Whose morality is this anyway?

Whose morality is this anyway?

The world is discussing robots. It is a discussion covering all the dimensions of the subject, from how they will affect employment to robot rights and ethical matters.

Giant companies and states have confined themselves inside laboratories designing the future world. 

Meanwhile, what is happening in Turkey? Forget robots; this is a country that has not solved its issues with people. All hell has broken loose after a local government in this country allocated its billboards to LGBTI organizations. On the billboard: “I am a lesbian, trans, bisexual, intersex. I am at school, office, parliament; I am everywhere.”

The issue is not what is written on the billboards. The issue is that quite a lot of people, even though they live with lesbian, trans, bisexual and intersex people in the same house, same street, in the same neighborhood, the same city or same country, act as if they do not exist. 

Those who have started a smear campaign against these billboards are the ones who are the biggest hypocrites. LBGTI people, (in other words, people who have sexual orientations and identities outside of what some people accept) are one of those groups who are subject to the most right violations. 

Those who act as if these people do not exist or those who want them to disappear frequently resort to the concept of “public morality.”  

When public morality is mentioned, things like not lying, not stealing and being just come to my mind. Why should a person’s sexual preference be a matter of public decency? It shouldn’t, but it used all the time. They use the “general morality” as a measure and reason to restrict rights and freedoms. Whose morality acts as a model for general morality is uncertain, however. A woman divorcing her husband may lose the custody of her child because “she has lesbian tendencies.” When a woman is harassed, her clothes and conduct are used as excuses. This is because we take morality, which is a flexible concept, as reference, not a universal human right. 

The reaction in social media against Istanbul’s Kadıköy Municipality’s allocating billboards to the LBGTI community was “What do LBGTI have to do with Women’s Day? The municipality has to apologize to women.” 

These public morality supporters do not regard gay women as women. In fact, lesbian, bisexual, trans and intersex women have joined in the organization and activities of Women’s Day meetings and night parades for years. 

But, somehow, womanhood has been turned into an identity which is acceptable only in certain forms. Anybody else other than married women with children, who do not go out at night, who dress modestly, and those who comfort their husbands are considered women while anybody who does not fit into this description are “otherized.” 

Imagine a society that is even trying to make single women invisible. Then imagine how visible gay women would be in the same society. Woman homosexuality is only fantasy material for men. 

These billboards are useful because when homosexuality is mentioned, people only think of homosexual men. Gay women are completely made invisible.  

These billboards emphasize that not all women are heterosexual; there are women with different sexual orientations and sexual identities.  

These posters should be hung on all of our streets, not only for a week in the neighborhood of one city, so that some people learn that lesbians are not in space. They live among us and nobody can disregard the identity of others on reasons of public morality.