Turkish LGBTI associations condemn homophobic news items against openly gay HDP candidate
Cihan PhotoThree lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) associations have condemned homophobic news items published by a number of Turkish media outlets against an openly gay candidate running for the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in the upcoming elections, news portal bianet has reported.
The Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association (SPoD LGBTI), Kaos GL and the Pembe Hayat (Pink Life) Association have issued statements condemning news items by four dailies - Star, Sabah, Yeni Akit and Milli Gazete - and one television channel - Rehber TV - which are known to be staunch supporters of the government and have targeted Barış Sulu, a deputy candidate from the Central Anatolian province of Eskişehir for the HDP, over the past week.
The support also came a day after Yeni Akit brought the issue to its readers’ notice with the headline “HDP receives homos with open arms,” which in Turkish would be regarded as humiliating and discriminative. The news was built on the details of state-run Anadolu Agency’s interview with Sulu.
In the interview with Anadolu Agency on May 25, Sulu had said he had chosen the HDP because LGBTI individuals had been in the party from the very beginning and it was not a group that was just added later. Sulu had added he knew he faced an uphill task in a country where “85 percent of people” do not approve of LGBTI individuals, in his own words.
The SPoD LGBTI said in a statement titled “Barış Sulu is neither wrong nor alone,” that they would support everyone who conducted politics with open identities, while also calling on the media to be more sensitive on human rights issues.
Meanwhile, KaosGL and Pembe Hayat said in a statement titled “Homophobia’s an excuse, fascism’s stupendous,” that media portals close to the government were continuing to ignore the human rights of LGBTI individuals, while also propagating discriminative and hateful ideology.
Talking to bianet, Sulu said the homophobic news items produced lately using him as the main subject proved how important it was to make a law on banning hate speech.
“We should thank these media organs for raising the public’s awareness in this way,” Sulu said.