24/06/2011 | Writer: KAOS GL

"Equality Here and Now - Stop Discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans Individuals in Turkey" was a panel of the 19th LGBTT Istanbul Pride Week where LGBT individuals described the rights violations they experienced.



The fourth day of the 19th LGBTT Istanbul 2011 Pride Week was marked by a panel discussion with the heading "Equality Here and Now - Stop Discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans Individuals in Turkey". Lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans(LGBT) individuals talked about rights violations they experienced because of their sexual orientation or identity.
Speakers of the panel included the Turkish Branch Director of Amnesty International (AI),Murat Çekiç, Buse Kılıçkaya from the Pink Life Association, Eylül Yıldız from the Purple Hand Association, Deniz Solmaz from the Izmir Black Pink Triangle Association and Rüzgar Gökçe Gözüm from LambdaIstanbul.
"Neither an illness nor a crime"
Murat Çekiç said that the Turkish government was pursuing policies of planned and systematic discrimination against LGBT individuals.
He referred to the report "’Neither an illness nor a crime": lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans individuals in Turkey want equality". The report tackles problems like the hostile attitude of the government against LGBT individuals, lack of legal protection, police violence, threat, harassment and rape, access to the right to shelter, the right to asylum, closure cases and hate murders.
"Trans individuals are in the worst situation"
Buse Klılıçkaya emphasized that trans individuals are exposed to hate crimes the most. She gave several examples for rights violations experienced by LGBT individuals:
"Certain houses were closed on Bayram Streed in Beyoğlu [Istanbul]; the Kaos GL magazine was tagged pornographic; the Ahmet Yıldız trial is still pending; the closure case against LambdaIstanbul; 14 LGBT individuals killed in 2007..."
Eylül Yıldız mentioned the disputed internet filter that is expected to be enforced on 22 August puts people from small towns who did sex work via the internet in a difficult situation.
He added, "LGBT individuals are forced to withdraw their criminal complaints because they are not safe and the legal procedures advance very slowly".
"Increase of police pressure because of ’bonus system’"
Deniz Solmaz drew attention to the "bonus system" introduced first in Izmir and later in Istanbul. The system gains police officers "vacation and promotion" and thus lead to an increase of police raids, Solmaz explained.
Solmaz said that the "bonus system" was the reason for arbitrary custodies of trans individuals by the police wherever they are being spotted.
"Transsexuality should be removed from list of mental illnesses"
Rüzgar Göçe Gözüm described the government as the "producer of transphobia".
"As far as sexual issues are being concerned, the state does not recognize us with our bodies. Our most important demand is to remove transsexuality from the list of mental illnesses".
"Trans individuals need a report on their mental health because of the change of their identity. You have to hate your body during these sessions. The mental state of an individual changes after having attended the compulsory group therapies. The individuals have to pass from their existing sexuality to a constructed one and in doing so they need to comply with social norms. We request compulsory psychiatric sessions to become optional and surgery to be free of charge". 
(bianet / Selin Özmen)


Tags: human rights