SPoD LGBTI

SPoD LGBTI on IDAHOT: Of course we are in politics!

Social Policies, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association (SPoD LGBTI) organized a cocktail with the call “Of course we are in politics” for the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia on 17 May. Politicians, lawyers, psychologists, and academics joined the cocktail and emphasized LGBTI rights.

Social Policies, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association (SPoD LGBTI) organized a cocktail with the call “Of course we are in politics” for the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia on 17 May. The Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) Istanbul co-spokesperson Ayşe Erdem, the HDP’s Istanbul 2nd District Candidate and LGBTI Rights Pledge signatory Gülsüm Ağaoğlu, the Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) Istanbul 2nd District Candidate and LGBTI Rights Pledge signatory Gül Yüksel as well as representatives from LGBTI organizations, SPoD’s volunteer lawyers, psychologists, health-care workers, and academics joined the cocktail.

In the opening remarks, SPoD’s President of the Board Volkan Yılmaz informed the guests on the association’s work and called on them to support LGBTI associations. SPoD’s Political Representation Coordinator Sezen Yalçın said the eradication of homophobia and transphobia requires a long-term struggle. Yalçın emphasized the importance of LGBTI participation in politics and informed guests about the In School, at Work, at the Parliament election campaign with the idea that “We are used to politics, politics and politicians should get used to us”. Yalçın said 33 candidates for parliament have signed the LGBTI Rights Pledge ahead of the 7 June general elections and that the signatories are increasing daily.

Beşiktaş Municipality Mayorial Advisor and SPoD’s Board Member Sedef Çakmak reminded guests that very few parliamentarians were reached in the mid 2000s when LGBTI associations faced the threat of closure. She emphasized the increase in number of LGBTI rights supporters in many levels of politics and how important this win is.

Istanbul 2nd District Independent Candidate Batuhan Aydagül signed the LGBTI Rights Pledge and said he will take the problems of youth facing discrimination in education due to sexual orientation and gender identity to the parliament.

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LGBTI NEWS TURKEY is the official translation source for SPoD LGBTI’s “In school, at work, in the parliament: LGBTIs are everywhere!” campaign, which is endorsed by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC).

33 MP candidates signed the LGBTI Rights Pledge

A number of candidates running for parliament membership from various cities such as Malatya and Edirne have signed the LGBTI Rights Pledge. The human rights organization SPoD LGBTI had formulated the open pledge and asked candidates to publicly sign it. By signing the aforementioned pledge, the candidates promised to defend LGBTI rights in the parliament.

33 MP candidates signed the LGBTI Rights Pledge

The LGBTI Rights Pledge was made public for MP candidates’ signatures prior to the general elections of June 7 by the Social Policy, Gender Identity, and Sexual Orientation Studies Association (SPoD LGBTI) and has thus far received the signatures of 33 candidates. The pledge was proposed as part of the LGBTIs in the Parliament campaign, whose aim was to increase the visibility of human rights violations suffered by LGBTI individuals and to create a society where no individual faces oppression due to their identities. Women from the HDP [Peoples’ Democratic Party] were the first candidates to sign the pledge as they  declared “We are the rainbow.” Recently, new signatures were added to the pledge.

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Representatives from SPoD LGBTI were in Ankara on April 28-29 to present the LGBTI Rights Pledge to politicians. Selina Doğan, the CHP’s [Republican People’s Party] first rank candidate from the second district of Istanbul, signed the pledge in addition to Zelal Deniz Demir, the HDP candidate from Ankara, Aylin Nazlıaka, the CHP candidate from Ankara, and Selin Sayek, the CHP first rank candidate from Izmir’s second district.

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After the HDP, CHP candidates also sign the LGBTI Rights Pledge

Istanbul 2nd district candidates Melda Onur, Enis Berberoğlu, İnan Güney, and Gül Yüksel visited SPoD LGBTI before the June 7 general elections. The Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidates signed the LGBTI Rights Pledge after the women candidates of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), who declared “We are the Rainbow.”

SPoD LGBTI representatives, who have started the “LGBTI in the Parliament” campaign for the active inclusion of LGBTIs in decision- and policy-making processes and who drafted the LGBTI Rights Pledge, asked candidates for parliament to advocate for LGBTI rights in the Parliament.

Melda Onur emphasized the importance of the presence of LGBTIs in the Parliament with their open identities and said, “We have worked to bring LGBTI issues to the Parliament. We will continue to do so after the elections.” Enis Berberoğlu stated that they will work to get more CHP candidates to sign the Pledge and said, “The CHP’s 2015 Election Manifesto declared that it will work against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. As you know the manifesto includes the sentence that we will work against all discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity through legislation and sanctions. This is a fundamental human rights issue.”

In the coming days, candidates from other cities and parties are expected to sign the LGBTI Rights Pledge.

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SPoD LGBTI’s “In School, at Work, in the Parliament: LGBTIs are everywhere!” and Demands

SPoD LGBTI, 23 February 2015

As lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) individuals living in Turkey, we experience social prejudice and discriminatory policies due to our sexual orientation and/or gender identity in access to health care, housing, education, employment and other areas of life.

Our country’s constitution and laws either ignore or fuel discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Despite international agreements Turkey is party to, our country still does not recognize LGBTIs as equal citizens.

Hate crimes and violence that target LGBTI individuals rise every day. Social pressure and discrimination lead many of our friends to suicide.

The LGBTI rights movement of more than twenty years in Turkey continues its work to ensure that LGBTIs live in a just society as equal and free individuals and the ability to exist in all aspects of social life freely. As part of this movement, we believe that the solution to LGBTIs problems can only be possible when LGBTIs can use all of their political rights, including the right to vote and be elected with their open LGBTI identity.

We think the presence of LGBTIs in politics carries great importance to actualize LGBTIs right to life, health care, housing, and employment.

We see the 10% election threshold in Turkey’s election system as one of most fundamental obstacles to democratic and just representation. Like other disadvantaged groups facing discrimination because of the lack of justice in representation, we argue that the direct participation of LGBTIs in decision-making mechanisms is a non-negotiable part of democratization.

As the general elections approach, we have started our “In school, at work, in the parliament!” election campaign to involve LGBTIs in decision- and policy-making processes. Our demands from candidates for parliament membership, political parties, and party leaders are:

  • Policy suggestions for LGBTI rights and freedoms should be part of election campaigns.
  • All impediments to LGBTI political participation should be lifted. The necessary precautions must be taken to ensure that LGBTIs serve in all levels of the political establishment with their open LGBTI identity.
  • Steps must be taken to actualize rights-based social policies. Election campaigns should share with the public plans to ensure that LGBTIs have equal access to education, health care, housing, employment, retirement, senior citizens’ rights, income support and other social policies.
  • Steps must be taken to ensure that the new Constitution drafting process be a transparent and participatory one. Approaches to the protection of all human rights, including LGBTI rights, must be shared with the public.
  • Cooperation with the LGBTI movement to actualize LGBTI rights must be established.

LGBTI NEWS TURKEY is the official translation source for SPoD LGBTI’s “In school, at work, in the parliament: LGBTIs are everywhere!” campaign, which is endorsed by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC).