LGBTI News Turkey Week in Review: May 26-31, 2014

IGLHRC believes that a vital part of our mission is supporting the work of activist organizations and allies by disseminating important information on human rights issues affecting LGBT communities worldwide. To this end we are posting this weekly roundup from LGBTI News Turkey. LGBTI News Turkey is a group of volunteer-translators dedicated to providing English translations and sources on lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and intersex (LGBTI) issues in Turkey for journalists, activists, scholars and the general public.

May 27, 2014. “The Suffering of Bülent the Hermaphrodite”
Bülent Coşkun is a hermaphrodite (dual-sexed), who lives in Cumayeri, Düzce. They cannot go out in public. They are constantly pointed at, made fun of and constantly harassed. As if that is not enough, people want to stone and burn Bülent’s house. Bülent is a victim of hate crimes. Bülent Coşkun (34) was almost screaming on the phone. They were saying that society was punishing them for being a dual-sexed individual and was asking assistance. When we met in Düzce town center, all eyes were immediately set on Bülent who has elements of both man and woman in their body and clothes. Cars in traffic were stopping; people were pointing, laughing and looking at the “freak.” Where Bülent was verging on tears, we were almost choking. It was impossible to sit in a café and conduct the interview there; we had to go to their cottage.

May 27, 2014. “What Would Be Different if a Gay Man Was Slapped?”
The mashup photo of Taner Kurucan, a Soma resident who was allegedly slapped by PM Erdoğan during his visit, and Yasin Keskin, an LGBTI activist holding a banner “Even if we are gay,” went viral online. Bianet interviewed Yasin Keskin as the mainstream media articles and comments covertly legitimized the violence against him as he was gay. Yasin Keskin, the real owner of the photo taken at Gay Pride, filed a criminal complaint to the Antalya Prosecutor’s Office in order to determine the distributors of the photo and to prevent further publication of the images. The criminal complaint has been submitted to the İstanbul Prosecutor’s Office.

May 27, 2014. “A Transphobic Assault in Mersin: ‘What are You Doing Out on a Holy Evening?’”
A trans sex worker by the name of Cansu was attacked in Mersin, by a group of people, armed with a bat. The group’s excuse was the holy day commemorating Prophet Muhammad’s ascent to heaven. They attacked Cansu saying, “What are you doing out on a holy evening? We will not allow you all to survive here. Get out. We will clean up our streets.” The police is trying to cover up the incident.

May 28, 2014. “Yeditepe University Knows No Limits in Homophobia”
Yeditepe University administration knows no limits in homophobia: censorship, prevention of academic study, offenses against freedom of association. Anti-homophobic and transphobic students from Yeditepe University wrote a declaration regarding ongoing, frequently occuring homophobic and transphobic attitudes of the college administration. Concerned by possible threats to their ongoing education, the students could not reveal their names but spoke of what they experiences at the college.

May 28, 2014. “Istanbul Pride Week Calls for Your Support!”
The 22nd Istanbul LGBTI Pride March will take place on Sunday, 29 June 2014. LGBTI Pride Week calls for your support to fund the march and Pride Week events through this indiegogo campaign.

May 29, 2014. “Levent Pişkin: It Was Not Me; It Was the State of Being a Fag that was Judged”
Levent Pişkin was sentenced to a pecuniary fine of 1500 TL (720 USD) as a result of the “fag” tweet defamation case filed by the Prime Minister. In an atmosphere of hate, in which insulting, hate-mongering, minority targeting publications such as Yeni Akit go unpunished; a “fag” citizen’s demand for an explanation from the head of the executive, legislative and even the judiciary branches of the state was penalized. Pişkin who said, “it was not me, it was faggotry being judged” had also filed a criminal complaint, which was dismissed by the court. We talked to Pişkin about the proceedings as well as the legal and social implications of the case.