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Yusuf Gülsevgi from Antep Zeugmadi LGBTI has evaluated the preclusion and bans that started in capital Ankara against the LGBTI activities to bianet.
Saying that Ankara Governorship’s ban decision feeds prejudices against the LGBTIs, Gülsevgi explained that two LGBTI activists were subjected to first verbal and then physical violence in Antep following the decision of ban.
Have you faced any preclusions in Antep?
No, we haven’t but we held the panel banned in Ankara in Antep, and then we screened a movie that was prevented at the ODTÜ (Middle East Technical University) and made a statement for the press.
How do you evaluate the ban in Ankara?
We define this ban as a violation of human rights. It negatively affects everybody. They limit rights and freedoms of the LGBTIs. I think it might spread to other cities as well.
What is the situation in Antep?
There is no ban in Antep as of now but there is social pressure here, just like everywhere in Turkey. We are not visible enough in Antep. We think that bans might be imposed in Antep too when we become more visible.
Have you had any concerns when you organize an event in Antep after the ban in Ankara?
We are definitely worried. Many people don’t come to the events and the ones who come fear of being detained or being attacked.
Have LGBTIs’ lives changed in Antep after the ban in Ankara?
Before the ban, there were pressures and prejudices in Antep just like everywhere else in Turkey. After the ban, the prejudices have increased. Ankara Governorship has given green light to homophobic and transphobic people.
Two of our friends were subjected to violence after the ban. Messages such as “You are sick and the Governorship has put a lid on this, and we as citizens will not allow it” were shared on the social media.
A gay friend of ours was harassed because of his appearance and was subjected to physical violence when he resisted.
Another trans man friend of ours was subjected to homophobic and transphobic statements on the street and was subjected to physical violence when he resisted it. When they went to the police station following the attack, police told them “Forget about it, such things happen all the time. Usually transes come and nothing happens. Don’t trouble yourself in vain”. Legal action was taken at the police station upon their insistence.
A large number of refugees live in Antep. What is the situation of LGBTI refugees?
There are prejudices against the refugees. The people in Antep accuse them of being “traitors”. Many of them are subjected to violence. LGBTI refugees are subjected to both homophobic and transphobic as well as racist prejudices. Being LGBTI means being other of the other.
Ankara Governorship banned the events to be held by “LGBTI NGOs” indefinitely on the pretext of “public morality” and “social sensitivity and sensibilities” on November 19.
The Governorship banned German LGBTI Film Days on November following some tweets posted with the hashtags #LGBTFilmGünleriİptalEdilsin (#MayLGBTFilmDaysBeCancelled) and #İstiklalimizeKaraLeke (#BlackMarkOnOurFreedom).
The 11th leg of the Gender-Based Journalism Workshop carried out by the International Press Service (IPS) Communication Foundation with the support of Kaos GL, was cancelled as well as it was targeted by the media. The workshop was planned to be held on November 18, in Turkey's southeastern province of Mardin.
Beyoğlu sub-Governorship cancelled the film days to be held on November 25 with the cooperation British Council and Kuirfest.
The LGBTI organizations Kaos GL and Pembe Hayat (Pink Life) separately filed lawsuits against Ankara Governorship banning all LGBTI events indefinitely for the decision to be revoked and the execution to be suspended. (ÇT/TK)
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