20/03/2023 | Writer: Esmeray
We took an essential step for LGBTI+ visibility whether I would be elected or not.
Some may know, I would like to reiterate for those who don’t know, that I have been trying to produce policies, particularly on transgender visibility, for almost 30 years. My first crack at politics started at Freedom and Solidarity Party (ÖDP). When I realized that our existence is not possible there, I resigned from the party. Then I made acquainted with feminist movement. (Pınar Selek had a workshop titled “Our Workshop” which included street children and transgender people. In fact, this experience I had before ÖDP, is a milestone in my life.) Following Pınar Selek’s release from the prison, I gained more experience within the Amargi Women Cooperative, particularly through Women Academy. We had various workshops. I took part in the seminars and conversations which were participated by women from former and new feminist movement.
Amargi Women Academy was a school for all women took place in Amargi; we gained inestimable experiences there. In the meantime, I was also taking a theater course at the Mesopotamia Cultural Center. As you know, later on, I performed single shows. Regarding People’s Democratic Party (HDP), I was already born and grew in a “patriotic” family. I had experience from childhood as a Kurdish citizen. I was also subjected to suffering and oppression due to my Kurdish identity, as much as I was exposed to because of my transgender identity. I always felt ties of affection with Kurdish movement.
I sometimes participated in meetings regarding training programs for women in HDP. However I never became a member of HDP officially. I have always had and will have ties of this affection. Practically, I was among the people who took place on the council board at People’s Democratic Congress (HDK). I was included in the HDK party assembly on the grounds of the decision taken there. That was a period when I had a full plate due to my theater plays. I couldn’t participate in meetings and workshops. On the other I never stopped communicating and cut off relations. An LGBTI+ Commission was established within HDK. Thereafter this commission was included by HDP. Then I developed a heart condition and had to stay away for a while. I had to follow from the outside. Likewise the Workers’ Party of Turkey (TİP) and even the Republican People’s Party (CHP).
HDP held a conference in İstanbul in recent months. They invited to the conference as a journalist. I attended to the conference, there were many sessions. Various sessions with many speakers from identity-based associations to trade unions. There were sessions regarding Alevis, Armenians and etc. Guess, which session didn’t exist? Let me tell you; LGBTI+ session didn’t exist. When I asked the reason they answered me bashfully. A woman, I don’t remember her name, said: “Why do you ask it to us? You can ask it to LGBTI+ Commission.” I was about to try to find someone from LGBTI+ Commission, I realized two LGBTI+ young people from HDP just beside me. I communicated with them and asked why there was no LGBTI+ session. Children went mad: “LGBTI+ Commission is hard to find ma’am, they eviscerated it!” I look like a liar, but I am not. I just repeated what they told me. I missed Previn Buldan’s and Sırrı Süreyya Önder’s speeches. Pervin Buldan had not mentioned LGBTI+s within the scope of her speech, and Sırrı Süreyya Önder had apologized to LGBTI+ movement for not having a session.
Well, that is the way it goes on one side. Let’s talk about TİP now. I have a talent from my childhood, I am an acute observer, I won’t be modest. The statements of TİP, regarding LGBTI+s, seemed very sincere to me.. Particularly Erkan Baş was always underlining the necessity of having an LGBTI+ member in the parliament every time in the lobbies. I realized that there was a youth alive and kicking in TİP.
An LGBTI+ friend of mine called me. They told that they had become a member of TİP and got right down to it: “They will nominate a candidate from an electable position.” I immediately interrupted them and gave an answer: “Oh please, I am having panic attack due to my surgery, don’t get me involved in this matter.” They laughed and said: “Okay, I will not get you involved.” Afterwards, I felt both physically and psychologically well. And I asked myself “Why not the TİP?” “
You know we have a slogan as LGBTI+s: “LGBTI+s are everywhere! At schools, in the parliament, on the street!” Surely my priority is LGBTI+ visibility and we also want to live like every citizen of Turkish Republic. This is our concern, what matters with us. We think in terms of labor since we live in this society. When there is hike in the price of bread, surely we also have something to say. Isn’t this already politics itself? I made a decision by considering all these.
I registered and became a member of TİP, then I received a call from an LGBTI+ woman who Works at TİP party assembly and also a member of LGBTI+ Commission. A flicker and excitement was reflecting her voice, as if she was overjoyed. She said: “We want to talk to you, however it would be great if we could meet face to face.” I was already looking for an excuse for coming to İstanbul and I accepted their invitation. We had a meeting with the commission, having introduced ourselves and engaged in small talk, they directly asked me if I would be a candidate. I couldn’t spoil and refuse such an offer which was decided after a backstage work. I accepted. Incidentally Erkan Baş was also there Having met with Erkan Baş face to face, I announced my candidacy.
For now, I can say that we took an essential step for LGBTI+ visibility whether I would be elected or not. I will keep posted and update. That’s all for now my dear…
Translation: Selma Koçak, the original article has been published at P24 and translated into English by Kaos GL.
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Tags: human rights, women, arts and culture