09/06/2011 | Writer: Kaos GL

Today is 17th of May! International Day against Homophobia! 17th of May, International Day against Homophobia, is a day of counteraction and resistance against all physical, moral or symbolic forms of violence with respect to Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation.

 

 

Today is 17th of May! International Day against Homophobia! 17th of May, International Day against Homophobia, is a day of counteraction and resistance against all physical, moral or symbolic forms of violence with respect to Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation.
In its continuous fight against discrimination on the basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, Kaos GL has been organizing the International Meeting against Homophobia during the Week of 17th of May for six years as a part of its actions against homophobia and transphobia.
Kaos GL Association is involved in a constant struggle for the improvement of human rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transvestite and Transsexual (LGBT) individuals in the face of discrimination and aims with this activity to create a basis to discuss, and ensure the visibility of, discrimination against LGBT individuals in Turkey.  
 
Meeting against homophobia and transphobia since 2006!
Open to the participation everyone that wishes to discuss homophobia and the problems of LGBTs and to ensure freedom for themselves and for everyone, both homosexuals and heterosexuals, the International Meeting against Homophobia has now transcended the margins of Ankara and spread its wings to various provinces throughout Turkey thanks to the networks woven in the course of the fight against discrimination.
Firstly organized in May 2006, the International Meeting against Homophobia embraces this year its sixth anniversary. The Sixth Meeting has left behind 14 cities in the March-April local program and is ongoing in Ankara during the period between the 1st and 22nd of May. The Meeting will be concluded in Ankara with the “March against Homophobia and Transphobia” on 22nd of May.
 
Why does Kaos GL Organize the Meeting?
Assuming the coordinating role for the Meeting, Kaos GL has been involved in organizing events in the social, cultural and academic spheres for the improvement of the human rights of LGBT individuals against discrimination since the early ‘90s. 
Kaos GL attained the title of a legitimate association in 2005 under the name “Kaos Gay-Lesbian Cultural Research and Solidarity Association” and has since then continued its efforts and fight for LGBT rights.
With the Meeting against Homophobia and Transphobia, the Association aims to create a basis to discuss, and ensure the visibility of, discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transvestite and Transsexual (LGBT) individuals in Turkey.
Kaos GL wishes for the exchange and discussion of thoughts on a world where LGBT individuals and heterosexuals will be liberated together.  
The Meeting against Homophobia enables the dissemination of efforts for the improvement of the freedom of organization and expression of the LGBT community and for the provision of their freedom from discrimination.
Kaos GL provides solidarity to LGBT individuals in other cities to enable them to create their own organizations.  
The Association works to ensure the visibility of the human rights of LGBT individuals. To that end, Kaos GL implements various joint activities against homophobia together with numerous national and international agencies and institutions at a range extending from women’s organizations to human rights organizations.
The International Meeting against Homophobia is getting more and more widespread over other provinces by reason of the networks woven in all of these joint activities and in the course of the fight against discrimination.  
 
Homophobia: Whose business?
Adapting the 17th of May – International Day against Homophobia to Turkey with the “Meeting against Homophobia” program, Kaos GL is asking the question: “Whose business is homophobia?” and tries to establish the connections among different forms of discrimination, aiming at weaving horizontal networks between practical responses against these forms of discrimination and fights for freedom.
After Kaos GL had drawn attention to the connections existing between the homophobia and transphobia issue and sexism, nationalism, racism and militarism, the question “Whose business is homophobia?” was embraced by the academia and by different circles of the civil society. By this way, there have emerged students’ groups and non-governmental organizations that wish to be organized in their own cities and campuses by adapting the Meeting against Homophobia to their own fighting efforts, thus paving the way for the discussion of the homophobia issue in cities and campuses where LGBT individuals are not yet visible. 
 
Why “from 1st of May to 17th of May”?
Building upon the motto “the demand for freedom is shared and so the fight for freedom must be”, Kaos GL builds bridges between fights for freedom from the 1st of May to the 17th of May.
The 1st of May is a very significant milestone for the fighting efforts of LGBT individuals in Turkey. In 2001, Kaos GL came forward into the public sphere for the first time with its participation in the celebrations in Ankara and demonstrated the joint nature of the labour struggle with the LGBT struggle with rainbow flags and slogans. The Meeting against Homophobia is also developing as a part of the struggle for freedom. Kaos GL pursues the objective of the unification of struggles against the attacks and discrimination faced by LGBT individuals, as well as the enlargement of their spheres of influence.
The institutionalization of the global LGBT movement and struggle for rights brought forth new extensions. Nevertheless, homophobia and transphobia still constitute a problem of a global scale despite the numerous rights gained mostly in the West. Therefore, the decision taken with the International Day against Homophobia (IDAHO) to spring into action and to take it to the streets matches up perfectly with the International Meeting against Homophobia running from the 1st of May to the 17th of May.  
 
20 years passed since 17 May 1990!
Even though it has been 20 years past since 17 May 1990 when World Health Organization removed homosexuality from the “International Classification of Diseases”, stigmatisation and discrimination against homosexuals are still prevalent. In Turkey, as is the case in various regions of the world, discrimination against homosexuals not only forces individuals out of healthcare programs by restricting access to healthcare services, but also deprives LGBT individuals of their most fundamental human rights. Most importantly, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity can also take the form of violence and hate murder. Whereas homosexuality is regarded as a “crime” in numerous regions of the world, a homosexual in Turkey is treated as a “criminal without a crime”. The government, failing to recognize the LGBT reality, is not taking any legal measures against the annihilation of LGBT individuals, already deprived of their most fundamental human rights, with hate murders.
 
We March against Homophobia and Transphobia     
The march organized by reason of 17th of May – Day against Homophobia is undertaken by LGBT individuals and organizations from the four corners of Turkey. Within the scope of the 6th Meeting, the “March against Homophobia” will be held on Sunday, 22nd of May, in Ankara under the rainbow flag against homophobia, transphobia and hate. 
 
So, what are on the 17th of May Agenda of Turkey?
Coming together under the title “Rainbow Coalition against Discrimination”, LGBT associations and initiatives of Turkey demand the prohibition of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity with a request for equality.

Lesbians, gays, bisexuals and trans individuals are exposed to violence, individuals are murdered. LGBT individuals are faced with discrimination and alienation in the educational life and it becomes almost impossible for them to continue with their lives due to the discriminatory treatment they receive in the public sphere on the basis of their sexual orientation and sexual identity.
The Coalition demands that Article 10 titled “Equality before the Law” of the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey be amended to include “sexual orientation and gender identity” as one of the bases for the prohibition of discrimination and to provide a clear definition to this basis. Furthermore, the Coalition puts forth another request that Article 3 titled “Principle of Equality and Prohibition of Discrimination” of the Draft Law on the Anti-Discrimination and Equality Institution be amended accordingly to include “sexual orientation and gender identity” as one of the bases for the prohibition of discrimination and to provide a clear definition to this basis.
 
Kaos GL
 
 
Translated from Turkish by Gökçe Katkıcı

 


Tags: human rights
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