In School, at Work, in the Parliament: LGBTIs are everywhere!
As lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) individuals living in Turkey, we experience social prejudice and discriminatory policies due to our sexual orientation and/or gender identity in access to health care, housing, education, employment and other areas of life.
Our country’s constitution and laws either ignore or fuel discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Despite international agreements Turkey is party to, our country still does not recognize LGBTIs as equal citizens.
Hate crimes and violence that target LGBTI individuals rise every day. Social pressure and discrimination lead many of our friends to suicide.
The LGBTI rights movement of more than twenty years in Turkey continues its work to ensure that LGBTIs live in a just society as equal and free individuals and the ability to exist in all aspects of social life freely. As part of this movement, we believe that the solution to LGBTIs problems can only be possible when LGBTIs can use all of their political rights, including the right to vote and be elected with their open LGBTI identity.
We think the presence of LGBTIs in politics carries great importance to actualize LGBTIs right to life, health care, housing, and employment.
We see the 10% election threshold in Turkey’s election system as one of most fundamental obstacles to democratic and just representation. Like other disadvantaged groups facing discrimination because of the lack of justice in representation, we argue that the direct participation of LGBTIs in decision-making mechanisms is a non-negotiable part of democratization.
As the general elections approach, we have started our “In school, at work, in the parliament!” election campaign to involve LGBTIs in decision- and policy-making processes. Our demands from candidates for parliament membership, political parties, and party leaders are:
- Policy suggestions for LGBTI rights and freedoms should be part of election campaigns.
- All impediments to LGBTI political participation should be lifted. The necessary precautions must be taken to ensure that LGBTIs serve in all levels of the political establishment with their open LGBTI identity.
- Steps must be taken to actualize rights-based social policies. Election campaigns should share with the public plans to ensure that LGBTIs have equal access to education, health care, housing, employment, retirement, senior citizens’ rights, income support and other social policies.
- Steps must be taken to ensure that the new Constitution drafting process be a transparent and participatory one. Approaches to the protection of all human rights, including LGBTI rights, must be shared with the public.
- Cooperation with the LGBTI movement to actualize LGBTI rights must be established.