Human Rights

Kaos GL: Organizing through rainbow networks

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

We asked the president of the association, Seçin Tuncel, about the working groups and networks throughout the country, and how Kaos GL is organized in different fields.

Kaos GL starting out with a magazine in Ankara in 1994, continues its struggle with networks in different fields. Then, how is Kaos GL organized? In which areas are they working? Which are those networks? What those networks are doing? We asked Seçin Tuncel the Head of Board Committee of Kaos GL and she explained Kaos GL's organizational strategy.

Kaos GL magazine which lasts more than 20 years and internet journal KaosGL.org which lasts over 10 years meet with the readers regularly. Well how can they meet?

Kaos GL local reporter network consists of LGBTI and heterosexual individuals against homophobia from different cities. Volunteer reporters are steering the agenda of the LGBTI movement through the rainbow forum as well as their own local problems. We regularly organize basic reporter trainings two or three times a year.

In addition to these reporter trainings, we organize trainings in order to raise awareness of human rights and to improve the capacity of the reporters in the fields: the use of national human rights mechanisms, digital security and new media technologies, case/ trial monitoring, oral history workshops, sexual health, HIV / AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases

Kaos GL Reporter Network is an activist/volunteer based network.

Law is one of the important areas which Kaos GL works on. In addition to amendments of the laws, there is also a network of lawyers. Could you tell a bit about the lawyer's network?

Lawyers trainings was firstly organized in 2011, and the further trainings were organized together with Pink Life LGBTT Association in Antalya, İzmir, Mersin, Adana, Antep, Diyarbakır, Eskişehir, Hatay, Trabzon, Ankara in the scope of Rainbow Coalition Against Discrimination Project. Additionally, in the scope of Don’t Hate (Nefret Etme) Project, a network of lawyers were gathered together; at the end of the Project a new flexible network consisting of those participant lawyers was created. Expectations from this network is to become a flexible platform in which lawyers can share/ exchange their experiences with each other and give opinions about the LGBTI cases. The network coordination is carried out by both Kaos GL and Pink Life.

And how Kaos GL’s strategic plan is determined?

During Kaos GL Advisory Board meetings (consists of several academicians from several fields), Kaos GL's strategic plan, action plans, proposals for activities and the agenda of LGBTIs are discussed. The Board is gathering twice in a year. There are also some sub-groups regarding the working field.

One of the areas where you work the most is education. Could you also mention the Education Study Group?

Our works in the field of education are carried out together with Eğitim Sen İstanbul Branch No:3 and No:6 LGBTI Commissions, Eğitim Sen İzmir Branch No:2 and No:4 LGBTI studies, Cyprus Teachers Union and Kaos GL Education Study Group. During a year, teachers trainings are conducted in 6 to 10 different cities. We meet with teacher candidates from education faculties in different cities. While aiming of raising the LGBTI awareness within the union at the branch level, it is aimed to create a transformation within the trade union movement at the same time.

Come to think of trade unions, could you tell a abit about union Works of Kaos GL?

Our Trade Union Study Group and Education Study Group usually hold meetings on parallel agendas. The group, formed with the slogan "There are LGBTI workers and civil servants in the unions", organizes events to increase the LGBTI visibility within the trade union movement. They also participate and host trade union events organized nationally and internationally. They plan and organize the activities of Kaos GL in the field of trade union, and they meet or organize an activity every three months.

This year, the theme of Symposium Against Discrimination was social work. How Kaos GL is organized in the field of social work?

Social Work Study Group consists of the experts on social work who underwent internship at Kaos GL. The group which mainly provides supervisor support is responsible for organization of the activities of Kaos GL on social work field. They are also working on the organization of the support providing to the social work applicants of Kaos GL, and on the trainings of the Kaos GL interns. They meet or organize an activity every three months.

In the upcoming period, they will prepare Social Work Symposium book to publish, then the book will be published in September 2017. The sorting of the consulting mails and the preparation of handbooks for LGBTI peer advisors are among their future works.

Are there any other working groups?

Human Rights Monitoring Group; A group that met for the first time in 2016 under the advice of association volunteer lawyers, peer counselors, lobby and advocacy coordinators and data specialist, computer programmer, Kaos GL media team and Pink Life’s advocate and reporters. During 2017, the group will carry out some activities to establish databases for the effective monitoring and reporting of LGBTI human rights violations. The group will meet once a month in the first six months of 2017, and during the second half of 2017 and later they will meet every three months.

Refugee Support Group; consists of our association lawyer, social worker, social work interns. They will work as a subgroup of the human rights monitoring group.

The Human Rights Monitoring Group will also be responsible for the periodic reports of Kaos GL which has published up to now. These reports include: LGBT Human Rights Report, Hate Crimes Report, Problems of LGBTI Employees in the Private Sector, Problems of LGBTI Employees in the Public Sector, Problems of LGBTI Refugees, Freedom of Expression of LGBTIs on the Internet, Access to Health Report, and Right to Education report.

Translation: Damla Umut Uzun

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