Turkey gets its first umbrella LGBTI organization to fight homophobiaAround the World, Online Only, Top Highlights Monday, October 13th, 2014
TURKEY — A new umbrella organization has been established to fight homophobia and transphobia in Turkey, the Islamic country that straddles Europe and Asia, reports GayAsiaNews.com
In existence less than two months, Turkey LGBTI Union was created in order to ensure unity and solidarity among LGBTI groups, LGBTI Web sites and LGBTI organizations, Burçin Bordanacı of the Turkey LGBTI Union told GayAsiaNews.com by email.
“Because Turkey is an Islamic country, although not in the same league as Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iraq in its vehemently anti-LGBTI stance, there is still need for togetherness and solidarity among LGBTI groups to counter the homophobia and transphobia that exists in Turkey,” Bordanacı said.
Currently, Turkey LGBTI Union has three LGBT organizations and three LGBTI Web sites that have become members stated Bordanacı.
Turkey LGBTI Union is based in the Turkish capital of Ankara and has its own website (http://lgbti.org/). It is founded by a gay activist Nikopol who was also instrumental in forming an LGBTI community/club in Turkey in 2006, Bordanacı said.
Nikopol who founded the Turk Gay Club used the Internet to bring together Turkish lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex individuals. It was dedicated to safeguarding the rights of the LGBTI community and help individuals come together and meet within a safe environment. The club has been a member of the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) since 2012.
The objectives of this latest endeavor is to concertedly help fight and safeguard LGBTI rights, push for equality laws and counter homophobia and transphobia that exists in Turkish society.
Same-sex relations have been legal in Turkey since 1858, but the law does not include sexual orientation or gender identity within its legal or civil rights structure. Current Turkish laws also do not recognize same-sex couples.
In recent years some conservative Islamic sections of Turkish society, which is predominantly Muslim, have become vociferous in their opposition to the LGBT community and equality rights and often openly advocate homophobic discrimination in Turkey. This has led to an increase in hate crimes and authorities are now proposing legislation against anti-LGBT hate crimes and discrimination, as well as to constitutionally allow the legal recognition of same-sex marriage.
The Constitution Reconciliation Commission had agreed in 2013 to provide constitutional protection against discrimination for the LGBTI community. However, that draft proposal was later cancelled on the pretext that it conflicted with other parts of the new Constitution.
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