LGBT group presses for charter rights
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
This file photo shows gay rights activists during a demonstration in Ankara to protest the prejudices and discrimination against the LGBT community. AA photoActivists from Turkey’s LGBT community made their first formal appearance in Parliament yesterday as they presented their demands for guarantees against sexual discrimination in the new constitution.
The Social Policies, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association (SPOD), which had earlier submitted a written report, was represented at the Constitution Conciliation Commission by Chairwoman Sedef Çakmak and executive board members Erdal Demirdağ and Osman Cihan Hüroğlu.
The activists said lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people were often forced to conceal their identity and demanded that the new charter explicitly ban discrimination on the basis of sexual identity and sexual orientation.
They pointed to the example of EU and North American countries, where discrimination against LGBT communities is formally acknowledged as a violation of human rights.
Çakmak said even China had formally removed homosexuality from the list of mental disorders. Such prejudices, however, persist in Turkey, she said, pointing to former State Minister Aliye Kavaf, who sparked controversy in 2010 by describing homosexuality as “a disease that needs treatment.”
Çakmak said the reference to “general morality” in provisions on basic rights and freedoms was often used as a basis for discriminatory moves targeting the LGBT community and demanded that the new constitution “must not include any such definition.”
Also yesterday, the Commission listened to representatives of the Judges and Prosecutors Association (YARSAV), a fervent government critic. The group called for the abolition of special-authority courts and the 10-percent threshold.