Every discourse targeting LGBTI+ community manifests as violence in their lives – Selma Koçak / KAOS GL

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During the Kadıköy Municipality Assembly meeting, CHP Council Member İpek Demirtaş celebrated Pride Month. Following Demirtaş’s speech, a discussion erupted. AKP Assembly Member Elif Lale Bilgili questioned, “We would like to learn the content of the services you offer to LGBT people.”

KAOS GL, June 7, 2024, by Selma Koçak

At the Kadıköy Municipality Assembly Meeting held on 6 June 2024, Republican People’s Party (CHP) Assembly Member İpek Demirtaş celebrated Pride Month. Highlighting the importance of Pride Month for expressing demands for equality and justice, Demirtaş emphasized that Turkey ranks third from the bottom among 49 European countries in terms of LGBTI+ access to human rights. Demirtaş continued as following:

“As in many parts of the world, June is celebrated as Pride Month in Turkey. During this month, LGBTI+ civil society organizations hold events to draw attention to human rights and express their demands for equality and justice. According to recent data from ILGA Europe, which annually ranks LGBTI+ access to human rights, Turkey ranks third from the bottom among 49 European countries. Additionally, past data from Transgender Europe indicates that Turkey ranks first in Europe and 12th globally in transgender murders. Information shared by non-governmental organizations highlights that LGBTI+ community face significant discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, preventing them from equally accessing rights to health, education, work, housing, and a life free from violence. Every discourse that targets LGBTI+ people by labeling them as ‘sick,’ ‘criminal,’ ‘sinner,’ or ‘deviant’ manifests as discrimination, inequality, and violence in their lives across all areas of life.”

“I hope that elected officials will gain awareness and implement supportive measures”

Drawing attention to the research report published by the Social Policy, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association (SPoD) in 2021, Demirtaş stated, “10 percent of the participants in the research reported having housing issues, 26 percent experienced violence, 33 percent could not access social assistance, and 46 percent lacked access to psychosocial support. Unfortunately, even when applying to public institutions and municipalities, LGBTI+ individuals refrain from seeking services due to fear of discrimination. When they do seek services, they encounter problems due to prejudiced and discriminatory attitudes, and protective and preventive measures against this discrimination are not effectively implemented.”

Reminding the assembly of the international conventions to which Turkey is a party and the provisions of the constitution, as well as highlighting the services provided by Kadıköy Municipality for LGBTI+ individuals, Demirtaş said, “We support LGBTI+ individuals. We stand behind them with all our policies. It is possible to create and present much more supportive environments. I hope that we, as elected officials, and other municipalities will gain awareness on this issue and implement supportive measures. I congratulate the Pride Month of all LGBTI+ people living in Kadıköy and across Turkey, wishing them a time of living and socializing freely.”

After Demirtaş’s speech, a debate broke out in the Municipality Assembly session. Justice and Development Party (AKP) Assembly Member Elif Lale Bilgili took the floor and said, “We would like to know the content of the services you offer to LGBT people. How many staff, if any, are there in the municipality?”

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