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First published at eurOut.

1858. The Tanzimat Era of the Ottoman Emprire. Almost 100 years before England and Germany did, the country that we now know as Turkey decriminalises homosexuality.

Detail of ILGA Europe's Rainbow Europe Country Map

Fast forward 152 years. Do we find a gay-friendly utopia, ahead off all of Europe in regards to lgbt rights? Apart from homosexual acts between two consenting adults not being a crime, and the age of consent being the same as for heterosexual ones, the answer is still No. Turkey ranks on the bottom of ILGA's Rainbow Europe Country Index

Detail of ILGA Europe's Rainbow Europe Country Index

The facts are these:

  • Turkey does not have laws against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
  • Turkey does not legally recognize same-sex partnerships.
  • Even though it isn't a law, the Turkish Council of State has ruled that homosexuals should not have custody of children.
  • Gay and bisexual men are banned from serving in the compulsory military service. (They have to "provide photographic proof" of their homosexuality, and a "small number have had to undergo humiliating medical examinations.")
  • The lgbt organisation Lambda Istanbul is only legal as long as it isn't "encouraging lesbian, gay, bisexual, transvestite and transsexual behaviour with the aim of spreading such sexual orientations". (ILGA Europe)
  • "Honour" killings aren't a thing of the past. Only two years ago 26 year old Ahmet Yildiz was shot by his own father for being gay. Eight transsexuals have been killed in the last one and a half years.

Istanbul. Photo by Panoramaster
'Homosexuals are dying and the state sees nothing,' demonstrators chanted along with other slogans such as 'the revolt of the homosexuals continues.'
The Straits Times about last Sunday's Gay Rally in Istanbul.
Last sunday, June 13, about 300 people took part in the Istanbul Gay Pride Rally and read out the names of victims of such "honour" killings. May no new names be added to this list.

- - -
Are you from Turkey? Do you have any first hand experiences about how it is to live in Turkey as a lesBian? Tell us about it in the comments!


joan_psmith: name icon (Default)
Joan Y. Psmith
"Because we're grown-ups now, and it's our turn to decide what that means."
~ xkcd

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