The Reality Must Be Recognized!
By Ali Erol, Translation by Murat Cömert
In pursuit of equality, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) organizations demand that “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” be added to Article 10 of the Constitution of the Turkish Republic. This demand had long become an agenda topic before the recent flare up of debates over constitutional change.
Ten years have passed since the demand for such a change first found its expression in the slogan “Amendment Bill to Article 10: Sexual Orientation!” that was chanted on the May Day March in Ankara. This was five years earlier than the topic of a “civilian constitution” was brought up in political circles.
As the constitutional debate gained momentum, the call for “Amendment Bill to Article 10: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity!” has become “undebatable” for the prospect of constitutional “equality”, for which the LGBT organizations from all over have been collaborating.
While the debates on new constitution have been continuing since 2007 with ups and downs in popularity and intensity, a turning point has been reached: surpassing the collaborative efforts of the LGBT organizations, no constitutional proposition is now considered complete without the mentioning of “sexual orientation” or “gender identity”, be it made by women’s organizations, or labor unions and political circles who once watched the chanting LGBT people on that May Day March 10 years ago with baffled looks that said “what now, gays! where did that come from?”.
Although the AKP government had declared its determination to pass “a constitution that will include all divisions of society” as early as the initial stages of the new constitution movement since 2007 post-elective period, it was also made known that LGBT individuals were not to be included in the described “society”.
Tired of waiting for their turn to come in the endless list of hierarchy of rights, the LGBT organizations voiced their objection, saying that “in this society, there are not only heterosexuals, we too exist!”. The government’s declaration that “gays may well ask for equality, but we will not give them that” and the suggestion that the LGBT individuals wait for the 22nd century to come for equality was answered with a determined appeal: “we will not wait another hundred years for equality!”.