Freedom of AssociationLGBTI/EN

To the Light and Freedom

Click to read in Kurdish or Turkish.

While hate speech and crimes continued, we asked Adana Çukurova University LGBTI+ students to become LGBTI+ in Adana.

It was decided to cancel the Istanbul Convention, which protects women from death and violence, on the grounds that LGBTI+s are “destroying the institution of family.” They ignored women, murderers, crimes, and deaths.

There are severe problems for LGBTI+s in accessing the fundamental rights of every citizen/individual, such as housing, education, health, workplace, social security, and personal security, which the state should provide.

We see politicians and some walk of life of people walking alongside the ideology of heterosexism, step by step. I am unsure to what extent we can reach these rights, which are demanded from people who place discrimination in their minds as an ideology.

It is tragicomic that LGBTI+s are accused of disrupting the aforementioned “institution of family”; at the same time, that concept includes girls getting married, pedophilia, patriarchy and paternalistic order, psychological violence, physical violence, murder committed under the name of “honor,” incest, insecurity instilled in the child, not accepting the child as an individual, not giving the child the right to speak, restricting the child, sexual abuse, harassment, and rape.

The fact that the hate crime was supported by the state and RTÜK and gathered under the name of “Great Family Gathering” brought with it the decision to spread the hate rally to the provinces. While this is the picture, we talked to two LGBTI+ students from Adana Çukurova University about the situation in Adana.

How is it to live in Adana as LGBTI+? What are the families, society, and the government’s approaches to this issue?

Dila, the Çukurova University Fashion Design Department student: As an LGBTI+ individual, living not only in Adana but also in Turkey has many problems. Just as nothing is respected across the country, LGBTI+s are not. Unfortunately, this is also the case in Adana. The hatred towards LGBTI+s is visibly evident. Posters against LGBTI+ individuals are on the walls in many parts of Adana. A hate march was held in the country, and no one from the government opposed it; furthermore, the government supported it. Considering this situation, neither Adana nor the country’s government respects LGBTI+s and turns a blind eye to the violence inflicted on them.

Deniz, the Çukurova University student: Living in Adana as an LGBTI+ individual is one of the different experiences I have had so far. Because unlike the cities I have lived in before (Trabzon, Mardin, Giresun, Sakarya), I can live my identity more freely in certain parts of Adana compared to other cities, albeit a little. But in some regions, I have to disguise my identity. My family is very oppressive, my brother threatened me with death when he suspected I was LGBTI+, and my family has stringent rules on this issue. The government’s stance is clear; it has rhetoric as LGBTI+ individuals do not exist and aims to destroy them.

What are your thoughts on the LGBTI+ movement in Turkey? While the attacks against LGBTI+s have increased so much, what do you think about the suggestion that one of the reasons for retreating from the Istanbul Convention is LGBTI+s?

Dila: In the past, LGBTI+s were more unconscious and discouraged than now and could come out. Because of the pressures, they didn’t even come out to themselves, let alone to others. But, as a result of the fact that this movement is in the spotlight at the moment, individuals became conscious and encouraged early. Because many people truly know and accept themselves too late. The cancellation of the Istanbul Convention is a message not only to LGBTI+s but also to women and children. We can say that the security of women’s, children’s, and LGBTI+s’ lives disappeared with the abolition of the Istanbul convention.

Deniz: I think one of the reasons why they canceled the Istanbul Convention is that the LGBTI+ movement has had a significant impact. Because they think that we are destroying the image of the “traditional family,” they are constantly trying to destroy us. Because they are blindly dependent on their traditions, they tend to ignore individuals who are unfamiliar to them.

Are there any violations you have suffered or witnessed in Adana?

Dila: I can give two examples of this question. Earlier, when I was walking out with my girlfriend, a woman looked at us, grumbled, and said, “impudent.” We didn’t do anything wrong, but because we were both women, we were subjected to verbal abuse. After that day, I could not hold my girlfriend’s hand comfortably outside because there was a possibility that verbal abuse could turn into physical violence. I could not risk it, and I still can’t. While I was walking around with another friend, we were subjected to verbal abuse again. She was a masculine person, and just because she had short hair, they said nasty words like “lesbos, fags.”Deniz: I have not been wronged until now in Adana because I have to hide my sexual identity all the time. I can meet people with the same sexual orientation as me with dating apps. Because I hide my identity in my social life, I can’t quite figure out who has the same orientation as me. Sometimes I can tell from their attitudes or actions. But an old friend of mine who is gay was bullied, and his ex-partner exposed his private photos and messages.

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