Human Rights

“You can’t identify us; If anyone’s going to identify us, it’s us”

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Kaos GL has organized “Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity” education for the experts who work face to face with refugees.

Kaos GL is organizing “Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity” workshops for the experts who work with refugees in Mersin, İzmir, Eskişehir, and Gaziantep. The second session took place in İzmir on 22 - 23rd of May. Human rights workers from various surrounding cities have participated in the workshop.

Concepts about LGBTI+, stereotypes and myths, gender identity and re-assignment process, sexual health and fertility, working with the families and discrimination have been expressed within the scope of the workshop and after two days of education case studies took place.

“If anyone's going to identify us, it's us”

On the first day of the education, Seçin Tuncel from Kaos GL Association has commented on the LGBTI+ movement in Turkey. Tuncel asked the participants when they first heard of LGBTI+ and what they thought about it; from the answers of the audience, Tuncel has remarked which answers can be coming from which ideational backgrounds of society.

In addition, Tuncel told about the establishment of the first LGBTI + associations and emphasized the obstacles experienced in this process. Tuncel also told about the homosexuals who came together against being marginalized and formed the house chats in 93-94 and at the beginning of these house chats the LGBT+ community has started this journey by saying; “We are not monotype gay or lesbian, each of us has different personalities; You cannot identify us by saying gays and lesbians, if one is to identify us, we will be us.”

“Ignoring the 'Unwanted Groups' Raises Discrimination”

In the second session, Dr. Melek Göregenli shared about discrimination and the intellectual sub-base of discrimination.

Dr. Göregenli has mentioned how discriminating a group is used as a tool by the authorities to control that group.

“Active counseling process should be free of heteronormativity”

On the last session of the day, social worker Koray Arkadaş from Kaos GL Association has given a briefing about heteronormativity free social service and what should be considered both in theory and in practice.

Arkadaş mentioned the importance of points that have been made not just for the social services but to every kind of counseling service and underlined that aiming “being free of heteronormativity” is necessary for the active counseling process.

While mentioning the human rights violations targeting the LGBTI+’s, Arkadaş told about what specific LGBTI+ needs are. After the session, Arkadaş has moderated a case study.

“Stereotypes are shaped by social consciousness”

On the second day of the workshop, Fidan Şenova has started with a presentation on LGBTI+ notions. Şenova explained the stereotypes and myths related to this field and stated that stereotypes directed specifically to lesbian and bisexual women are shaped by whether or not being a servant to men.

Referring to the myths and the truths of these myths, Şenova touched on which social consciousnesses and cultural teachings these myths are shaped by.

“Correction of misconceptions makes identity-building even more challenging”

In the later session Psy. Dr. Seven Kaptan has mentioned several aspects of the gender reassignment process -like halting puberty treatment- and underlined things to be careful when working with a person or a family.

Describing how LGBTI + developed and changed in different disciplines over time, Kaptan pointed out that despite these developments, LGBTI +s are still widely engaged in myths. Kaptan underlined that LGBTI +s have been forced into a process of correcting the myths during the construction of their identities, which makes the identity-building process even more challenging.

After two days, a forum took place and two days of education has been consolidated with a Q&A session with the field professionals.

*This workshop was a part of the “Advancing the human rights of LGBTI refugees in Turkey” project, which is carried out with the UNHCR.

Translation: Yiğit E. Korkmaz

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