26/08/2013 | Writer: Kaos GL
The newsletter aims to cover LGBT developments and struggles since May from countries in the Balkans, Caucasus, the Middle East and North Africa.
“The Regional Network Against Homophobia” releases its first Newsletter 3 months after its first Memorandum for the IDAHO 2013*. The newsletter aims to cover LGBT developments and struggles since May from countries in the Balkans, Caucasus, the Middle East and North Africa. In August 2013 Newsletter, the Network will take you to a tour of legal achievements, systematic attacks, limits on freedom of assembly and fights for freedom of expression.
Albania changed its Penal Code on May 4 to include an LGBT-inclusive hate crime legislation. The move came after the Ombudsman of Albania met civil society to discuss the suggestions for the criminal code of Albania.
Bosnia and Herzegovina also celebrated a hate crime law on July 23, covering sexual orientation and gender identity. The government prepared the law in cooperation with the Coalition for Combatting Hate Speech and Hate Crimes, of which Sarajevo Open Center is a member.
Sarajevo Open Center team
Turkey is in the process of writing a new Consititution to replace the one written in 1982 after a junta . The expression “sexual orientation and gender identity” is added on the Constitutional Draft on August 13; however, the expression is not written in the article on equality itself but in its preamble, an explanatory part about the articles for judges and prosecutors.
LGBT organizations in Turkey demand legal protection of their rights as they were struck by 4 transphobic hate crimes only in July.
Dora Özer, a trans woman aged 25, murdered in Kuşadası, Turkey on July 9
Greece continues systematic arrest of trans women since August 2012. Women experienced excessive ID verifications and forced HIV screenings. ‘Sweep’ operations continued with the arrest of lawyer Electra Koutra on June 4, who defend the arrested and harassed women. Minister of Public Order and Citizen Protection, Nikos Dendias said that it was all done to “correct the image” of Thessaloniki.
Lebanon witnessed a milestone in its healthcare system on July 11 as the Lebanese Psychiatrics Society released a statement declaring “Homosexuality is not a mental disorder and does not need to be treated.”
Freedom of Expression
However, Armenia is under the effect of the Russian “gay propaganda” law, which caused an international tension over the security of athletes in Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. In early August, the Armenian police proposed a bill against ‘non-traditional sexual relationships.’ The bill was withdrawn due to its ‘shortcomings’ but the LGBT organization Pink Armenia is concerned as the bill is not completely cancelled.
Freedom of Assembly
So-called traditional values has sparkled a violent incident on the other side of border. Georgia has seen a brutal attack of thousands during the LGBT Pride Parade in the capital of Tblisi on IDAHO. The leader of the attack turned out to be Georgian Orthodox priests. The priests face charges that could require them to serve jail time.
LGBT Pride Parade attacked in Tblisi, Georgia
Macedonia’s Pride Week started with an attack on June 22 to the LGBTI Support Center where there was an ongoing event with around 40 people. In July, there was another attempt to burn down the place, however, the Macedonian institutions did not condemn the incidents of homophobia and transphobia.
Egypt had a heated summer with a junta and tremandous protests. During these demonstrations, a sad number of sexual assaults and rape has been reported. The feminist collective HarassMap continues to report sexual assaults that take place during massive demonstrations in the heart of militarism.
On the other side of the Mediterrannean Sea, LGBT people in Turkey increased their visibility during Gezi Park protests in June. Feminists and LGBTs also organized forums to subvert the sexist, homophobic and transphobic language of many protestors.
First LGBT Pride March in İstanbul after Gezi Park demonstrations
The 11th LGBT Pride March in İstanbul on June 30 was attended by some 50,000 people, showing the impact of solidarity formed during Gezi demonstrations. Slogans of the Pride went beyond LGBT rights and embraced other supressed minorities in Turkey like the Kurdish and the Armenian.
Also in Ankara, the 8th International Anti-Homophobia Meeting focused on LGBTs’ place on current Peace process.
Another pride event that fought against nationalism was held in Greece. The 9th and the largest ever Athens Pride took place on June 8 and attracted 15,000 people marching in the parade.
Besides these well-established prides, Montenegro celebrated its first pride parade in Budva on July 24. 20 people who attempted to attack LGBT activists were detained by police and the activists succeeded in organizing this milestone event safe and sound.