LGBTI

LGBTI rights is not a matter of right or left; it’s about human rights!

The bell rings and LGBTIs meet at the “Politics School” for political participation. School participants share their thoughts with KaosGL.org…

Source: Yıldız Tar, “LGBTİ hakları sağ sol meselesi değil, insan haklarıdır!” (“LGBTI rights is not a matter of right or left; it’s about human rights!”), Kaos GL, 3 March 2015, http://www.kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=18870

SPoD LGBTI (Social Policy, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association) is running a campaign entitled “LGBTIs in the Parliament” which includes the “Politics School” that is currently active in Istanbul.

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Two Veins Intersect

Source: Tuğba Esen, “İki Damar Kesişti,” (“Two Veins Intersect,”) Agos, 27 June 2014, http://www.agos.com.tr/haber.php?seo=iki-damar-kesisti&haberid=7546

The exhibition “who would have thought” is taking place in two different settings called Hayaka Artı and Maumau as part of the 22nd Istanbul LGBTI Pride Week. We have asked the same question to Fatih Özgüven, who is on the advisory panel of the exhibition, so that he can evaluate, in a way, the journey of LGBTI individuals and of queer art from past to present.

Huseyin Rustemoglu, 'Puzzle'

Huseyin Rustemoglu, ‘Puzzle’

The “Who would have thought” exhibition is taking place in two different locations called Hayaka Artı and Maumau as part of the 22nd Istanbul LGBTI Pride Week. The exhibition organized by the Pride Week Exhibition Commission was designed as a retrospection that includes past and present examples of queer art. After the open call made in March, works including video, photography and paintings were selected by the advisory panel consisting of Canan and Erinç Seymen, Fatih Özgüven and the Tobacco Warehouse Team.

We asked Fatih Özgüven, who is on the advisory panel of the exhibition, the same question – “Who would have thought” so that he can evaluate, in a way, the journey of LGBTI individuals and queer art from past to present.

“This exhibition presents examples of intersections where the paths of those who define themselves as LGBTI and of modern art collide.” Fatih Özgüven goes on to tell the story of these intersections: “These two veins have made a mark on Turkey’s recent (cultural) history. About 20 or 30 years ago it was difficult to mention that you worked on ‘modern art’ the same way it was to be an ‘LGBTI’ individual. Or let me put it like this; the same way we could not predict Gülsün Karamustafa or Füsun Onur, who practiced in the 70s and 80s, to stand out as modern artists and have retrospective exhibitions in their names, we could not fathom the crowds large enough to fill pride walks. There were always some marks of homosexuality in fields such as literature, music and theatre but, maybe because these were old and rooted, some codes were developed. Even listening speeches made by relatively outspoken figures like Zeki Müren and Nahid Sırrı Örik, one has to strip them of these codes and redefine them. This is not the case in modern art. It is a young and new field that defies definitions… This is why it is much more compatible with new identity policies. Nothing is more suitable to intersect than these two plots. This exhibition (named as such) is one of the outlets of these intersections.”

You can visit the exhibition until June 29th and observe the reflections of modern art on queer culture while looking for answers to the question “who would have thought?”

Rainbow Colors of Turkey’s May Day

Source: Yıldız Tar, “LGBTİ’ler 1 Mayıs’ta 18 Şehirde Alanlarda!” (“Rainbow Colors of Turkey’s May Day”), Kaos GL, 02 May 2014, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=16481

LGBTI people in Turkey took the streets in 18 different cities for May Day: Let’s get liberated together!
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LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex) people took the streets all over Turkey on International Workers’ Day. Rainbow flags were carried in Adana, Ankara, Antalya, Antep, Balikesir, Canakkale, Dersim, Diyarbakir, Eskisehir, Giresun, Iskenderun, Istanbul, Izmir, Kayseri, Kocaeli, Malatya, Mersin and Trabzon this year, making it the biggest LGBTI participation on the day.

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Adana

Adana: That kind of job!
LGBTIs gathered in Adana upon the call of Queer Adana and marched behind the banner “that kind of job”. They carried placards such as “love between women exists” and “don’t touch my willpower”.

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Ankara

Ankara: We will get either liberated or decayed altogether!
Having taken the streets for the first time in 2001 as an organized group, LGBTIs gathered in front of Ankara Train Station. Kaos GL and Pink Life Associations as well as independent LGBTI activists marched behind the banner “we will get either liberated or decayed altogether!”

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Antalya

Antalya: Workers and faggots hand in hand for a sexual and class revolution!
Pink Carette LGBTI filled Antalya with rainbow flags as well as their banner “workers and faggots hand in hand for a sexual and class revolution”.

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Antep

Antep: Homophobia out, colors in!
ZeugMadi LGBT stood against homophobia and transphobia with a banner “homophobia out, colors in.”

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Balıkesir

Balikesir: What’s prohibition, ayol*?
LGBTI in Balikesir marched with Balikesir Branch of Human Rights Association and said: What’s a prohibition, ayol[1]?

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Çanakkale

Rainbow flags in Canakkale
LGBTIs took the streets in Canakkale and became a part of the May Day demonstration.

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Dersim

Dersim: A world with no bosses, no pimps, no violence and no exploitation
LGBTIs in Dersim gathered upon the call of Rostiya Asme Initiative with participation of LGBTIs from neighboring cities. They demanded a world with no bosses, no pimps, no violence and no exploitation.

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Diyarbakır

Diyarbakir: Keep up the struggle!
KeSKeSoR LGBT marched with rainbow and KeSKeSoR flags. Participating in every social action for many years, LGBTIs in Diyarbakir said “keep up the struggle”.

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Eskişehir

Eskisehir: Generally immoral!
MorEl made a call for the May Day demonstration in Eskisehir and marched with placards “generally immoral”, “what if I am a faggot” and “sexual orientation in the Constitution”.

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Giresun

Giresun: No to the sexist and homophobic system!
Giresun opened a banner “no to the sexist and homophobic system” and carried rainbow flags.

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Iskenderun

Iskenderun: What’s a boss, ayol[1]?
Iskenderun Colors of Freedom took the streets with a banner “what’s a boss, ayol*?”

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Istanbul

Istanbul: Rainbow at the barricades
LGBTIs in Istanbul met in the district of Sisli in order to march to the prohibited Taksim Square. Rainbow flags were present at the barricades during the all-day-long clashes.

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Izmir

Izmir: LGBTI rights, a labor issue
LGBTIs in Izmir painted May Day in rainbow colors and said “LGBTI rights, a labor issue”.

Kayseri

Rainbow in Kayseri
LGBTIs in Kayseri marched with their rainbow flags among the People’s Democratic Party (HDP).

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Kocaeli

Kocaeli: LGBTI everywhere!
LGBTIs in Kocaeli said “LGBTIs are everywhere” and flourished a freedom struggle in the city.

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Malatya

Malatya: Homophobia out, colors in
Malatya Youth Initiative Against Homophobia and Transphobia said in the meeting stage “homophobia out, colors in”.

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Mersin

Broad participation in Mersin
Mersin 7 Colors increased the volume of the song of freedom in the city. The demonstration saw a broad participation with many people giving an open support to the LGBTI struggle.

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Trabzon

Rainbow in Trabzon, too!
Trabzon Purple Fish LGBT participated in the demonstration with their rainbow flags, saying “we are everywhere”.

[1] Ayol is an exclamatory word associated with femininity and taboos and can mean “well”, “hey”, “wow”. The word itself has been in use in colloquial Turkish and underground LGBTI culture, however, its full and current appropriation by LGBTI organizations is a recent phenomenon that started with the Gezi Resistance in May 2013.  One of the first uses was in a banner “What’s forbidden, ayol!” during protests on Istiklal Avenue in Taksim, Istanbul. “Ayol” has been appearing as graffiti across Turkey since then. “Resist ayol” was used as a twitter hashtag for 2013 Pride Week. Its importance is rooted in the fact that though “ayol” was used by LGBTI organizations, it has been accepted and appropriated across groups in the Resistance. One explanation for its popularity can be found in the feeling that the word transcends and frees traditional gender roles and power relations; it imparts a sense of freedom…

The police officer, who was expelled from the profession for being gay, speaks

Source: “Eşcinsel olduğu için meslekten ihraç edilen polis konuştu,” (“The police officer, who was expelled from the profession for being gay, speaks,”) t24, 09 March 2014, http://m.t24.com.tr/haber/escinsel-oldugu-icin-meslekten-ihrac-edilen-polis-konustu/252935

The gay police officer who was accused of unchaste conduct and expelled from the profession, said, “If, in 18 years, I had once made myself visible as gay, one day, and been fired upon a complaint, I would not have been sorry..”

The gay police officer being accused of “unchaste conduct” while on duty was fired and expelled from the profession as a result of the statement he submitted to the Morality Desk. He was fired and banned from the profession on the grounds that he “consorted with women who worked in brothels or worked alone at premises such as bars, taverns, casinos, etc. where prostitution takes place, or consorted with women and men reputed to be unchaste and lived like husband and wife.” The officer appealed to the administrative court but his appeal was rejected.

The police officer, who was fired for being gay, spoke to Burcu Karakaş. Below is the interview that was published in the Turkish daily newspaper Milliyet:

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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.

I Attempted Suicide

Source: Burcu Karakaş, “İntihara teşebbüs ettim,” (“I Attempted Suicide,”) milliyet, 02 March 2014, http://gundem.milliyet.com.tr/-intihara-tesebbus-ettim-/gundem/detay/1845217/default.htm?ref=OtherNews

I attempted suicide

A homosexual police officer in Gaziantep was fired due to being charged with the crime of “unchastity.” The police officer applied to the Administrative Court for the annulment of the decision but was rejected. He said, “I went through a huge trauma. I attempted suicide. The judges decide according to their own moral rules. According to them, we do not even have the right to life.”

A homosexual police officer’s life has changed when the Morality Desk raided his friend’s house in Gaziantep. The officer was taking food to his friend. After an unidentified person’s tip-off, the police officer, who chose to remain anonymous, and his friend were obliged to go with the officers from the Morality Desk to the police department and to give their statements.

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The Story of an HIV Positive Gay Man: At First They Show Compassion, Then They Flee

Source: Yıldız Tar, “HIV+ Bir Eşcinselin Hikayesi: Önce Acıyor, Sonra Kaçıyorlar,” (“The Story of an HIV Positive Gay Man: At First They Show Compassion, Then They Flee,”) kaosGL.org, 24 February 2014, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=15889

Hasan Atik: As someone living with HIV, you are exposed to discrimination everywhere. They do not even want to pull my teeth. At first, people show compassion, then they run away, treating me like I am a monster.

HIV is a virus that makes your immune system deficient. If a person develops a serious infection due to having HIV, or if the immune system’s cells, which can be measured by blood tests, are highly depleted, then this can be classified as AIDS.

We spoke with Hasan Atik who has been living with HIV, something we know very little about, but everyone often talks about a lot. He spoke about the the difficulties of being HIV positive and gay: “HIV is a disease wrongly attributed to only gay people. It makes me sad to be the person who confirms this (stereotype).”

His story is one of segregation in every place, be it the law, health or social relationships. “The goal is to protect the other person from us. This is “othering” us. The situation – where we are already a monster in the eyes of the public – becomes worse.

Let us begin with the fact that you are person living with HIV in Turkey. What type of difficulties are you facing?

You are exposed to every type of discrimination – even the simplest of things. For example, a few days ago I went to the dentist to get my wisdom teeth removed. They did not remove my teeth, telling me a bunch of lies. The doctors were constantly speaking about me with each other. They did not even want to take an X-ray. While I was waiting in the waiting room, I heard the nurses speak about me. They were speaking in loud voices so I would hear and leave. In terms of health services and personal communication, we are exposed to an inordinate amount of discrimination.

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