism in Turkey

The LGBTI media reference guide is out

Source: “Gazeteciler İçin LGBTI haberciliği rehberi çıktı” (The LGBTI media reference guide is out), Bia News Source,  July 9, 2014,

The guide answers the question of what reporters need to pay attention to when covering issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity.

Kaos GL and Pink Life, Turkish LGBTI organizations, have compiled a practical media reference guide for journalists reporting on LGBTI issues.

The guide provides a framework for keeping in regard certain points when reporting on LGBTI related policies in Turkey. The guide offers rights based suggestions on topics regarding use of language and terminology in reporting news related to gender, violence and suicide, news sources, off the record statements, use of photography, and respecting privacy.

What should a reporter pay attention to?

The guide includes excerpts from news reports that include hate speech against  the LGBTI community and explains the approach to reporting taken by the news portal of and Kaos GL magazine.

  • We defend the freedom of news, commentary and critique. However, we distinguish between the news, commentary and opinion regarding current events. An author can express their personal opinion on the reported issues only by signing their name under the article.
  • The journalist reports news and refrains from commentary.
  • We do not state agreement with anyone.
  • We do not draw conclusions from any information.
  • We do not homogenize people and events.
  • We do not judge anyone.
  • We do not exclude anyone.

The role of the media workers

The guide underlines the important role media workers play in spreading awareness of forms of discrimination related to gender, sexual orientation and gender identity across a wider base in society.

Below is a sample of suggestions from the guide to news coverage:

Gay man, lesbian woman vs. heterosexual man/woman?

References in news reports to individuals’ gender, sexual orientation and gender identity in contexts where these are irrelevant to the content of the news constitute discrimination. Just as we do not mark heterosexual and male individuals as heterosexual male; we should not be marking women, gays, bisexuals and trans individuals when such characterizations have no direct relevance to the news content.

Being gay is not a matter of “confession”

“They confessed” as in “They confessed they are gay” is one of the misused expressions that appears widely in the news media and in public. Being gay is not a crime nor a mistake, therefore it is not a matter of confession. The appropriate expression should be “they announced they are gay.”

“The transvestite whose real name is…”!

News reports use trans individuals’ names as they appear in their identity cards without their permission. Reporters must use the person’s chosen name and surname.

Gender transition, not gender change

Instead of gender change/correction surgery, use “gender transition surgery” or “gender reconstruction surgery.” Phrases like ‘change’ presume the assigned gender as their basis and contribute to the perception that trans individuals are  less  “woman” or “man” than how they feel and express. This aggravates the othering process.

Sexual orientation, not sexual preference

It is inaccurate to use the term “sexual preference” to describe homosexuality, bisexuality and transsexuality. Like heterosexuality,  homosexuality and bisexuality are sexual orientations; transsexuality is about gender identity. The  terms “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” must be used instead of “sexual preference“ in accordance with these definitions.

Avoid unnecessary innuendos

In reports relating to LGBTI people, there should be no references to derogatory slang in headlines or no reporting using such slang. It is important to avoid unnecessary references and innuendos such as “The ball is in the court for the LGBTI association court case” in order not to reproduce discrimination.

click for the guide


To the Press and the Public: On the Suicide of Okyanus Özyavuz

Source: T-Kulüp, “Basına ve Kamuyonu: Okyanus Özyavuz,” (“To the Press and the Public: On Okyanus Özyavuz,”) 3 July 2014

We will be in front of Galatasaray High School today (July 3, 2014) at 19:00 to speak out for our trans male friend, Okyanus Özyavuz, who committed suicide in İzmir.

If you are not there, we will be missing so many.

Note: Through our correspondence with our trans male comrade’s girlfriend, we understand that his chosen name was not Efe but Okyanus and that he had created a different facebook account with the name Efe. He preferred to be called Okyanus and we have respected his wish in our statement.

We love you Okyanus!

“To the attention of the Press and Public,

On July 2, 2014, Okyanus Özyavuz, a trans male individual, ended his life. A successful athlete, Okyanus pointed out the reason behind his suicide via a note he shared on his social media account, ‘What’s the fucking use of being normal?”

As hundreds of trans individuals who understand what Okyanus was going through by his one remark, we would like to explain why he died: Close your eyes and imagine…. That you wake up in the morning in a body which you feel is not compatible with your sex, that you cannot tear it up the way you can a disappointing dress and that you are drowned in that flesh as well as the looks, remarks and the harassment of those that see you in that flesh.

Imagine nobody being able to see or understand who you really are… Imagine everyone you know pushing you and being hostile to you because that body is not compatible with you, and imagine being more drawn into yourself day by day. You can’t take it? Why not change? Make a choice between lying to yourself forever and taking on the whole world. Change, despite the possibility of being labeled ‘abnormal’ but to be yourself… Then imagine putting up with not being identified as ‘normal’ ever again.

Even if you do understand a part of what we are saying, we are sure that you will spread the news with a different name than that our friend chose and we insist on calling him ‘Okyanus.’ We pay more heed to his preferred male identity, expressed by his chosen name and his attire, than the female identity the government brands on us by only glancing at our crotches. And we accuse you! You killed Okyanus. You journalists, mothers, fathers, teachers, brothers, sisters or lovers! You, who do not know how to love unconditionally, kill a part of us every day with the constant repetition of the ‘normal – abnormal’ dichotomy.

We, trans individuals, live everyday and every moment struggling against you. You try to suppress us through pressures by society, family and government so that you can protect that wholly fictional, damned “normal.” Well, we are not suppressed! We will not apologize for existing! You disregard us and discriminate us by regulating everything from bathrooms to vocational schools according to your own “normal.” Still, we keep going and when we object to how we are treated and cry out for our human rights, you test us with every kind of violence, death and/or suicide and try to wipe us out. Well, we will not be wiped out!

Failing to add any clauses to the new Hate Crimes Law regarding the LGBTI means the government ignores us even under the threat of violence and that trans individuals’ right to life is not guaranteed in this country. The state’s insistence on being an accomplice in every event of discrimination through its police, teachers, doctors and law, its constant violation of our rights such as the rights to shelter, education and employment are just a few of the reasons providing a base for these suicides and murders. We announce here: The state is the perpetrator, the society is the perpetrator and the “normal” is the perpetrator!

You killed yet another pure and clean part of us, but we are still here! Our heads held high! We stand strong against you organized and in solidarity! Neither your ignorance, nor your violence, not even your slayings will be able to change this. You will see us wherever you turn your head. Get used to it, we are here and we are not going anywhere.”

T-Kulüp (Trans Male Culture Production Platform)


Having suicidal thoughts? Please, please stop long enough to read this. It will only take about five minutes:

To the best of our knowledge, the online and IRL resources below will provide you with a safe and non-judgmental space.

IRC / Chatlines


Sexual Assault Resources

If you know of any other suicide resources where you live or work, please do let us know so that we can add them to our website. To contact us, email us at , or see


The winners of the genetically modified tomato awards did not claim their awards this year either

Source: Elvan Yarma. “Hormonlu domates ödülleri’nin sahipleri bu yıl da ödülü almaya gelmedi,” (“The winners of the genetically modified tomato awards did not claim their awards this year either”), Hürriyet Kelebek, 28 June 2014,

The tenth annual award ceremony of The Genetically ModifiedTomato Awards, given to homophobes, took place last night. The Awards Ceremony was initiated by LGBTI solidarity foundation Lambdaistanbul and is organized with the support of other LGBTI associations. For the first time this year, the Genetically Modified Tomato Awards took place in a municipal building. The Municipality of Şişli made available the Şişli Urban Cultural Center for the ceremony.

For those who are curious, the name “Genetically Modified Tomato” dates back to 2005 when [former football referee and current football commentator] Erman Toroğlu declared, “don’t eat genetically modified tomatoes, they will make you gay.” This statement had earned him the first ever Genetically Modified Tomato Award. The Awards Ceremony is one where the handing of awards is accompanied not with applause but with booing. The ceremony started with Mademoiselle Coco (nickname for Seyhan Arman) mentioning this Sunday’s Pride Parade with her idiosyncratic style: “Oh honey but I heard they were not going to let us walk this year!”

Organizations from various provinces participated in the ceremony including Purple Fish from Trabzon, Zeugmadi from Gaziantep, Istanbul Bears from Istanbul and many more. The organization network has become so large that as Mademoiselle Coco read the list of associations she kept saying, “Oh you’re one of us too?” When the awards were being handed out, the presenters expressed their dismay at not being able to award all the candidates and wishfully said, “Perhaps one day they may accept that they are wrong and come to receive this award.”

Victims of hate murders and those subjected to hate crimes were commemorated during the ceremony. As the organizers put forth, “If 99% of a social sector are sex workers, there’s a problem.”

When I attended the “hormone party” that took place at the Neo Club after the Awards, this time it was I, as a heterosexual person, who felt like the “other.” Lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans individuals danced together at the club. But lining up against the sidewalk at the exit, I noticed that they all stood a foot apart from me. Who knows? Perhaps that gap will be filled when Turkey is changed so that hate murders and words of “homosexuality is a disease” are not everyday occurrences and when homosexual individuals may be considered as presidential candidates.


Politics: PM Erdoğan, for initiating a defamation case about the tweet, “It is not as if we will learn from you how to be a fag.”

Media: Yeni Akit Daily, for the following court defense, “Homosexuality and its derivatives are psychological disorders.”

Entertainment: Okan Bayülgen, for saying that there is an increase in homosexuality because young boys end up having to have intercourse with each other due to a scarcity of brothels.

Education: Yeditepe University, for banning one trans woman from entering campus and for turning down the application of a student LGBTI research group, with the explanation that the club would “degrade the university’s reputation.”

Sports: Former Fenerbahçe footballer Mateja Kezman, for saying that homosexuality is a disease and that it should not be encouraged, and for other homophobic declarations when footballers in Amsterdam decided to offer support for Pride.

Social spaces: Kızılay Shopping Center, for banning entry to three trans women with the words of “We don’t allow your kind in here.”

Censorship: The Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM), for banning access to LGBTI organizations’ websites.

International: Russia, for legally banning homosexual propaganda.

Institution: The Ministry of Internal Affairs, for allegedly putting pressure on the police officer, who had lost his job due to sexual discrimination, into providing the names of other gay members of the police force.

We had the opportunity to speak with Gizem from Lambdaistanbul before the ceremony.

What is the purpose of these awards?

The main purpose is to identify homophobic and transphobic persons and institutions.

What would you say bothers LGBTI individuals most in Turkish society and politics?

We are not accepted, not in terms of our rights and not in terms of visibility. The discourse of “homosexuality is a disease” is still widespread among many politicians. On the other hand, we are glad to see changes in the approaches of BDP [Peace and Democracy Party], HDP [Peoples’ Democratic Party] and CHP [Republican Peoples’ Party] towards homosexuality in the last few years. As per AK Party [Justice and Development Party], we don’t anticipate any such change from them any time soon.

The presidential elections are coming up. Will there be candidates who represent you?

My personal opinion is that none of them represent me. We recently heard Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu [joint candidate for the Republican Peoples’ Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) -trans.] declare, “Homophobia is not a universal matter.” The candidates are quite explicit about where they stand.

Do you think that Turkey may have a homosexual president in the future?

Of course. Why would we keep fighting if we did not believe this! Unfortunately though, I don’t think this will happen in the near future.

Do you think that there have been changes in how public or private corporate firms regard LGBTI individuals?

There have always been LGBTI individuals working in corporate firms. What we want is for them to be visible in those workplaces. During a recent investigation in relation to a gay police officer losing his job, the Ministry of Internal Affairs released a written statement saying, “Homosexuality is disparaging for civil service. The society needs to see honorable and reputable individuals in office in order to trust in such institutions.”

Homosexual Week from the Consulate

Source: İpek Yezdani, “Eşcinsel Haftası Konsolosluktan,” (“Homosexual Week from the Consulate,”) Hürriyet, 28 June 2014,

American and Turkish LGBTI university students met at a panel hosted by the Consulate General of the United States of America within the scope of the “Istanbul 2014 LGBTI Pride Week”. The students shared their stories and their difficulties.

American and Turkish LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and intersex) university students discussed their experiences in university campuses and dorms as well as the homophobic attitudes they are exposed to.


“I Became Ela in Istanbul”

At the panel hosted by the Consulate General of the United States of America in Istanbul at Tophane Studio X, Marvin Alfaro from New York University, Öktem Usumi from Boğaziçi University, Tuğkan Gündoğdu from Istanbul University, and Ela Kaçar (trans) from Bilgi University shared their experiences. Kaçar said, “I was born in Samsun, I went through terrible thing during middle school, I came out to my mom at age 16. Then I became Ela in Istanbul. I started my university life with my identity as Ela and I was very happy in the first years because I could be there in my real identity that is my female identity. However, a few years later, it was revealed that I had become a woman through surgery and my friends’ behaviors towards me changed. They started calling me a convert (dönme) behind my back. I went through huge traumas. Then I joined the LGBTI movement and became an activist.”

The Consul General of the United States of America Charles Hunter emphasized the importance of the panel and explained the personal importance of the issue by saying, “I felt obligated because of my personal connections. I am gay and I do not hesitate to say this.”


Thousands March on Istiklal Avenue for ‘Trans Pride’

Source: Yıldız Tar, “Binler ‘Trans Onuru’ İçin İstiklal’de Yürüdü” (“Thousands March on Istiklal Avenue for ‘Trans Pride’”), 22 June 2014,

Thousands of people marched on Istiklal Avenue to claim trans pride and say that the state is the real perpetrator in trans murders.


The fifth trans pride week, which was organized around the theme “the state is the real perpetrator” ended with a march on Istiklal Street. The week, which commenced with putting up the rainbow flag on the Bosphorus Bridge, was also concluded with fitting glamour. Thousands of people chanted, “We are transvestites. We are here. Get used to it. We are not going anywhere.”


Malatya Pride: We are neither alone, nor wrong!

Source: “Malatya’da onur yürüyüşü: Ne yalnızız, ne de yanlış!” (“Malatya Pride: We are neither alone, nor wrong!”) Kaos GL, June 23, 2014,

The Malatya Youth Initiative against Homophobia and Transphobia held the first ever pride parade in the city.

“At school, at work, in the parliament, gays are everywhere – Malatya Youth Initiative against Homophobia and Transphobia”

The eastern city of Malatya hosted participants from the surrounding cities such as Adiyaman, Antep, Bingol and Elazig as well as from Istanbul. Although the police did not let the parade take place in the planned route, those who watched the parade from their balconies showed their support with their zilgit (tongue lashing) and those driving by honking.
The rainbow family group “Families of LGBTs in Istanbul (LISTAG)” who came to Malatya for the screening of the documentary “My Child” which tells the stories of families that have LGBT kids also joined the parade.

“I am a mother of a gay, My child is gay, My daughter is lesbian”

Malatya Youth Initiative against Homophobia and Transphobia is one of the local LGBT groups that have formed after the Gezi Park protests last year.

Bridging Disability and LGBTI movements…

Source: Özgecan B. “Sakatlık ve LGBTI hareketleri arasında bir köprü…” (“Bridging Disability and LGBTI movements…”) Radikal Blog, 22 June 2014,

Good things happen too!

I have volunteered for various causes and supported many projects, some realized, others not. But this time around, I am excited in an entirely different way and I would like to share it.

It all started with us being involved in the Activism Program conducted by SPoD (Social Policy, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association) in September. As participants in this program, we were expected to break into groups, propose and carry out projects in relation to the LGBT movement. My group decided to work on the issue of “disabled LGBTI individuals”. We were not sure whether we would quickly disengage or actually succeed but to this day, we are actively continuing the Disabled LGBTI project! I have always admired those projects from afar, where you see someone spending time to really improve lives, thinking, “Someone is (thankfully) taking care of this and we have a chance to get involved.” Now we are past that point and I can really say that it is an exceptional feeling to be at the front center of the type of project I used to regard with such admiration…

So let me tell you a little bit about it:

This project, which we hope will be sustainable, aims to conduct research and work on current disability and LGBTI issues that we think may turn into social problems in the future. We organize meetings that focus on the questions of: Which kinds of projects are practically feasible? What must be done to reach an extensive number of people? How may we devise progressive resolutions? It is through these discussions that we develop the project. These efforts are geared to design projects that focus on disabled LGBTI individuals so that the disability movement and the LGBTI movement, which at the moment stand removed from each other, may be bridged.

At first we read up on various issues and conducted discussions on concepts including, “normal,” “loss of ability” and “disability and sexuality.” We engaged with the question of how the term “handicapped” is different from the term “disabled” and looked into social approaches besides medical approaches with regard to disability. We also participated in an awareness study entitled, “Education on Correct Approaches to the Disabled.” At this time, we are working towards conducting weekly meetings/gatherings with disabled LGBTI individuals. We are working with GETEM (Technological and Educational Laboratory for the Visually Disabled) to dub LGBTI related books and we are in the process of contacting the Kadıköy Municipality Center for the Disabled. Finally, we are extremely excited to be holding a Disabled LGBTI panel within the framework of Pride Week!

You can follow our activities through the following links [in Turkish]: and

You can also reach us at [email protected], should you wish to participate in our ongoing activities or contact us.

Turkish Psychological Association launches LGBTI unit

Source: “Türk Psikologlar Derneği’nden LGBTİ Çalışmaları Birimi,” (“Turkish Psychological Association launches LGBTI unit”),, June 20, 2014,

The Turkish Psychological Association (TPD) launched an LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex) Unit to work against homophobia and transphobia.
TPD on May Day 2014 in Ankara
The unit will conduct awareness-raising activities on the rights and freedoms of LGBTI people aimed at psychologists, relevant occupational groups, students in psychology departments and the general public. The LGBTI Unit will hold its first meeting on June 29, 2014. The Turkish Psychological Association stands against all kind of attempts to ‘convert’ LGBTI people.


UPR Submission by Turkey’s LGBT Organizations

We are excited to be sharing our Universal Periodic Review submission of “Human Rights Violations of LGBT Individuals in Turkey” to the United Nations. 

The Universal Periodic Review

The Universal Periodic Review “has great potential to promote and protect human rights in the darkest corners of the world.” – Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique process which involves a review of the human rights records of all UN Member States. The UPR is a State-driven process, under the auspices of the Human Rights Council, which provides the opportunity for each State to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to fulfil their human rights obligations. As one of the main features of the Council, the UPR is designed to ensure equal treatment for every country when their human rights situations are assessed.

The UPR was created through the UN General Assembly on 15 March 2006 by resolution 60/251, which established the Human Rights Council itself. It is a cooperative process which, by October 2011, has reviewed the human rights records of all 193 UN Member States. Currently, no other universal mechanism of this kind exists. The UPR is one of the key elements of the Council which reminds States of their responsibility to fully respect and implement all human rights and fundamental freedoms. The ultimate aim of this mechanism is to improve the human rights situation in all countries and address human rights violations wherever they occur.

The Universal Periodic Review of Turkey

The second-cycle review of Turkey will take place in January-February 2015. While Turkey submits its own State report, Turkey’s civil society organisations is providing their reports on Turkey’s human rights situation. The joint report by the Human Rights Joint Platform highlights Turkey’s failure in applying the accepted recommendations in the first-cycle and human rights violations since 2010. The joint LGBT submission highlights human rights violations of LGBT individuals in Turkey since 2010.

Human Rights Violations of LGBT Individuals in Turkey

This report is a joint submission by Kaos GL Association, LGBTI News Turkey, and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) (ECOSOC accredited NGO), to the United Nations Human Rights Council on the occasion of the 21st Session of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review. This submission presents human rights violations in Turkey on account of actual or perceived sexual orientation and/or gender identity. These violations consist of acts of violence against LGBT individuals, discriminatory domestic laws, arbitrary administrative measures, and hostile approach of State officials towards the LGBT community.

In preparing this submission, we relied on documentation and data from the following sources: LGBT organizations and allies in Turkey; reports by national and international human rights NGOs; the European Commission’s Annual Progress Report; Concluding Observations of the UN Human Rights Committee’s review of Turkey’s compliance with the ICCPR; recommendations from Turkey’s first-cycle UPR; Turkey’s Constitution and recent legislation; and media reports of violence and discrimination against LGBT individuals.

Please see the full report here: UPR: Human Rights Violations of LGBT Individuals in Turkey

Istanbul Pride Week Calls for Your Support!

Source: “İstanbul Onur Haftası Desteklerinizi Bekliyor!” (“Istanbul Pride Week Calls for Your Support!”), 27 May 2014,

The 22nd Istanbul LGBTI Pride March will take place on Sunday, 29 June 2014. LGBTI Pride Week calls for your support to fund the march and Pride Week events through this indiegogo campaign.


Turkish daily newspaper Hürriyet columnist Ayşe Arman spoke with Görkem Ulumeriç from the LGBTI Pride Week committee about this year’s Pride Week:

Who is organizing Istanbul LGBTI Pride Week?

A crowded group of volunteers. It includes LGBTI organizations, members of the media, lawyers, academics, teachers, bankers, university students, artists, and sex workers. It’s an unbelievably colorful and big family. It grows constantly with the support of LGBTIs from all over Turkey, from Izmir to Mardin. Pride Week is the time when LGBTI people’s struggle for rights and demands are put on the agenda.

Who attends the week?

Everyone who thinks “We can transform the world into a better place together, and I can contribute to this!” Our motto has been: “If you are not here with us, we are one too few” for years. We have changed it and we now say: “If you are not here with us, we are so too few.” The efforts of LGBTI people are never enough and this is the case all over the world. If we imagine a shared world that respects all identities, without discrimination based on language, religion, race, sexual orientation or gender identity, we will succeed through everyone’s efforts.


Pecuniary Fine to Pişkin in “Fag” Tweet Case

Source: Ömer Akpınar, “‘İbne’ Tweet’i Davasında Pişkin’e Para Cezası!” (“Pecuniary Fine to Pişkin in “Fag” Tweet Case,”), 22 May 2014,

LGBTI activist Levent Pişkin has been fined 1500 Turkish Liras (720 USD) in the case started against him by Prime Minister Erdoğan for “fag” tweet.

In the second hearing of the case on 22 May 2014, Pişkin has been punished in the lower limit for written defamation (Turkish Penal Code 125/2). Pişkin was sentenced to a fine of 1500 TL to stand for 2 months and 15 days of jail time. Pişkin spoke to about the decision.

“The judge gave a lower limit sentence out of fear”

Pişkin declared that he will make a complaint to the Constitutional Court because the sentence given is below the appeal range. He said, “It should have been a decision of acquittal. The judge gave a lower limit sentence out of fear.”

In the first hearing of the case, the judge had told Pişkin: “Don’t be scared, we are judges of 17 December. Tell your side freely.” The second hearing, which was to take place on 25 March was postponed and the judge was changed.




LGBTI people march against Hate Crimes and Worker Deaths

Source: Yıldız Tar, “LGBTI’ler Nefret ve İş Cinayetlerine Karşı Yürüdü,” (“LGBTI people march against Hate Crimes and Worker Deaths,”), May 18, 2014,

The ninth Anti-homophobia Meeting organized by Kaos GL concluded with a march against homophobia, transphobia, hate and workplace murders.* Thousands joined the march dedicated to the hundreds of workers who were killed in the Soma Mine. Signs such as “Soma: We know the Murderers” and “Either we will be emancipated together; or we will rot together” were carried at the protest that began at the Ankara University’s Cebeci campus.


Those who joined the protest included representatives of LGBTI organizations from Ankara, Istanbul, Mersin, Adana, Diyarbakır, Kars, Dersim, Malatya, Antalya, İzmir, Eskişehir and Antep as well as representatives from HDK (the Democratic People’s Congress), ESP (The Socialist Party of the Oppressed), SYKP (the Socialist Reconstitution Party), SDP (the Socialist Democracy Party), SGD (Socialist Youth Associations) and ÖGK (Free Young Woman). LÖB (High School Students Union) and IHD (Human Rights Association) were present with their uniforms. And the red flag finally reached out for the rainbow.


Homosexuals Won, TRT Lost Again!

Source: Halil Kandok, “Eşcinseller kazandı, TRT gene kaybetti!” (“Homosexuals Won, TRT Lost Again!,” ), Radikal Blog, 11 May 2014,

The Eurovision contest took place, again without TRT (Turkish Radio and Television Corporation) this year, and the Europeans did not miss TRT at all. The same enthusiasm and thrill were present. For several years some countries like Italy and Austria boycotted the contest and refrained from participating. Did we miss them then? No. Why would they miss us? TRT may continue to present the point system as an excuse to boycott the contest and pretend like it sits at the center of the world when in fact everyone is off having fun.

Actually, TRT is probably glad that they were not a part of Eurovision this year. Because this year would have been devastating for them. They would not have been able to tolerate a trans woman with a beard. Given that even our homosexuals and transsexuals have trouble coping with this sight, which contradicts gender perceptions, TRT would not have been able to indulge this at all, being the sexist institution that it is. As far as I know, they did not even air the show. As they declared last year, it seems that they were unwilling to spend money on a show that brings no ratings!

The winner of this year’s Eurovision is not just Austria’s contestant Conchita Wurst. Homosexuality and transsexuality are also winners. Conchita ranked at the top from beginning to end, receiving 10 or 12 points from nearly all of the participating countries. This shows that Europe no longer has a problem with homosexuality or transsexuality. Obviously, LGBTI communities would have voted for Conchita as well. This shows that LGBTI communities have been able to organize together.


“Faggots, do not organize in Malatya or else it will be bad!”

Yıldız Tar, “İbneler, Malatya’da Örgütlenmeyin Kötü Olur” (“Faggots, do not organize in Malatya or else it will be bad!”),, 2 May 2014,

On April 29, in Malatya, “unidentified individuals” assaulted and threatened a gay youth: Do not organize in Malatya or else the result will be bad!”

Attacks continue against  LGBTI people’s (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex) struggles for freedom, equality and existence.

A member of the Malatya Youth Initiative Against Homophobia and Transphobia was assaulted by “unidentified individuals” on April 29th in Malatya. The assailants seized the gay youth’s phone and threatened them: “Do not organize in Malatya, if you go further, we are not responsible for what happens.”

“Do not organize in Malatya; we are not responsible for what happens!”

Emir Çoban, the threatened person’s roommate and member of the Malatya Youth Initiative Against Homophobia and Transphobia, told what happened:

“My roommate left work to go home on April 29th. On his way home, at around 10:00 pm, they blocked his way. They held his arms; they asked for his phone and money. My roommate gave it to them. They then threatened my roommate. They said, “Do not organize in Malatya; if you go further, we will not be responsible for what happens.”


Open Call for 5th Pride Week Exhibition

Seçil Epik, “Ay Resmen Açık Çağrı (Ay, Open Call, Officially!), TimeOut Istanbul, April 2014,

As we count down to the 22nd Pride Week festivities, we received an invitation for an exhibition. For  this year’s Pride Week exhibition, first held in 2009,  the title  “Who Would Have Thought” and a concept of multiple exhibits on a particular parade route have been considered.  Seçil Epik spoke with Metin Akdemir and Efe Songun of the exhibition committee about the open invitation and the details of the exhibition.

Before we come to the 5th Pride Week Exhibition, shall we recall  the ones in the previous years?

Metin Akdemir:  The first exhibition was “Uprising and Pride” held in 2009 at Hafriyat to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. As you know, the Stonewall Riots, which broke out following a police raid in New York of a bar called Stonewall Inn, are viewed as the beginning of the open resistance of the LGBT movement. In the exhibition held in 2010,  the theme was “Family” and the works displayed examined and sought to expand the narrow meaning of the concept of Family. The title of the 2012 exhibition was “Oppression, Pleasure and the Body” and it was held in Cezayir. In this exhibition, works on display were concerned with the politics of the body which the system imposes on us.

Last year the Pride Week theme was “Resistance” and it was also influenced by the Gezi events. This year the theme has been decided as “the Big Explosion”.  We are announcing the title here for the first time. How did this title emerge?

MA:  It emerged with the question of “What did the LGBTI movement experience in the past and how, at this point, does it look to the future?” We thought this is the right time to explore this question. What will be the number of people in the parade which had reached 50,000 last year? Has the LGBT movement’s visibility really increased or is it a simulation? Does homophobia in society still exist? Has there really been a big explosion? We want to see all these.