SPoD

LGBTI activists meet for equality in municipalities

LGBTI activists from six cities met within the scope of SPoD’s Municipal Equality Index project, and discussed LGBTI politics in local administration.

Source: Umut Güven, “LGBTİ aktivistleri belediyelerde eşitlik için buluştu,” kaosGL.org, 23 January 2017, http://www.kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=22885

The activist stakeholders’ meeting within the scope of SPoD’s Municipal Equality Index project took place on Jan. 21 in Istanbul.

LGBTI organizations from six different cities met to discuss current municipal policies and goals.

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Aim: Create visibility for municipal work

The project aims to make visible the work of LGBTI-friendly municipalities through the index, and encourage municipalities to be LGBTI-friendly in the long term. The advisory committee for the project met in December 2016.

The meeting began with a presentation by SPoD’s Academic Coordinator Neyir Zerey on the NGO’s activities in political representation and LGBTIs’ demands in Turkey.

The meeting continued with activists sharing experiences on relations with local administrations and the project they’d like establish.

Open Society Foundation’s Program Coordinator Didem Tekeli said the foundation is open to applications on realizing such local projects and may offer grants.

“Education within municipalities is a must”

The meeting ended with a discussion on index criteria for the project.

Besiktas Municipality Assembly Member Sedef Çakmak emphasized the importance of education within the municipal institution and said:

“Some municipalities may be hesitant to work on the LGBTI field. It would be incorrect to label this hesitancy as homophobia or transphobia. In order to combat this attitude that is rooted in a lack of information, education within the municipal institution is crucial.”

SPoD activists met with municipality employees the following day.

 

Municipal Equality Index is in Turkey for More LGBTI Friendly Municipalities

SPoD LGBTI transfers Municipal Equality Index Project to Turkey. The index serves as a roadmap for municipal services to include LGBTIs.

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Source: Çiçek Tahaoğlu “Daha Fazla LGBTİ Dostu Belediye İçin Belediye Eşitlik Endeksi Projesi Türkiye’de” (“Municipal Equality Index is in Turkey for More LGBTI Friendly Municipalities”)  Bianet, 27 January 2017 http://bianet.org/bianet/lgbti/183068-daha-fazla-lgbti-dostu-belediye-icin-belediye-esitlik-endeksi-projesi-turkiye-de

Sosyal Politikalar Cinsiyet Kimliği ve Cinsel Yönelim Çalışmaları Derneği (SPoD) [Trans. Social Policies, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association] transfers Municipal Equality Index project to Turkey.

SPoD, which builds a bridge between local governments and LGBTI activists, aims to highlight the practices performed by LGBTI friendly municipalities by using this index and encourage LGBTI friendly practices across Turkey in the long run.

Municipal Equality Index, (MEI), which has been in practice in the US for five years, is now spread across 506 cities. The index evaluates the extent to which the municipalities include LGBTIs in the law, policies and practices.  Anti-discrimination laws, the assessment of the municipality as an employer, the level of inclusion of services, the law enforcers and of course the public stances of the mayors regarding equality are points of evaluation. Scores are given based on the criteria defined under these headings. Every year a report card is given according to their level of compliance with these criteria and those which get high scores are rewarded.

In the meeting of the partners of the project the criteria of Municipality Equality Index Project planned to be applied in Turkey were discussed, with the participation of Ankara Çankaya Municipality, Bursa Nilüfer Municipality, Çanakkale Municipality, Eskişehir Metropolitan Municipality, İstanbul Şişli Municipality, İstanbul Kadıköy Municipality, İstanbul Beylikdüzü Municipality, İstanbul Beşiktaş Municipality, İzmir Karabağlar Municipality and Mersin Akdeniz Municipality.

5 Municipalities that Signed LGBTI Friendly Municipality Protocol

Since it was founded, SPoD has been conducting studies for the local governments to include LGBTIs. The association had prepared the LGBTI Friendly Municipality Protocol before the local elections of March 30, 2014 and the protocol was signed by 40 mayor candidates from BDP, CHP, DSP, HDP and TKP. Currently there are five municipalities which have signed the protocol: CHP’s Istanbul Kadıköy, Beşiktaş, Şişli Municipalities and Bursa Nilufer Municipality, DBP’s Mersin Akdeniz Municipality. (Akdeniz Municipality was appointed a trustee on December 18 and its Equality Unit and all its activities were halted.)

“Equality Index is a road map”

SPoD project coordinator Neyir Zerey says that Municipality Equality Index Project can be considered as a continuation of the protocol prepared before the local election and she adds:

“ The number of municipalities which are active on LGBTI related issues is actually more than five. Aside from that, there are municipalities that would like to do something about the issue but has not carried out any activities yet and does not know how to proceed.

“ The evaluation criteria on the index is a road map, an action plan. After that the argument ‘We want to do something but do not know how’ will cease to be.”

What are the potential criteria?

The work on Municipality Equality Criteria continues, currently the criteria are listed under four main headings:

Under the heading “Institutionalization of awareness” there are over ten criteria such as trainings inside and outside the institution, the inclusion of the terms of gender and sexual orientation in the strategic plans, the preparation of the budgets with regards to LGBTI needs, the acceptance of the anti-discrimination rules by the companies that are employed by the municipalities, and establishing Equality Units.

Criteria such as relations with LGBTI community and associations, support for special days and commemorations are listed under “LGBTI Presence in Participatory Municipality”.

Under the heading “LGBTI Awareness in Services”, there are articles on the facilitation of the LGBTIs’ access to services.

The last title is “Public visibility, reputation and esteem”. These are criteria such as sharing messages to increase the recognition and visibility of the LGBTIs and using billboards and others outdoors screens for gender equality.

Rainbow Cities Network

İstanbul Beşiktaş Belediyesi ve İstanbul Şişli Belediyesi. There are currently two municipalities which are members of the network: İstanbul Beşiktaş Municipality and Istanbul Şişli Municipality.

Gizem Aykanat from Equality Unit of Beylikdüzü Municipality:

Equality Unit was recently established in our municipality. Right now we are working more on women’s issues. We directed our attention on these issues in our action plan and as “disadvantaged groups” in our regulations. Surely there is a concern about getting reactions, we have already experienced problems with our partners and our own employees while talking about male-female relationships and had some obstacles.  We listened to Nilüfer Municipality’s experiences in the meeting, and they told us that they went to the schools, and that they have received both positive and negative reactions on  the work they did with LGBTIs. This motivated us. From now on we will focus more on LGBTI issues and try to work with the articles in the index.

Çankaya Municipality Women and Family Services Director Asiye Ülkü Karaalioğlu:

We scheduled activities regarding the LGBTIs in our municipality’s Local Equality Action Plan. But we are a new directorate. This meeting has been very productive on communication and planning what we can do by looking at what is happening at other municipalities. Each criteria is a task on its own. Now we know what we need to do. This has been a road map for us. I think it’s practical, though we might need to spend some time with higher administrations. If we give them  training first, maybe our task will be easier.

Ali Sevilen from Equality Unit of Bursa Nilüfer Municipality:

Equality Units are not very active in Turkey unfortunately.  We are trying our best to be active together with Şişli, Beşiktaş, and Mersin Akdeniz Municipalities.  We believe that working only on gender  equality is futile, and we don’t think it’s possible without the LGBTI work.  The LGBTI movement is actually a milestone for gender  equality, the vegan-vegetarian movements, anti-discrimination and the anti-violence struggle. The Index Project is very valuable. The equality work in municipalities should become a policy so that these activities can continue even when the administration changes.

Human Rights Observation Report of 19 June 2016 Trans Pride March

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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

 

Hate Campaign against Pride March

An organization named “Muslim Youth of Anatolia” has started a hate and lynching campaign on social media against Pride Week that will be celebrated during the last week of June. Facebook administration indicated that the page, which openly calls for an attack, “does not violate standards”.

Source: Mehmet Akın, “Onur Yürüşü’ne karşı nefret kampanyası”, Agos, 14 June 2016, http://www.agos.com.tr/tr/yazi/15648/onur-yuruyusu-ne-karsi-nefret-kampanyasi

 

Hate and lynching campaigns were started against the LGBTI Pride March which is celebrated in the last week of June every year. An organization by the name of “Muslim Youth of Anatolia” opened an event on Facebook, inviting people to attack Pride March. The event titled “We won’t let the dishonorable perverts walk” invites people to meet in Taksim on June 19 [when Trans Pride will take place]. The posts about this event have also been shared on Twitter.

The invite reads “We won’t let the dishonorable perverts walk! Do not let the disgrace that is ironically called Pride March take place on June 19. Intervene! We are waiting for you.”

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Messages and images which invite the people to attack Pride March are published on the event page on Facebook. Harun Sekmen, a reporter from Yeni Akit daily, infamous for its news filled with hate speech against LGBTI and Enes Babacan, another reporter from Millet daily sent messages of support to the event page. Images that are assumed to belong to ISIS and photos of people being tortured are also being shared on the event page.

LGBTI activists reported the event to Facebook administration. Facebook administration first sent a message to the activists, stating “We examined the page and saw that it does not violate our community standards”. Upon complaints the page was closed as of today.

SPoD: We are starting the legal process

Lawyer Rozerin Seda Kip, from the board of Social Policies, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association (SPoD) has stated that they will be following up on this discourse of hate. Kip has said “We will not let animosity and rage be spread in our society by those who made this call. LGBTI associations will start the necessary legal process as soon as possible”.

Neither the Governor’s Office nor the Ministry of Internal Affairs made a statement about security measures to be taken for Pride March.

During a press statement yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli stated “We don’t know really, but if it’s permitted necessary security measures would be taken as well.”

 

Balkans and Turkey Regional LGBTI Network Association Founded

LGBTI associations from seven countries in the West Balkans and Turkey came together between 18-26 July in Belgrade to form a regional network association.

Source: “Balkanlar ve Türkiye Bölgesel LGBTİ Ağı Derneği Kuruldu”, (“The Balkans and Turkey Regional LGBTI Network Association Is Founded”), Pembe Hayat, 27 July 2015, http://pembehayat.org/haberler.php?id=827

After a year of planning coordinated by Labris, a twenty-year old lesbian association based in Belgrade, the regional network initiative is becoming an association in September.

Formed by 27 organizations from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, FYR Macedonia, Serbia, and Turkey, the new regional network association was accorded the name  [the] Equal Rights Association (ERA).

The participant organizations debated issues relating to strategic planning, analysis, bylaws, membership procedures, leadership procedures, and activity plans during a week-long meeting in Serbia’s capital city, Belgrade. The representatives of the 27 participant organizations also debated the name of the association, its logo, the location of its headquarters, and related procedures.

The Balkans and Turkey Equal Rights Association, or ERA as it will be known in short, will be registered as an association by 15 September 2015. Based in Belgrade, the association is expected to start activities in October.

Joined by Pembe Hayat, Kaos GL, Listag, and SPoD from Turkey, the association will dedicate its first year to capacity building and recruiting more LGBTI organizations to its ranks.

Focusing on the countries currently integrating to the European Union, ERA will work to bring LGBTI and human rights records to the negotiation table and highlight the countries’ records on discrimination based on sexual orientation, sexual identity, gender expression, and sex characteristics. The ERA will also conduct advocacy work in collaboration with international organizations such as the European Council, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, and the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency. ILGA Europe and Transgender Europe have supported the founding of the ERA and its prospective work in bringing visibility to LGBTI issues in the Balkans and Turkey.

From August onwards, the ERA will issue a call for applications for candidates for the executive board from member organizations. The members of the executive board will be elected in the first general assembly of the association, scheduled to take place on 15 September 2015.

57 Candidates for Parliament Promise to Protect LGBTI Rights

Edit 09 June 2015: See the following link for an updated list of candidates who signed the LGBTI Rights Pledge, along with the 21 who entered Turkey’s 25th parliament.

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57 candidates for parliament signed SPoD LGBTI’s LGBTI Rights Pledge ahead of the elections and promised to protect LGBT rights. 

57 candidates for parliament from Malatya, Edirne, Izmir, Ankara, and Istanbul have signed the Social Policies, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Studies Association’s (SPoD) LGBTI Rights Pledge ahead of the June 7 parliamentary elections. Among the signatories are Aylin Nazlıaka, Enis Berberoğlu, Sezgin Tanrıkulu, Filiz Kerestecioğlu, Melda Onur, Pınar Aydınlar, Şafak Pavey, and Musa Çam who say that they LGBTIs are not alone in their struggle.

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Yeni Akit: Support for Homos by the CHP and the HDP

The Republican People’s Party (CHP) and People’s Democratic Party (HDP) had their homo love rekindled. The CHP and the HDP, which had previously listed homosexual candidates for the June 7th general elections, now are also signatories to a campaign for homosexuals’ ugly demands.

Source: Hüseyin Kulaoğlu, “CHP ve HDP’den homo’lara destek” (“Support for Homos by the CHP and the HDP”), Yeni Akit, 27 May 2015, http://goo.gl/5eeI6f

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The Republican People’s Party (CHP) and People’s Democratic Party (HDP) had their homo love rekindled. The CHP and the HDP, which had previously listed homosexual candidates for the June 7th general elections, now are also signatories to a campaign for homosexuals’ ugly demands. 39 [sic] MP candidates, with prominent names such as Enis Berberoğlu, Şafak Pavey, and Elif Bulut, have become signatories to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex (LGBTI) Rights Pledge that was organized by the Social Policies, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Studies Association (SPoD).

Şafak Pavey, the CHP’s MP candidate for Istanbul, reported that she will continue defending LGBTI rights as she did before and that she will carry the responsibilities brought on by this signature with honor.[1]

On the other hand, Musa Çam, the CHP’s Izmir 1st Region MP candidate, claimed that LGBTI rights are the most basic human rights and said “We will do everything we can for LGBTIs.”

HDP Candidates: Homosexuals are not alone

Sevda Özer and Ali Haydar Konca, MP candidates for Kocaeli from the HDP, reported in their statement following their signature of the pledge that LGBTI individuals are not alone in this struggle and that anyone who finds guidance in liberties should support this struggle.[1]

That pledge has the following signatories:

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