Homosexuality is a disease(!) | Halas Časopis studentů Fakulty sociálních studií. 32. ročník

Homosexuality is a disease(!)

Do rubriky Okénka napsal Ali Türünz (Pondělí,  6. prosinec 2010)

“I believe that homosexuality is a biological disorder, a disease. It is something that should be treated. Thus, I don’t think positively about same sex marriages. Our ministry doesn’t have any studies about them. There’s no demand communicated to us anyway.”

These words above belong to Aliye Kavaf, the current Minister of State of Turkey, responsible for Women and Family Affairs. Not surprisingly, Turkish LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) solidarity organizations constantly face social and judicial problems. Social obstacles include assaults to their organizations or lynch threats to the participants of LGBT street demonstrations. Judicial problems include lawsuits to close the LGBT associations. The court decided to close a prominent LGBT organization, Lambdaistanbul, in 2008, reasoning that the organization violated an article in the Turkish constitution related to the “peace and welfare of the family“. But, after an appeal by the organization, the Supreme Court acquitted the case.

While on one hand, there are LGBT public figures who can present themselves with their sexual orientation with a relative freedom (such as the popular singer, Bülent Ersoy or fashion designer, Cemil İpekçi), on the other hand, there are those non-public LGBT persons behind the scenes who are frequently subjected to violence because of their sexual orientation.

According to the Turkish Council of State, there are no articles relating to dismissing civil servants because they are homosexual; however, the internal law regulating the civil servants requires disciplinary process for those who have homosexual activity. So how do homosexuals work? Most of them hide their sexual orientation. Universities and faculties vary in terms of accepting homosexual employees. The most permissive faculties tend to be the faculties of arts and fine arts.

Although homosexuality is not illegal in Turkey, today LGBT people in Turkey do have a lot of trouble in the public sphere. However, they are forming a subculture, with gay cafes/bars, “gay-friendly” Turkish baths. Timeout Istanbul magazine has a section called “Gay & Lesbian”. A LGBT students club was formed in Istanbul Bilgi University in 2007.

There is also a discrepancy between the attitudes of psychologists and psychiatrists on homosexuality in Turkey. While the liberals problematize homophobia in society, the conservative ones attempt to convert the homosexuals into heterosexuals. Some of them even prescribe medication to do so.

The new and so-called more “democratic” constitution approved in 2010 does not include the recognition of sexual orientation rights. There are still many contradictions that pose obstacles to the LGBT community in Turkey.

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