This report prepared and presented by Ulas Yilmaz from Kaos GL.

HOMOSEXUALITIES IN TURKEY
Homosexualities in a Muslim-Majority Country


INTRODUCTION


Many gays and lesbians in the West, judges the East without knowing and understanding it what exactly is happening there. This Orientalist point of view conceals even the simplest facts: Interpretation of Islam and lifestyles due to Islam differs in each country. In this report, the state of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) movement in Turkey is discussed. Turkey is a Muslim-majority country. In this sense, one of the major purposes of this report is to investigate the relation of Islam and homosexualities in Turkey.


The organization of the report is as follows. In the following chapter, attitude of Islam, Christianity And Judaism to sexual relations including same-sex is discussed. This chapter also includes the impact of Islam on homosexualities in Turkey. In Chapter 2 the current state of LGBT youth in Turkey is explained. KAOS GL and its activities are discussed in Chapter 3. The report concludes with the Chapter 4 in which the main concerns of gay movement in Turkey and the future projects are stated.



1. RELIGIONS AND HOMOSEXUALITIES


Islam, Christianity And Judaism


The laws of Islam rely on Qur'an and Haidth Qur'an is the holy book of Islam, and Haidth are collection of sayings attributed to Muhammad. Haidth and stories about Muhammad's life can be used to have an Islamic point of view. However, compared to the Qur'an, Haidth are not reliable: philosophers and groups claim to propose Haidth in order to support their ideas. However, the general idea derived from the interpretation of Qur'an and Haidth, is that same-sex sexual relation is forbidden in Islam. There are a few references in the Qur'an which have been cited as referring to same-sex relation:


The people of Lut rejected the apostles. Behold, their brother Lut said to them: ``ill ye not fear (God)? I am to you an apostle worthy of all trust. So fear God and obey me. No reward do I ask of you for it: my reward is only from the lord of the Worlds. Of all the creatures in the world, will ye approach males, and leave those whom God has created for you to be your mates? Nay, ye are a people transgressing (all limits)!'' They said: ``If thou desist not, O Lut! thou wilt assuredly be cast out!''


He said: ``I do detest your doings. O my Lord! Deliver me and my family from such things as they do!'' So We delivered him and his family, - all Except an old woman who lingered behind. But the rest We destroyed utterly. We rained down on them a shower (of brimstone): and evil was the shower on those who were admonished (but heeded not)! Verily in this is a Sign: but most of them do not believe. And verily thy Lord is He, the Exalted in Might Most Merciful.footnoteQur'an 26:160-175


The above passages are apparent references to the activities at Sodom and Gomorrah. It seems to imply that there was no homosexual behavior before it first appeared in Sodom. This is a uniquely Islamic concept; it does not appear in Jewish or Christian beliefs. The passage also links the sin of Sodom (the reason for its destruction) to homosexuality. But it should not be concluded that the only reason addressed for this destruction is homosexuality. There is only one passage that can be an order as a law against same-sex relations in Qur'an:


... and punish those who are guilty of this. If they regret what they have done, leave them. God is merciful.


Although, the mercifulness of Allah by this passage of Qur'an is clearly in contradiction with the passages in which the punishments of other sins are addressed, it may be concluded that same-sex relations are not allowed but is not punished with death in Islam.


Very similar to Islam, the laws of Christianity rely on holy books. The references in these books which have been cited as referring to same-sex relations are not less stricter than the Qur'an's.


God created man and woman look like His silhouette. God created them as men and woman. God blessed them and said: be proliferating and fill the earth(BAP: 27 and 28, Tekvin: First book of Musa).

You cannot make love to a man as if you are making love to a woman, that is evil(BAP: 18:22, Levililer: Third book of Musa).

And if a man makes love to a man as if he is making love to a woman, absolutely, they will be killed. Their blood will be on them(BAP: 20:13, Levililer: Third book of Musa).

Sinners cannot take over the Lord's Sovereignty. Don't you know that? Don't be mistaken! ..., perverts, homosexuals, burglars, inebriates, curser, robbers cannot take over the Lord's Sovereignty(BAP: 9-10, Krontliler, New Testament).

Be away from perversion! Some of them hadn't care this, and twenty three thousand of them are killed in one day(BAP: 10:8, Krontliler, New Testament).

... and similarly, men forgot about the natural use of the women and they satisfied their sexual desires on other men. These perverts who are having sex with other men got their deserts from the Lord(BAP: 1:27, Romalilar, New Testament).


One important point that is to be noticed in the above passages is that the scope and the aim of sexual relation: waste of sperm should be avoided and the aim of the sexual relation should be reproduction. Otherwise it is not acceptable. This rule is not only for same-sex relations but a general one. As a result, same-sex relations are not acceptable at all due to its nature which is not aiming reproduction.



Islam And Homosexuality In Turkey


As explained in the previous section, same-sex sexual relations are not acceptable or even forbidden in Islam, Christianity and Judaism. If the degree of freedom of homosexuality was assumed to depend on religion in a society, then any kind of same-sex relation would be forbidden and punished nearly the same way in Islamic, Christian and Jewish societies. In this section the validity of this assumption is discussed on a Muslim-majority country: Turkey.


Turkey is a republic. Geographically, the country lies between Middle East and Europe. It is a tragedy that the fate of Turkish Republic is also in between these two. It is a modern society with a Muslim-majority population.


In Turkey, the laws are not arranged according to Qur'an. Here follows a few articles from the constitution of the republic:


[Article 2]The Republic of Turkey is a democratic, secular and social State governed by the rule of law; bearing in mind the concepts of public peace, national solidarity and justice; respecting human rights; loyal to the nationalism of Ataturk, and based on the fundamental tenets set forth in the preamble.

[Article 20 A]Everyone has the right to demand respect for his/her private and family life. Privacy of individual and family life cannot be violated. Exceptions necessitated by judiciary investigation and prosecution are reserved. Unless there exists a decision duly passed by a judge in cases explicitly defined by law, and unless there exists an order of an agency authorized by law in cases where delay is deemed prejudicial, neither the person nor the private papers, nor belongings of an individual shall be searched nor shall they be seized.

[Article 10 A]All individuals are equal without any discrimination before the law, irrespective of language, race, colour, sex, political opinion, philosophical belief, religion and sect, or any such considerations. No privilege shall be granted to any individual, family, group or class. State organs and administrative authorities shall act in compliance with the principle of equality before the law in all their proceedings.


In the constitution, the characteristics of the republic is defined as in Article 2. Article 20 A of the constitution defines the privacy of the individual's life, and the individuals' equality is stated as in Article 10 A. Obviously, there are not any rules by law that oblige or punish homosexual relations. This makes homosexuality legal in Turkey. It is even possible to have an operation in order to change sex if you have a legal medical report. But, Turkey is still a Muslim-majority country. In order to understand this case, one should investigate how much individuals' lives are determined by Islam. The following examples can make it clearer:


LGBT also fast in the fasting month Ramadan. But this does not mean that they stop their sexual activities. In day time they don't eat, don't drink and don't have sex, but after the breaking of the fast they do whatever they want including sex. Actually, having sex after the breaking of the fast is already allowed in Islam.

At the time of coming out to self, LGBT does not even consider the rules of Islam which are against same-sex sexual relations.

Especially, for male homosexuals, the main reason of discrimination and violence is not primarily Islam: the male homosexuals are violating the macho culture of the society which is united as a whole with the masculinity. That is why they face with discrimination and violence.

Coming out is not a reason for being fired from your work or school. But the fact is that coming out disables you to have a carier. ``Don't ask don't tell'' is the most common strategy.

There is only a minor group of people in the LGBT society to consider that homosexuality is against the laws of Islam. Tendency is to simply overcome this difficulty by the following assumption: ``god created me this way, and I do not mind the rest.''

When homosexuality is considered, non-homosexual people including the Islamic ones have the following common idea: in your privacy, you can do whatever you want.

There is not a direct restriction of Islamic rituals on daily lives of LGBT. This explains why an Islamic LGBT group does not exist in Turkey.


Although the rest of the Islam world seem to disprove this idea, living in a Muslim-majority society may not end up with an Islam-centered lifestyle.



2. A BRIEF LOOK AT THE CURRENT STATE OF LGBT YOUTH IN TURKEY


The following sections are compiled from the report presented by Yesim Basaran, at the "Conference on Gay and lesbian youth on the border of EU accession" held by International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth and Student Organisation Gay (IGLYO) in January 2002, Ljubljana, Slovenia.

LGBT Youth Situation in Turkey


3. KAOS GL

Brochure for Kaos GL


4. CONCLUSIONS


In this report, homosexualities in Turkey are discussed. Turkey is a Muslim-majority country, however the laws are secular. Although Islamic rituals seem to be dominating, the lives of individuals are not Islam-centered. This also applies to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals. In order to figure out how this happens, the following statements are extracted as a conclusion to this report:


The main problems and concerns of LGBT individuals in Turkey are not Islam-centered. LGBT people agree on the same starting point: being oriented to their own sex.

There are two important conclusions about this First one is that the LGBT movements in Turkey cannot depend on the positive approaches of Islam to same-sex relations. Second one is that others, -researchers, collaborating organizations, etc.-, should not get stuck in the negative approaches of Islam to same-sex relations. Each society has its own social dynamics. These dynamics can determine the approach of religion to homosexuality rather than being determined by it.

In general, people have usual kind of prejudices against non-heterosexuality and non-heterosexual people. Homosexuality is perceived as a perversion, at least an illness, in general. However, for some people, they are also human and they can be accepted on condition that not being so much out about their homosexuality, because it's their private life. But the rising public coming out of lesbian and gay movement and the westernization politics as a whole increase the number of anti-heterosexist heterosexuals, also promotes the discussion on homosexuality in society, and sides are getting more evident.

LGBT movements in Turkey have the following common idea: our main concern is not living our homosexualities behind closed doors. Our goal is creating new regions in order to destroy heterosexism. This idea has been clear for LGBT movements in Turkey since they first appeared: we do not want gay ghettos, but the whole city (from the first issue of the journal KAOS GL, 1994).
" /> This report prepared and presented by Ulas Yilmaz from Kaos GL.

HOMOSEXUALITIES IN TURKEY
Homosexualities in a Muslim-Majority Country


INTRODUCTION


Many gays and lesbians in the West, judges the East without knowing and understanding it what exactly is happening there. This Orientalist point of view conceals even the simplest facts: Interpretation of Islam and lifestyles due to Islam differs in each country. In this report, the state of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) movement in Turkey is discussed. Turkey is a Muslim-majority country. In this sense, one of the major purposes of this report is to investigate the relation of Islam and homosexualities in Turkey.


The organization of the report is as follows. In the following chapter, attitude of Islam, Christianity And Judaism to sexual relations including same-sex is discussed. This chapter also includes the impact of Islam on homosexualities in Turkey. In Chapter 2 the current state of LGBT youth in Turkey is explained. KAOS GL and its activities are discussed in Chapter 3. The report concludes with the Chapter 4 in which the main concerns of gay movement in Turkey and the future projects are stated.



1. RELIGIONS AND HOMOSEXUALITIES


Islam, Christianity And Judaism


The laws of Islam rely on Qur'an and Haidth Qur'an is the holy book of Islam, and Haidth are collection of sayings attributed to Muhammad. Haidth and stories about Muhammad's life can be used to have an Islamic point of view. However, compared to the Qur'an, Haidth are not reliable: philosophers and groups claim to propose Haidth in order to support their ideas. However, the general idea derived from the interpretation of Qur'an and Haidth, is that same-sex sexual relation is forbidden in Islam. There are a few references in the Qur'an which have been cited as referring to same-sex relation:


The people of Lut rejected the apostles. Behold, their brother Lut said to them: ``ill ye not fear (God)? I am to you an apostle worthy of all trust. So fear God and obey me. No reward do I ask of you for it: my reward is only from the lord of the Worlds. Of all the creatures in the world, will ye approach males, and leave those whom God has created for you to be your mates? Nay, ye are a people transgressing (all limits)!'' They said: ``If thou desist not, O Lut! thou wilt assuredly be cast out!''


He said: ``I do detest your doings. O my Lord! Deliver me and my family from such things as they do!'' So We delivered him and his family, - all Except an old woman who lingered behind. But the rest We destroyed utterly. We rained down on them a shower (of brimstone): and evil was the shower on those who were admonished (but heeded not)! Verily in this is a Sign: but most of them do not believe. And verily thy Lord is He, the Exalted in Might Most Merciful.footnoteQur'an 26:160-175


The above passages are apparent references to the activities at Sodom and Gomorrah. It seems to imply that there was no homosexual behavior before it first appeared in Sodom. This is a uniquely Islamic concept; it does not appear in Jewish or Christian beliefs. The passage also links the sin of Sodom (the reason for its destruction) to homosexuality. But it should not be concluded that the only reason addressed for this destruction is homosexuality. There is only one passage that can be an order as a law against same-sex relations in Qur'an:


... and punish those who are guilty of this. If they regret what they have done, leave them. God is merciful.


Although, the mercifulness of Allah by this passage of Qur'an is clearly in contradiction with the passages in which the punishments of other sins are addressed, it may be concluded that same-sex relations are not allowed but is not punished with death in Islam.


Very similar to Islam, the laws of Christianity rely on holy books. The references in these books which have been cited as referring to same-sex relations are not less stricter than the Qur'an's.


God created man and woman look like His silhouette. God created them as men and woman. God blessed them and said: be proliferating and fill the earth(BAP: 27 and 28, Tekvin: First book of Musa).

You cannot make love to a man as if you are making love to a woman, that is evil(BAP: 18:22, Levililer: Third book of Musa).

And if a man makes love to a man as if he is making love to a woman, absolutely, they will be killed. Their blood will be on them(BAP: 20:13, Levililer: Third book of Musa).

Sinners cannot take over the Lord's Sovereignty. Don't you know that? Don't be mistaken! ..., perverts, homosexuals, burglars, inebriates, curser, robbers cannot take over the Lord's Sovereignty(BAP: 9-10, Krontliler, New Testament).

Be away from perversion! Some of them hadn't care this, and twenty three thousand of them are killed in one day(BAP: 10:8, Krontliler, New Testament).

... and similarly, men forgot about the natural use of the women and they satisfied their sexual desires on other men. These perverts who are having sex with other men got their deserts from the Lord(BAP: 1:27, Romalilar, New Testament).


One important point that is to be noticed in the above passages is that the scope and the aim of sexual relation: waste of sperm should be avoided and the aim of the sexual relation should be reproduction. Otherwise it is not acceptable. This rule is not only for same-sex relations but a general one. As a result, same-sex relations are not acceptable at all due to its nature which is not aiming reproduction.



Islam And Homosexuality In Turkey


As explained in the previous section, same-sex sexual relations are not acceptable or even forbidden in Islam, Christianity and Judaism. If the degree of freedom of homosexuality was assumed to depend on religion in a society, then any kind of same-sex relation would be forbidden and punished nearly the same way in Islamic, Christian and Jewish societies. In this section the validity of this assumption is discussed on a Muslim-majority country: Turkey.


Turkey is a republic. Geographically, the country lies between Middle East and Europe. It is a tragedy that the fate of Turkish Republic is also in between these two. It is a modern society with a Muslim-majority population.


In Turkey, the laws are not arranged according to Qur'an. Here follows a few articles from the constitution of the republic:


[Article 2]The Republic of Turkey is a democratic, secular and social State governed by the rule of law; bearing in mind the concepts of public peace, national solidarity and justice; respecting human rights; loyal to the nationalism of Ataturk, and based on the fundamental tenets set forth in the preamble.

[Article 20 A]Everyone has the right to demand respect for his/her private and family life. Privacy of individual and family life cannot be violated. Exceptions necessitated by judiciary investigation and prosecution are reserved. Unless there exists a decision duly passed by a judge in cases explicitly defined by law, and unless there exists an order of an agency authorized by law in cases where delay is deemed prejudicial, neither the person nor the private papers, nor belongings of an individual shall be searched nor shall they be seized.

[Article 10 A]All individuals are equal without any discrimination before the law, irrespective of language, race, colour, sex, political opinion, philosophical belief, religion and sect, or any such considerations. No privilege shall be granted to any individual, family, group or class. State organs and administrative authorities shall act in compliance with the principle of equality before the law in all their proceedings.


In the constitution, the characteristics of the republic is defined as in Article 2. Article 20 A of the constitution defines the privacy of the individual's life, and the individuals' equality is stated as in Article 10 A. Obviously, there are not any rules by law that oblige or punish homosexual relations. This makes homosexuality legal in Turkey. It is even possible to have an operation in order to change sex if you have a legal medical report. But, Turkey is still a Muslim-majority country. In order to understand this case, one should investigate how much individuals' lives are determined by Islam. The following examples can make it clearer:


LGBT also fast in the fasting month Ramadan. But this does not mean that they stop their sexual activities. In day time they don't eat, don't drink and don't have sex, but after the breaking of the fast they do whatever they want including sex. Actually, having sex after the breaking of the fast is already allowed in Islam.

At the time of coming out to self, LGBT does not even consider the rules of Islam which are against same-sex sexual relations.

Especially, for male homosexuals, the main reason of discrimination and violence is not primarily Islam: the male homosexuals are violating the macho culture of the society which is united as a whole with the masculinity. That is why they face with discrimination and violence.

Coming out is not a reason for being fired from your work or school. But the fact is that coming out disables you to have a carier. ``Don't ask don't tell'' is the most common strategy.

There is only a minor group of people in the LGBT society to consider that homosexuality is against the laws of Islam. Tendency is to simply overcome this difficulty by the following assumption: ``god created me this way, and I do not mind the rest.''

When homosexuality is considered, non-homosexual people including the Islamic ones have the following common idea: in your privacy, you can do whatever you want.

There is not a direct restriction of Islamic rituals on daily lives of LGBT. This explains why an Islamic LGBT group does not exist in Turkey.


Although the rest of the Islam world seem to disprove this idea, living in a Muslim-majority society may not end up with an Islam-centered lifestyle.



2. A BRIEF LOOK AT THE CURRENT STATE OF LGBT YOUTH IN TURKEY


The following sections are compiled from the report presented by Yesim Basaran, at the "Conference on Gay and lesbian youth on the border of EU accession" held by International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth and Student Organisation Gay (IGLYO) in January 2002, Ljubljana, Slovenia.

LGBT Youth Situation in Turkey


3. KAOS GL

Brochure for Kaos GL


4. CONCLUSIONS


In this report, homosexualities in Turkey are discussed. Turkey is a Muslim-majority country, however the laws are secular. Although Islamic rituals seem to be dominating, the lives of individuals are not Islam-centered. This also applies to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals. In order to figure out how this happens, the following statements are extracted as a conclusion to this report:


The main problems and concerns of LGBT individuals in Turkey are not Islam-centered. LGBT people agree on the same starting point: being oriented to their own sex.

There are two important conclusions about this First one is that the LGBT movements in Turkey cannot depend on the positive approaches of Islam to same-sex relations. Second one is that others, -researchers, collaborating organizations, etc.-, should not get stuck in the negative approaches of Islam to same-sex relations. Each society has its own social dynamics. These dynamics can determine the approach of religion to homosexuality rather than being determined by it.

In general, people have usual kind of prejudices against non-heterosexuality and non-heterosexual people. Homosexuality is perceived as a perversion, at least an illness, in general. However, for some people, they are also human and they can be accepted on condition that not being so much out about their homosexuality, because it's their private life. But the rising public coming out of lesbian and gay movement and the westernization politics as a whole increase the number of anti-heterosexist heterosexuals, also promotes the discussion on homosexuality in society, and sides are getting more evident.

LGBT movements in Turkey have the following common idea: our main concern is not living our homosexualities behind closed doors. Our goal is creating new regions in order to destroy heterosexism. This idea has been clear for LGBT movements in Turkey since they first appeared: we do not want gay ghettos, but the whole city (from the first issue of the journal KAOS GL, 1994).
"/> This report prepared and presented by Ulas Yilmaz from Kaos GL.

HOMOSEXUALITIES IN TURKEY
Homosexualities in a Muslim-Majority Country


INTRODUCTION


Many gays and lesbians in the West, judges the East without knowing and understanding it what exactly is happening there. This Orientalist point of view conceals even the simplest facts: Interpretation of Islam and lifestyles due to Islam differs in each country. In this report, the state of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) movement in Turkey is discussed. Turkey is a Muslim-majority country. In this sense, one of the major purposes of this report is to investigate the relation of Islam and homosexualities in Turkey.


The organization of the report is as follows. In the following chapter, attitude of Islam, Christianity And Judaism to sexual relations including same-sex is discussed. This chapter also includes the impact of Islam on homosexualities in Turkey. In Chapter 2 the current state of LGBT youth in Turkey is explained. KAOS GL and its activities are discussed in Chapter 3. The report concludes with the Chapter 4 in which the main concerns of gay movement in Turkey and the future projects are stated.



1. RELIGIONS AND HOMOSEXUALITIES


Islam, Christianity And Judaism


The laws of Islam rely on Qur'an and Haidth Qur'an is the holy book of Islam, and Haidth are collection of sayings attributed to Muhammad. Haidth and stories about Muhammad's life can be used to have an Islamic point of view. However, compared to the Qur'an, Haidth are not reliable: philosophers and groups claim to propose Haidth in order to support their ideas. However, the general idea derived from the interpretation of Qur'an and Haidth, is that same-sex sexual relation is forbidden in Islam. There are a few references in the Qur'an which have been cited as referring to same-sex relation:


The people of Lut rejected the apostles. Behold, their brother Lut said to them: ``ill ye not fear (God)? I am to you an apostle worthy of all trust. So fear God and obey me. No reward do I ask of you for it: my reward is only from the lord of the Worlds. Of all the creatures in the world, will ye approach males, and leave those whom God has created for you to be your mates? Nay, ye are a people transgressing (all limits)!'' They said: ``If thou desist not, O Lut! thou wilt assuredly be cast out!''


He said: ``I do detest your doings. O my Lord! Deliver me and my family from such things as they do!'' So We delivered him and his family, - all Except an old woman who lingered behind. But the rest We destroyed utterly. We rained down on them a shower (of brimstone): and evil was the shower on those who were admonished (but heeded not)! Verily in this is a Sign: but most of them do not believe. And verily thy Lord is He, the Exalted in Might Most Merciful.footnoteQur'an 26:160-175


The above passages are apparent references to the activities at Sodom and Gomorrah. It seems to imply that there was no homosexual behavior before it first appeared in Sodom. This is a uniquely Islamic concept; it does not appear in Jewish or Christian beliefs. The passage also links the sin of Sodom (the reason for its destruction) to homosexuality. But it should not be concluded that the only reason addressed for this destruction is homosexuality. There is only one passage that can be an order as a law against same-sex relations in Qur'an:


... and punish those who are guilty of this. If they regret what they have done, leave them. God is merciful.


Although, the mercifulness of Allah by this passage of Qur'an is clearly in contradiction with the passages in which the punishments of other sins are addressed, it may be concluded that same-sex relations are not allowed but is not punished with death in Islam.


Very similar to Islam, the laws of Christianity rely on holy books. The references in these books which have been cited as referring to same-sex relations are not less stricter than the Qur'an's.


God created man and woman look like His silhouette. God created them as men and woman. God blessed them and said: be proliferating and fill the earth(BAP: 27 and 28, Tekvin: First book of Musa).

You cannot make love to a man as if you are making love to a woman, that is evil(BAP: 18:22, Levililer: Third book of Musa).

And if a man makes love to a man as if he is making love to a woman, absolutely, they will be killed. Their blood will be on them(BAP: 20:13, Levililer: Third book of Musa).

Sinners cannot take over the Lord's Sovereignty. Don't you know that? Don't be mistaken! ..., perverts, homosexuals, burglars, inebriates, curser, robbers cannot take over the Lord's Sovereignty(BAP: 9-10, Krontliler, New Testament).

Be away from perversion! Some of them hadn't care this, and twenty three thousand of them are killed in one day(BAP: 10:8, Krontliler, New Testament).

... and similarly, men forgot about the natural use of the women and they satisfied their sexual desires on other men. These perverts who are having sex with other men got their deserts from the Lord(BAP: 1:27, Romalilar, New Testament).


One important point that is to be noticed in the above passages is that the scope and the aim of sexual relation: waste of sperm should be avoided and the aim of the sexual relation should be reproduction. Otherwise it is not acceptable. This rule is not only for same-sex relations but a general one. As a result, same-sex relations are not acceptable at all due to its nature which is not aiming reproduction.



Islam And Homosexuality In Turkey


As explained in the previous section, same-sex sexual relations are not acceptable or even forbidden in Islam, Christianity and Judaism. If the degree of freedom of homosexuality was assumed to depend on religion in a society, then any kind of same-sex relation would be forbidden and punished nearly the same way in Islamic, Christian and Jewish societies. In this section the validity of this assumption is discussed on a Muslim-majority country: Turkey.


Turkey is a republic. Geographically, the country lies between Middle East and Europe. It is a tragedy that the fate of Turkish Republic is also in between these two. It is a modern society with a Muslim-majority population.


In Turkey, the laws are not arranged according to Qur'an. Here follows a few articles from the constitution of the republic:


[Article 2]The Republic of Turkey is a democratic, secular and social State governed by the rule of law; bearing in mind the concepts of public peace, national solidarity and justice; respecting human rights; loyal to the nationalism of Ataturk, and based on the fundamental tenets set forth in the preamble.

[Article 20 A]Everyone has the right to demand respect for his/her private and family life. Privacy of individual and family life cannot be violated. Exceptions necessitated by judiciary investigation and prosecution are reserved. Unless there exists a decision duly passed by a judge in cases explicitly defined by law, and unless there exists an order of an agency authorized by law in cases where delay is deemed prejudicial, neither the person nor the private papers, nor belongings of an individual shall be searched nor shall they be seized.

[Article 10 A]All individuals are equal without any discrimination before the law, irrespective of language, race, colour, sex, political opinion, philosophical belief, religion and sect, or any such considerations. No privilege shall be granted to any individual, family, group or class. State organs and administrative authorities shall act in compliance with the principle of equality before the law in all their proceedings.


In the constitution, the characteristics of the republic is defined as in Article 2. Article 20 A of the constitution defines the privacy of the individual's life, and the individuals' equality is stated as in Article 10 A. Obviously, there are not any rules by law that oblige or punish homosexual relations. This makes homosexuality legal in Turkey. It is even possible to have an operation in order to change sex if you have a legal medical report. But, Turkey is still a Muslim-majority country. In order to understand this case, one should investigate how much individuals' lives are determined by Islam. The following examples can make it clearer:


LGBT also fast in the fasting month Ramadan. But this does not mean that they stop their sexual activities. In day time they don't eat, don't drink and don't have sex, but after the breaking of the fast they do whatever they want including sex. Actually, having sex after the breaking of the fast is already allowed in Islam.

At the time of coming out to self, LGBT does not even consider the rules of Islam which are against same-sex sexual relations.

Especially, for male homosexuals, the main reason of discrimination and violence is not primarily Islam: the male homosexuals are violating the macho culture of the society which is united as a whole with the masculinity. That is why they face with discrimination and violence.

Coming out is not a reason for being fired from your work or school. But the fact is that coming out disables you to have a carier. ``Don't ask don't tell'' is the most common strategy.

There is only a minor group of people in the LGBT society to consider that homosexuality is against the laws of Islam. Tendency is to simply overcome this difficulty by the following assumption: ``god created me this way, and I do not mind the rest.''

When homosexuality is considered, non-homosexual people including the Islamic ones have the following common idea: in your privacy, you can do whatever you want.

There is not a direct restriction of Islamic rituals on daily lives of LGBT. This explains why an Islamic LGBT group does not exist in Turkey.


Although the rest of the Islam world seem to disprove this idea, living in a Muslim-majority society may not end up with an Islam-centered lifestyle.



2. A BRIEF LOOK AT THE CURRENT STATE OF LGBT YOUTH IN TURKEY


The following sections are compiled from the report presented by Yesim Basaran, at the "Conference on Gay and lesbian youth on the border of EU accession" held by International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth and Student Organisation Gay (IGLYO) in January 2002, Ljubljana, Slovenia.

LGBT Youth Situation in Turkey


3. KAOS GL

Brochure for Kaos GL


4. CONCLUSIONS


In this report, homosexualities in Turkey are discussed. Turkey is a Muslim-majority country, however the laws are secular. Although Islamic rituals seem to be dominating, the lives of individuals are not Islam-centered. This also applies to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals. In order to figure out how this happens, the following statements are extracted as a conclusion to this report:


The main problems and concerns of LGBT individuals in Turkey are not Islam-centered. LGBT people agree on the same starting point: being oriented to their own sex.

There are two important conclusions about this First one is that the LGBT movements in Turkey cannot depend on the positive approaches of Islam to same-sex relations. Second one is that others, -researchers, collaborating organizations, etc.-, should not get stuck in the negative approaches of Islam to same-sex relations. Each society has its own social dynamics. These dynamics can determine the approach of religion to homosexuality rather than being determined by it.

In general, people have usual kind of prejudices against non-heterosexuality and non-heterosexual people. Homosexuality is perceived as a perversion, at least an illness, in general. However, for some people, they are also human and they can be accepted on condition that not being so much out about their homosexuality, because it's their private life. But the rising public coming out of lesbian and gay movement and the westernization politics as a whole increase the number of anti-heterosexist heterosexuals, also promotes the discussion on homosexuality in society, and sides are getting more evident.

LGBT movements in Turkey have the following common idea: our main concern is not living our homosexualities behind closed doors. Our goal is creating new regions in order to destroy heterosexism. This idea has been clear for LGBT movements in Turkey since they first appeared: we do not want gay ghettos, but the whole city (from the first issue of the journal KAOS GL, 1994).
" /> 3rd LGBT STRATEGY SEMINAR - HOMOSEXUALITIES IN TURKEY (2002)

21/09/2005 | Writer: KAOS GL

August 2002
HOMOSEXUALITIES IN TURKEY
"...The idea of a 'strategy seminar' means that it will not be either a academic seminar without political content or an organizing meeting that would adopt positions or initiate action. But the seminar is meant to lead ultimately to publications as well as contribute to practical cooperation..."
This report prepared and presented by Ulas Yilmaz from Kaos GL.


HOMOSEXUALITIES IN TURKEY
Homosexualities in a Muslim-Majority Country


INTRODUCTION


Many gays and lesbians in the West, judges the East without knowing and understanding it what exactly is happening there. This Orientalist point of view conceals even the simplest facts: Interpretation of Islam and lifestyles due to Islam differs in each country. In this report, the state of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) movement in Turkey is discussed. Turkey is a Muslim-majority country. In this sense, one of the major purposes of this report is to investigate the relation of Islam and homosexualities in Turkey.


The organization of the report is as follows. In the following chapter, attitude of Islam, Christianity And Judaism to sexual relations including same-sex is discussed. This chapter also includes the impact of Islam on homosexualities in Turkey. In Chapter 2 the current state of LGBT youth in Turkey is explained. KAOS GL and its activities are discussed in Chapter 3. The report concludes with the Chapter 4 in which the main concerns of gay movement in Turkey and the future projects are stated.



1. RELIGIONS AND HOMOSEXUALITIES


Islam, Christianity And Judaism


The laws of Islam rely on Qur'an and Haidth Qur'an is the holy book of Islam, and Haidth are collection of sayings attributed to Muhammad. Haidth and stories about Muhammad's life can be used to have an Islamic point of view. However, compared to the Qur'an, Haidth are not reliable: philosophers and groups claim to propose Haidth in order to support their ideas. However, the general idea derived from the interpretation of Qur'an and Haidth, is that same-sex sexual relation is forbidden in Islam. There are a few references in the Qur'an which have been cited as referring to same-sex relation:


The people of Lut rejected the apostles. Behold, their brother Lut said to them: ``ill ye not fear (God)? I am to you an apostle worthy of all trust. So fear God and obey me. No reward do I ask of you for it: my reward is only from the lord of the Worlds. Of all the creatures in the world, will ye approach males, and leave those whom God has created for you to be your mates? Nay, ye are a people transgressing (all limits)!'' They said: ``If thou desist not, O Lut! thou wilt assuredly be cast out!''


He said: ``I do detest your doings. O my Lord! Deliver me and my family from such things as they do!'' So We delivered him and his family, - all Except an old woman who lingered behind. But the rest We destroyed utterly. We rained down on them a shower (of brimstone): and evil was the shower on those who were admonished (but heeded not)! Verily in this is a Sign: but most of them do not believe. And verily thy Lord is He, the Exalted in Might Most Merciful.footnoteQur'an 26:160-175


The above passages are apparent references to the activities at Sodom and Gomorrah. It seems to imply that there was no homosexual behavior before it first appeared in Sodom. This is a uniquely Islamic concept; it does not appear in Jewish or Christian beliefs. The passage also links the sin of Sodom (the reason for its destruction) to homosexuality. But it should not be concluded that the only reason addressed for this destruction is homosexuality. There is only one passage that can be an order as a law against same-sex relations in Qur'an:


... and punish those who are guilty of this. If they regret what they have done, leave them. God is merciful.


Although, the mercifulness of Allah by this passage of Qur'an is clearly in contradiction with the passages in which the punishments of other sins are addressed, it may be concluded that same-sex relations are not allowed but is not punished with death in Islam.


Very similar to Islam, the laws of Christianity rely on holy books. The references in these books which have been cited as referring to same-sex relations are not less stricter than the Qur'an's.


God created man and woman look like His silhouette. God created them as men and woman. God blessed them and said: be proliferating and fill the earth(BAP: 27 and 28, Tekvin: First book of Musa).

You cannot make love to a man as if you are making love to a woman, that is evil(BAP: 18:22, Levililer: Third book of Musa).

And if a man makes love to a man as if he is making love to a woman, absolutely, they will be killed. Their blood will be on them(BAP: 20:13, Levililer: Third book of Musa).

Sinners cannot take over the Lord's Sovereignty. Don't you know that? Don't be mistaken! ..., perverts, homosexuals, burglars, inebriates, curser, robbers cannot take over the Lord's Sovereignty(BAP: 9-10, Krontliler, New Testament).

Be away from perversion! Some of them hadn't care this, and twenty three thousand of them are killed in one day(BAP: 10:8, Krontliler, New Testament).

... and similarly, men forgot about the natural use of the women and they satisfied their sexual desires on other men. These perverts who are having sex with other men got their deserts from the Lord(BAP: 1:27, Romalilar, New Testament).


One important point that is to be noticed in the above passages is that the scope and the aim of sexual relation: waste of sperm should be avoided and the aim of the sexual relation should be reproduction. Otherwise it is not acceptable. This rule is not only for same-sex relations but a general one. As a result, same-sex relations are not acceptable at all due to its nature which is not aiming reproduction.



Islam And Homosexuality In Turkey


As explained in the previous section, same-sex sexual relations are not acceptable or even forbidden in Islam, Christianity and Judaism. If the degree of freedom of homosexuality was assumed to depend on religion in a society, then any kind of same-sex relation would be forbidden and punished nearly the same way in Islamic, Christian and Jewish societies. In this section the validity of this assumption is discussed on a Muslim-majority country: Turkey.


Turkey is a republic. Geographically, the country lies between Middle East and Europe. It is a tragedy that the fate of Turkish Republic is also in between these two. It is a modern society with a Muslim-majority population.


In Turkey, the laws are not arranged according to Qur'an. Here follows a few articles from the constitution of the republic:


[Article 2]The Republic of Turkey is a democratic, secular and social State governed by the rule of law; bearing in mind the concepts of public peace, national solidarity and justice; respecting human rights; loyal to the nationalism of Ataturk, and based on the fundamental tenets set forth in the preamble.

[Article 20 A]Everyone has the right to demand respect for his/her private and family life. Privacy of individual and family life cannot be violated. Exceptions necessitated by judiciary investigation and prosecution are reserved. Unless there exists a decision duly passed by a judge in cases explicitly defined by law, and unless there exists an order of an agency authorized by law in cases where delay is deemed prejudicial, neither the person nor the private papers, nor belongings of an individual shall be searched nor shall they be seized.

[Article 10 A]All individuals are equal without any discrimination before the law, irrespective of language, race, colour, sex, political opinion, philosophical belief, religion and sect, or any such considerations. No privilege shall be granted to any individual, family, group or class. State organs and administrative authorities shall act in compliance with the principle of equality before the law in all their proceedings.


In the constitution, the characteristics of the republic is defined as in Article 2. Article 20 A of the constitution defines the privacy of the individual's life, and the individuals' equality is stated as in Article 10 A. Obviously, there are not any rules by law that oblige or punish homosexual relations. This makes homosexuality legal in Turkey. It is even possible to have an operation in order to change sex if you have a legal medical report. But, Turkey is still a Muslim-majority country. In order to understand this case, one should investigate how much individuals' lives are determined by Islam. The following examples can make it clearer:


LGBT also fast in the fasting month Ramadan. But this does not mean that they stop their sexual activities. In day time they don't eat, don't drink and don't have sex, but after the breaking of the fast they do whatever they want including sex. Actually, having sex after the breaking of the fast is already allowed in Islam.

At the time of coming out to self, LGBT does not even consider the rules of Islam which are against same-sex sexual relations.

Especially, for male homosexuals, the main reason of discrimination and violence is not primarily Islam: the male homosexuals are violating the macho culture of the society which is united as a whole with the masculinity. That is why they face with discrimination and violence.

Coming out is not a reason for being fired from your work or school. But the fact is that coming out disables you to have a carier. ``Don't ask don't tell'' is the most common strategy.

There is only a minor group of people in the LGBT society to consider that homosexuality is against the laws of Islam. Tendency is to simply overcome this difficulty by the following assumption: ``god created me this way, and I do not mind the rest.''

When homosexuality is considered, non-homosexual people including the Islamic ones have the following common idea: in your privacy, you can do whatever you want.

There is not a direct restriction of Islamic rituals on daily lives of LGBT. This explains why an Islamic LGBT group does not exist in Turkey.


Although the rest of the Islam world seem to disprove this idea, living in a Muslim-majority society may not end up with an Islam-centered lifestyle.



2. A BRIEF LOOK AT THE CURRENT STATE OF LGBT YOUTH IN TURKEY


The following sections are compiled from the report presented by Yesim Basaran, at the "Conference on Gay and lesbian youth on the border of EU accession" held by International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth and Student Organisation Gay (IGLYO) in January 2002, Ljubljana, Slovenia.

LGBT Youth Situation in Turkey


3. KAOS GL

Brochure for Kaos GL


4. CONCLUSIONS


In this report, homosexualities in Turkey are discussed. Turkey is a Muslim-majority country, however the laws are secular. Although Islamic rituals seem to be dominating, the lives of individuals are not Islam-centered. This also applies to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals. In order to figure out how this happens, the following statements are extracted as a conclusion to this report:


The main problems and concerns of LGBT individuals in Turkey are not Islam-centered. LGBT people agree on the same starting point: being oriented to their own sex.

There are two important conclusions about this First one is that the LGBT movements in Turkey cannot depend on the positive approaches of Islam to same-sex relations. Second one is that others, -researchers, collaborating organizations, etc.-, should not get stuck in the negative approaches of Islam to same-sex relations. Each society has its own social dynamics. These dynamics can determine the approach of religion to homosexuality rather than being determined by it.

In general, people have usual kind of prejudices against non-heterosexuality and non-heterosexual people. Homosexuality is perceived as a perversion, at least an illness, in general. However, for some people, they are also human and they can be accepted on condition that not being so much out about their homosexuality, because it's their private life. But the rising public coming out of lesbian and gay movement and the westernization politics as a whole increase the number of anti-heterosexist heterosexuals, also promotes the discussion on homosexuality in society, and sides are getting more evident.

LGBT movements in Turkey have the following common idea: our main concern is not living our homosexualities behind closed doors. Our goal is creating new regions in order to destroy heterosexism. This idea has been clear for LGBT movements in Turkey since they first appeared: we do not want gay ghettos, but the whole city (from the first issue of the journal KAOS GL, 1994).


Tags: life
Dijital