Pembe Hayat

Kaos GL: Film Ban Determined to be not within the Jurisdiction of Ombudsman!

Ombudsman Institution stated that the ban against Kuirfest film screening is not “within the jurisdiction” of the institution.

Compiled from: “Film ban determined to be not within the jurisdiction of ombudsman!” (“Film yasağı Kamu Denetçiliği’nin görev alanında değilmiş!”), Kaos GL, March 19, 2018, http://kaosgl.org/yazarlar.php?id=4002

“Kuir Kısalar” (“Queer Shorts”) was a film screening, organized in collaboration of KuirFest with Pera and British Council and was scheduled to take place on November 25, 2017. The screening was first postponed to a later date with a notification sent to Pera Museum by the District Governorship. Another notice delivered to Pera Museum on December 29 stated the event was postponed until January 12. The screening was ultimately banned on the premises that “public safety” should be provided. Pink Life Association’s petition to the Ombudsman Institute regarding the ban was rejected on the grounds of “no-investigation.” Pink Life Association’s lawyer Emrah Şahin applied to Ombudsman on January 4 stating the “Kuir Kısalar” screening was banned unlawfully and that the parties were notified of the ban on the last day, which violated the legal right to appeal. Şahin stated that freedom of speech as well as “good administration principles” were violated.

District Governorship Demanded Dismissal

The defense statement of Beyoğlu District Governorship indicated that “Kuir Kısalar” might be targeted by terrorist organizations and that this situation could lead to a civil war. The District Governorship stated that it does not aim to other LGBTI+ individuals or to limit rights and liberties, instead the rejection was intended to prevent crime and to protect the public order.

The District Governorship did not state any reason for why the event was cancelled on the last day and opposes any review of this decision.

No Investigation Decision from Ombudsman Institute

Upon receiving the Beyoğlu District Governorship’s defense, Ombudsman Institute rejected the application for an inspection of the ban decision on the premises that the incident is not within the “assigned mandate” of the institution.

A “Careless and Sloppy Decision”

Lawyer Emrah Şahin stated his views on the decision of Ombudsman Institute to reject the application. Şahin reported the reasons the District Governorship has are same as the decision to ban Pride Walk. Thus, the issue has been handled in a sloppy manner. Ombudsman’s statement that the issue is “not within their jurisdiction” is self-contradictory.

Şahin said: “As you know we applied to Ombudsman Institute following the last day ban against our event which was scheduled to take place at Pera by Beyoğlu District Governorship. As the ban was issued on the day before the event, the Association was deprived of the right to appeal the decision since there was not enough time. Therefore, the association has suffered irrevocable harm and Beyoğlu District Governorship violated the “good administration principles” as well as interfered with the right to access justice, freedom of speech, the right to assembly, to art and property rights. Based on these reasons, we petitioned Ombudsman for further information and the Governorship of Istanbul based its decision on memos from Ministry of Interior and the Security Directorate which stated: “the walk planned by LGBTI members could potentially be targeted by terrorist organizations, given the increase in the threats of terrorist acts against our country.

Neither the dates or numbers of these memos were indicated. The banned event is not a ‘walk.’ Indeed, it is a film screening! The memos on which the decision is built were obviously memos written about ‘Pride Walk’, yet Ombudsman Institute found these responses to be adequate. The administration does not clarify why the ban was issued on the last day either. The Ombudsman Institution did not comment on this practice, which is blatantly against the “good administration principles.” Instead, Ombudsman determined there would be “no investigation” after first suggesting our application for review is “within the domain of legislation” only to retract by stating that it is “not within their jurisdiction”, leading our association to pursue further legal avenues.

“As a law practitioner, my confidence in Ombudsman Institute is lost after this decision. Such careless and sloppy decision making on such an important matter perhaps stems from the institute’s hesitation in making an advisory ruling on this issue.” –Pink Life

Kaos GL and Pink Life: Ankara governor’s ban on LGBTI events illegal

Source: “Kaos GL ve Pembe Hayat: Valilik kararı hukuka aykırı,” Nov. 19, 2017, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=24994

We learned that the governor’s office of Ankara bannedfrom November 18, 2017 onwards, activities of LGBTT-LGBTI organizations such as film screenings, cinevision, theater plays, panels, talks, exhibitions which include certain social sensitivities and sensibilities” via its website.

We will follow legal proceedings on the governor’s illegal, discriminatory and arbitrary ban. There can be no legitimate or legal grounds for such a wholesale ban that touches the core of rights.  

In an omnibus ban with a very wide scope, we are facing a situation that is vague, open to interpretation and rights violations, criminalizing LGBTI existence. LGBTI civil society organizations are respectable institutions working for years to combat discrimination and hate crimes for equal citizenship. This ban, which goes beyond limiting the areas of activity of these institutions and making them inoperable, cannot be accepted in a democratic society.   

Ankara governor’s office’s grounds for the omnibus ban, including the phrases “protecting public health and morality,” “social sensibilities and sensitivities,” “public security” and “protection of other people’s rights and liberties” are clearly discriminatory. This decision legitimizes rights violations and discrimination against LGBTIs.

This decision and the illegal and vague grounds for it violate the very fundamental freedom of expression and association as well as other fundamental rights and freedoms. With this ban, fundamental rights have been interfered with in their essence.

Ankara governor’s office’s decision to ban violates our constitution’s Article 10 on equality and Article 26 on freedom to announce and disseminate thoughts, as well as international agreements Turkey is party to.  

With this announcement the civil administration is endangering public safety by turning LGBTIs and civil society organizations, who are an important part of the public, into targets instead of fulfilling its duty to ensure public security.  

We expect this decision to be rethought and withdrawn in the shortest amount of time. In our country where discrimination and hate based on sexual orientation and gender identity is rampant, it is the duty of national and local administrations to combat this discrimination and hate.

 

“Where is Hüseyin?” Trans Woman Reports Lover Assaulted and Kidnapped by Family in Turkey

Deniz, a transwoman, recently called Pink Life LGBT Association to notify them that her lover Hüseyin was kidnapped by his family and has been incommunicado. Concerned that the family who have physically assaulted Hüseyin and Deniz might further hurt Hüseyin, we ask: Where is Hüseyin?!

Source: “Hüseyin Nerede?” September 22, 2016, Pink Life , http://pembehayat.org/haberler.php?id=1241

Deniz, a trans woman who lives in Bursa, contacted Pink Life Association’s lawyer Rıza Yalçın Koçak and told him that Hüseyin’s family cut in front of them in their car while the two of them were walking on the street. After physically assaulting both, the family fired shots into the air with their guns, forced Hüseyin into the car and drove away, reported Deniz.

Directed by lawyer Rıza Yalçın Koçak, Deniz went to the Bursa Public Prosecutor’s Office and filed criminal charges. The Prosecutor’s Office started the process and issued a protection order for Deniz in compliance with Law 6284.

“They don’t want their son to be lovers with a transvestite”

Lawyer Koçak directed Deniz to the family’s summer home in Küçük Kumla as the most probable location where Hüseyin might be detained. Following the correspondence over the phone with the Küçük Kumla Gendarmarie Station, a request was made to the station to send the gendarmerie, accompanied by Deniz, to check the addresses to find Hüseyin. The commander at the station spoke with lawyer Koçak and told him, “Don’t worry, we will take care of this.” However, later that night the same station told Deniz that the address in question was not within their jurisdiction and sent her to the Gemlik Police Station. A military officer who identified himself as the station commander and spoke to lawyer Koçak made the following statement that lays bare their approach to the issue: “Hüseyin is alright, we met with the father, he is not going to hurt him, but he does not want his son to be lovers with a transvestite, either.” Despite lawyer Koçak’s efforts, the Küçük Kumla  Gendarmerie Station did not call the family into the station to take their statement.

Lawyer Koçak contacted the Gemlik Police Station where Deniz was sent. At the station, Koçak explained the urgency of the situation and requested that the family be brought to the station for a statement. Gemlik Police Station first claimed lack of jurisdiction over the address. When Deniz and lawyer Koçak persisted, they told Deniz that they would conduct a raid at the address, took Deniz with them, and instead of raiding the address, they dropped Deniz off in Bursa city center.

The following day, Çelik Özdemir from Istanbul LGBTT Solidarity Association spoke with Pink Life lawyer Rıza Yalçın Koçak and offered their support. Ali Sevilen and Gülbiz Alkan from Bursa Free Colors (Bursa Özgür Renkler, an LGBT association) also joined the process in solidarity.

First, the group met with Bursa MP Orhan Sarıbal and requested that he should demand information about the situation. The group also contacted Bursa MP Nurhayat Altaca Kayışoğlu to ensure that the representatives were informed about the situation.

Deniz was subsequently directed to the Merinos Police Station after Pink Life received information that the family gave a statement at the station located in the Bursa city center. Lawyer Koçak also met with the police at the station. The police merely stated that Hüseyin was alright with no further comment or information.

Accompanied by activists from Bursa Free Colors, Deniz first went to the Gemlik Police Station. Here activists were told Hüseyin was fine, that he even filed charges against Deniz and did not want to see her. The station produced no evidence in support of these claims. Lawyer Koçak inquired at the Bursa Public Prosecutor’s Office by submitting Hüseyin’s ID and determined that Hüseyin had not filed any charges against Deniz.

“No Police Officer on Duty”

Activists from Bursa Free Colors were told by the Gemlik Police Station to go to the Merinos Police Station to give supplementary statement without which, they claimed, they could not do anything. Activists took Deniz to the Merinos Police Station but were told that there was no police officer on duty thus no statement was taken.

Upon lawyer Koçak’s request, Bursa MP Orhan Sarıbal went to the Merinos Police Station and reported the following: “Merinos Police Station told me Hüseyin is fine. But they have not seen him. We told them they would be culpable for anything bad that happens and left the station.”

Deniz subsequently went to the Bursa Governor’s Office and filed a petition that Hüseyin is missing and that there is concern about his safety. Governor’s Office forwarded the petition to Bursa Security Directorate. Lawyer Koçak met with Bursa Security Directorate and explained the situation.

Bursa Security Office Arrogation Bureau stated that they were on the case, but as of September 22, 8:00 pm, lawyer Koçak was told on the phone that Hüseyin gave a statement at the Merinos Police Station and he was fine.”

However, during the last meeting, Merinos Police Station had claimed that they had not taken Hüseyin’s statement and were unaware of the matter.

“The picture that has emerged makes us all the more concerned for Hüseyin’s safety”

Pink Life lawyer Rıza Yalçın Koçak made the following statement regarding the case:

“As we are trying to explain,

Both law enforcement officers, gendarmerie and police have adopted a partisan attitude and refused to fulfil their official duties. In the face of conflicting information given by them, we are led to conclude that law enforcement is being dishonest. The picture that has emerged makes us all the more concerned about Hüseyin’s safety.”

Hüseyin may currently be detained by his family.

Hüseyin may currently be subject to torture and maltreatment.

What we have experienced strengthens this thought and we hereby declare to the public that Gemlik Police Station, Küçük Kumla Gendarmerie Station, Merinos Police Station, Bursa Security Directorate and Bursa Governor’s Office, and foremost, Hüseyin’s family will be culpable for anything bad that happens to him. We reiterate our concern and ask one more time:

Where is Hüseyin?”

 

Suspect who attacked trans woman with an iron stick: I am not done with you!

After being caught, one of the people who attacked trans women with an iron stick threatened them by saying ‘I am not done with you’ in Ankara Bülbülderesi. The attacker was released pending trial.

Source: “Trans kadınlara demir sopayla saldıran zanlı: Sizinle işim daha bitmedi!” T24, 3 September 2016, http://m.t24.com.tr/haber/trans-kadinlara-demir-sopayla-saldiran-zanli-sizinle-isim-daha-bitmedi,358251

According to Pink Life’s news, the captured attacker went to trans woman S’s house pretending to be a customer and tried to extort her.

The attacker first left when the trans women did not file a complaint, but then came back with three others, in a car without a license plate, to threaten the women there.

The attacker was caught when the licence plate of the first car was detected. The attacker then threatened the trans women who went to the police station to identify him.

Rıza Yalçın Koçak, a lawyer from Pink Life Association, called the police headquarters to demand protection after the attacker’s attitude.

The policeman, who approved Koçak’s demand of protection on the phone, rejected the demand by saying ‘We are extremely busy, we cannot deal with you’ to the trans women.

The attacker was released pending trial.

Trans woman commits suicide in Turkey

Azize Ömrüm, a sex worker who lived in İzmir, committed suicide due to not being able to stand social pressure. One of Azize Ömrüm’s closes friends, trans activist Öykü Ay said, “We are all responsible for this suicide.”

Source: “Trans Kadın İntihar Etti”, pembehayat.org, 22 August 2016, http://pembehayat.org/haberler.php?id=1210

azizeomrum

After the suicide of Azize Ömrüm, a sex worker trans woman, Öykü Ay was quoted as saying “Azize was different from all of us. She only loved once, but her lover’s parents broke them up. Azize could not stand that her lover got married by force with another person. She told her love to all of us. She was telling this so frequently, we could not understand her strong feelings. Then she found her solution by isolating herself.”

Ay also mentioned that Azize wanted to be a chef and not a sex worker. Ay stated “She used to cook very well. The only person whose bed she wanted to get in was that of her lover. But she had to be a sex worker because of her life condition. The system did not let her  work in another job. She could not handle the burden and was lonesome” and mentioned that the whole of society is responsible for Azize’s suicide, including her friends.  

As Pembe Hayat, we all offer our condolences to everyone in the trans community.

Protest for Azize in Ankara!

After Azize’s suicide, High School LGBTI in Ankara invited everyone to gather against transphobia. High School LGBTI stated “We are gathering in front of the Human Rights statue in order to not stay silent but to be the voice of Azize’s scream” and invited all anti-transphobic people to Yüksel Street at 7 pm.

 

Having suicidal thoughts? Please see our list of resources: https://lgbtinewsturkey.com/2015/03/04/suicide-resources/

Human Rights Observation Report of 19 June 2016 Trans Pride March

transonur16sener_5

Kaos Gay and Lesbian Cultural Research and Solidarity Association (Kaos GL), Families of LGBTI in Istanbul (LISTAG), Pink Life LGBTI Solidarity Association, and Social Policies, Gender Identity, and Sexual Orientation Studies Association (SPoD) declared that they would monitor and report rights violations experiences during the march. In this report, we share with the public our observations gathered before and during the march. This report is a short summary of the events and does not present all the rights violations. The main picture seen from observations of our monitors in the field and news is that on 19 June 2016, Istanbul Governor’s Office, Police Headquarters, and transphobic gangs in civilian clothes violated LGBTIs most basic human rights who experienced violence and harassment.

English Report: Human Rights Observation Report of 19 June 2016 Trans Pride March

Türkçe Rapor: 19 Haziran Trans Onur Yürüyüşü Gözlem Raporu

 

# BeşiKuirBirYerde 5th Pink Life QueerFest

Jan. 14-21 – Ankara

Jan. 22-24 – Istanbul

Organized by Pink Life LGBTT Solidarity Association, Pink Life QueerFest is celebrating its 5th year in 2016. This year’s venues for QueerFest are Büyülü Fener Cinema, Contemporary Arts Center of Çankaya Municipality, and Torun in Ankara and French Institut, Pera Museum, and Goethe Institute hosted by Başka Sinema in Istanbul. Embracing various genres including documentary, video, and animation as well as feature-length fiction films in its program, the festival also features a short film competition in its 5th year. The winner of the competition whose jury includes director and screenwriter Ümit Ünal, Oslo/Fusion International Film Festival director Bard Ydén, and cinema writer Gözde Onaran will be awarded with cash prize. The festival will also give the director of the winning film the opportunity to participate in Cannes or Berlinale.

5th Pink Life QueerFest is commemorating Chantal Akerman who has recently passed away with her first feature-length film I, You, He, She (Je, tu, il, elle, 1975) which she directed and starred in at the same time. The film is a rather bold production with its provocative aesthetics as well as its real-time lesbian lovemaking scene that has been etched in our memories.

This year the festival will greet its audience with Different From The Others (Anders Als Die Andern,1919), one of the first examples of LGBTI-themed silent films brought by the collaboration of Istanbul Silent Film Days and Goethe Institute; Coming Out (1989), the first openly gay film of East Germany; and American director Tom Kalin’s Swoon (1992) which is considered to be one of the most important films of New Queer Cinema. The program will include the screenings of documentaries Prince Charming, Don’t Come In Vain (2009) and We Are Marching (2006) in memory of LGBTI activists Boysan Yakar and Zeliş Deniz who lost their lives in a traffic accident this year and who produced the two films together with Aykut Atasay in the section ‘Queer Comradeship’. There will also be a commemoration event after the screenings in which activists Mahmut Şefik Nil and Doğa Asi Çevik, who also passed away this year, will be paid homage.

In the section ‘Under the Rainbow’ the festival, which will be inaugurated with the screening of Esen Işık’s Köpek (2015), will host Seashore (Beira-Mar, 2015), a Brazilian production that concerns a coming-of-age story which is at the same time a story of coming-out; The Blue Hour (Onthakan, 2015), a scary and mysterious Thai production which drew a great deal of attention in Berlinale; Broken Gardenias (2014), a US production that conveys serious issues such as abandonment and discrimination with a tone of humor; While You Weren’t Looking (2015), a film that unfolds the experiences of gay identities in South Africa with respect to race and class as well; Everlasting Love (Amor Eterno, 2014), a Catalan production that does not miss a beat thanks to its tense atmosphere; Summer of Sangaile, (Sangailes Vasara, 2015), a film which, remarkable for its cinematography, is Lithuania’s candidate for the Academy Awards; and Lonely Stars (Estrellas Solitarias, 2015) a trans story from Mexico that is highly reminiscent of Yeşilçam melodramas.

This year the section ‘Queer Documentaries’ will host Welcome To This House (2015), the latest film by Barbara Hammer, one of the most prominent figures of experimental cinema, which is a masterpiece adorned with interesting anecdotes from the sensational life of Pulitzer Prize winning lesbian poet Elizabeth Bishop. The section will also host biographical films such as Tab Hunter Confidential (2015) which deals with the problems that Tab Hunter, one of the idols of 50s’ Hollywood, faces within the studio system as his gay identity is revealed as well as his efforts to reconstruct his career with his open identity in the face of great hardships and The New Man (El Hombre Nuevo, 2015), a Teddy Award winning documentary that follows the traces of the convoluted past of Stefania, a trans woman in today’s Uruguay who used to be a Sandinista guerilla in Nicaragua as a child as well as productions such as Misfits (2015), award-winning documentary maker Jannik Splidsboel’s latest film that tells the story of the members of an LGBT youth center in Oklahoma, and Madame Phung’s Last Journey (Chuyen di cuoi cùng cua chi Phung, 2014).

The festival continues to host programmers from festivals abroad this year. The history of black queer movement will be discussed together with director Topher Campbell and programmer Jay Bernard upon the screenings of films from the British black queer cinema in the section ‘Qara Queer’ programmed with the collaboration of BFI Flare. The festival program will also include a queer animation section prepared by DOK Leipzig programmer Annegret Richter and containing award-winning films.

See the Queer Fest Flyer!