Victory Institute

Advisor to the Şişli Mayor to Work with LGBTI organizations in the USA

Şişli Municipality Mayor’s Advisor Boysan Yakar has been accepted to an exchange program with two LGBTI organizations in the USA. Yakar talked to about the exchange program, his work in the municipality, and the place of LGBTIs in politics.

Source: Ömer Akpınar, “Şişli Belediye Başkanı Danışmanı ABD’de LGBTİ örgütlerinde çalışacak”, (“Advisor to the Şişli Mayor to Work with LGBTI organizations in the USA”),, 27 April 2015,

Boysan Yakar, Advisor to the Şişli Municipality Mayor, has been accepted to the Professional Fellows Program with a scholarship to observe the legislative process in the US. Throughout the month of May, Yakar will work with two LGBTI organizations that operate on a national and international level. He will also participate in a candidacy training program for LGBTIs who are considering participating in politics.


“It is important to adopt these efforts for our own local conditions through the Şişli Municipality.”

Q: You will work with the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and the Victory Institute for two weeks each as part of the exchange program. The HRC is known for its work on marriage equality, while the Victory Institute works for the emergence of LGBT leaders. What excites you about working with these two institutions?

The LGBTI rights movement has made significant and irreversible gains with the Obama administration in particular. The HRC works for LGBTIs’ right to marry and for the right to equal services in municipalities on both the federal and state levels. The Victory Institute campaigns for LGBTI and allied representatives in several state elections. It is important to hear about their experiences as part of this process and to discover ways to exert pressure.

I aim to learn about their past campaigns while I am in the US. I also want to work on figuring out what kind of alliances we can build with Turkey’s LGBTI movement. What excites me the most is the chance to observe districts and municipalities in Washington D.C. that work for LGBTIs, immigrants, women, and other minorities. It is important to adopt these efforts for our own local conditions through the Şişli Municipality.

I have seen the importance of SPoD LGBTI’s “LGBTI-Friendly Municipality” Campaign, where I was also a candidate for the local elections in 2014. It was an important experience to positively use the election atmosphere and the gains of the LGBTI movement with Istanbul’s municipalities. It is clear that the “LGBTI in the Parliament” Campaign will yield even more positive results this year.


Invitation from the USA for LGBTI Activist and politician Sedef Çakmak

SPoD LGBTI (Social Policy, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association) activist and Beşiktaş Mayoral Advisor Sedef Çakmak will attend two events in the USA to describe her involvement in politics as an openly gay activist and politician.

Source: “ABD’den LGBTİ aktivisti ve siyasetçi Sedef Çakmak’a davet”, (“Invitation from the USA for LGBTI Activist and politician Sedef Çakmak”),, 7 December 2014,

Sedef Çakmak is a board member at SPoD LGBTI. At the same time, she is the advisor to Beşiktaş Mayor Murat Hazinedar. She embarked on her political career as an openly bisexual woman. In the USA, she will recount her political activities as well as her experience in the local elections and the strategies that she believes LGBTI individuals must adopt in the future.


Çakmak will first attend a panel at the International LGBT Leadership Conference organized by the Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute in Washington DC between 4-7 December. She will deliver a talk as an LBT (lesbian, bisexual, trans) politician and in her talk she will focus on the process of taking part in politics in Turkey, her political campaign, media portrayals of her as a gay politician and her opinions in regard to the future state of LBT women politicians.

Gay and trans women on the path to parliament

On Saturday (December 6th), Sedef Çakmak will deliver a talk at a panel entitled “Women Out to Win: The Path to Parliament” at the same conference.

On the World Human Rights Day, she will talk about the LGBTI movement in Turkey

During this visit to the USA, Sedef Çakmak is also scheduled to attend an event in New York.

On December 10th, Çakmak will talk about the LGBTI movement and organizations in Turkey at an event organized by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) within the framework of the World Human Rights Day.

Who is Sedef Çakmak?

During the local elections that took place in March 2014, Sedef Çakmak ran a campaign as a council candidate for the CHP (Republican People’s Party) in Beşiktaş. At the end of the elections, she was elected first substitute council member. Mayor Murat Hazinedar chose Çakmak to be his advisor. Çakmak has been a member of the LGBTI movement since her college days and she has been advocating for LGBTI political demands in her work with the municipality of Beşiktaş. If she succeeds in moving from the substitute list to the main list in council membership, she will become the first politician in Turkey elected to office as an openly LGBTI individual. At the moment, Çakmak continues to serve as a board member for SPoD LGBTI, an association that focuses on social and economic rights for LGBTI people.