Türkçe | Français | English
To read the other articles of this file, follow this link

Free­dom is what­ev­er we under­stand it to be. This is to say it does­n’t have an exis­tence of its own. For instance, a tree has an exis­tence inde­pen­dent from our per­cep­tion of it. Yet free­dom is a social phe­nom­e­non that can­not extend beyond our under­stand­ing of it.”
Emrah Günok, Duvar 2018

The tri­al of those who say “Anoth­er world is pos­si­ble” with the LGBTQI+ community

Much as the “Kur­dish prob­lem” serves as a lit­mus test for those who call them­selves demo­c­ra­t­ic, lib­er­al, social­ist, com­mu­nist and anar­chist in Turkey, the approach towards the LGBTQI+ proves a sim­i­lar chal­lenge for those call­ing for a uni­ver­sal human­ism and claim­ing that î Those who announced in the begin­ning of the 20th cen­tu­ry  that “we don’t need cap­i­tal­ism, we will build anoth­er world where every­one will be free and hap­py”, have dis­ap­peared unfor­tu­nate­ly, because they have turned into the very sys­tems they opposed. Anoth­er fun­da­men­tal rea­son for their down­fall was their unre­solved  prob­lems around the het­ero-nor­ma­tive/­pa­tri­ar­chal con­struct of gen­der in mod­ern times.. (source)

In our time, West­ern soci­ety began its process of eman­ci­pa­tion espe­cial­ly with the gen­er­a­tion of ’68, and fur­ther evolved through wom­en’s and LGBTQI+ move­ments. With this trans­for­ma­tion, indi­vid­u­als’ claims  were legit­imized on mat­ters of iden­ti­ty, gen­der, sex­u­al ori­en­ta­tion and cul­tur­al iden­ti­ty replac­ing def­i­n­i­tions imposed by author­i­ties. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, this has not been the case in the Mid­dle East. Iden­ti­ty and belong­ing con­tin­ue to be the pri­ma­ry rea­sons feed­ing con­flicts, vio­lence and war. Despite the seri­ous­ness of the sit­u­a­tion when I talk about this to a social­ist, a demo­c­rat or an oppo­nent from Turkey or Kur­dis­tan, the con­ver­sa­tion leads to state­ments such as: “But my friend! Is this real­ly the time for it?”; “Com­rade, of course, we know what you’re say­ing, but the cap­i­tal­ist impe­ri­al­ist sys­tem is on the attack, they’re hit­ting strong­ly on iden­ti­ty top­ics, would­n’t this LGBTQI+ busi­ness serve to divide the social­ist struggle?”

While iden­ti­ty and belong­ing remain bit­ter top­ics in the Mid­dle East, the Kur­dish Free­dom Move­ment has achieved a social, cul­tur­al and polit­i­cal rev­o­lu­tion in the name of and with the par­tic­i­pa­tion of rev­o­lu­tion­ary Kur­dish women. This is a fact accept­ed by all who approach life from the per­spec­tive of free­dom strug­gles. The fol­low­ing analy­sis about social­ism which suc­ceed­ed through a cen­tu­ry long tra­di­tion is impor­tant: “The the­o­ry of demo­c­ra­t­ic moder­ni­ty and demo­c­ra­t­ic social­ism were devel­oped through the cri­tique of real social­ism. No one believes that the State and social­ism can exist togeth­er. Which means that State social­ism dis­ap­peared. It has been clear for every­one that equal­i­ty and the prin­ci­ples of shar­ing in social­ism based on free­dom and diver­si­ty can­not be achieved through force and oppres­sion as prac­ticed by a State. The dis­in­te­gra­tion of social­ism based on a State inter­me­di­ary is an impor­tant devel­op­ment.” (source)

The Kur­dish Free­dom Move­ment reestab­lished both dis­course and action through its demo­c­ra­t­ic nation par­a­digm, by remov­ing the con­structs of reli­gious belief and eth­nic back­ground as legit­imiz­ing con­flict, vio­lence and war in the Mid­dle East. By inte­grat­ing gen­der lib­er­al­ism and ecol­o­gy in its demo­c­ra­t­ic nation par­a­digm, it expressed its utmost goal of being a plu­ral­ist, egal­i­tar­i­an, lib­er­al­ist and demo­c­ra­t­ic con­fed­er­al­ism. See­ing this, region­al racist and mil­i­tarist sys­tems became agi­tat­ed, see­ing the mag­nif­i­cent trans­for­ma­tion that could be achieved with such polit­i­cal and ide­o­log­i­cal moti­va­tors in all fields of life in the Mid­dle East.

The move­ment served as an ide­o­log­i­cal source while rais­ing the morale of indi­vid­u­als, par­ties, insti­tu­tions and all groups cham­pi­oning labor and free­dom in their strug­gle against misog­y­nis­tic and anti-LGBTQI+ struc­tures hos­tile to diver­si­ty in belief sys­tems and cul­tures, such as ISIL. Social­ist, anar­chist, LGBTQI+ indi­vid­u­als from many coun­tries around the world joined in this strug­gle when they saw that “anoth­er word/life” was pos­si­ble through the Roja­va Rev­o­lu­tion incor­po­rat­ing the Kur­dish rev­o­lu­tion­ary women. They con­tin­ue to serve in this strug­gle by shar­ing, orga­niz­ing and dis­cussing hat they have learned from their expe­ri­ences of Roja­va, in dif­fer­ent cities around the world.

In the Roja­va Con­sti­tu­tion — the most lib­er­al and inclu­sive con­sti­tu­tion in the Mid­dle East  — “gen­der inequal­i­ty” serves to explain biased behav­iors, atti­tudes and per­cep­tions imposed upon indi­vid­u­als accord­ing to their gen­der. The con­sti­tu­tion defines gen­der inequal­i­ty throough gen­der sys­tems estab­lished around mand and woman; “Gen­der bina­ry trans­lates into mul­ti­di­men­sion­al inequal­i­ties in every­day life. Gen­der inequal­i­ty is based on exper­i­men­tal bases or emerges from social­ly accept­ed privileges.” 

Why then are LGBTQI+ mem­bers who are active in this strug­gle absent from this ide­o­log­i­cal polit­i­cal per­spec­tive? Gen­der inequal­i­ty has been estab­lished through the bina­ry notion of woman and man, tak­ing into account none except the two-gen­der con­structs, and it has result­ed in vio­lence, con­flict and war. Isn’t the polit­i­cal line appar­ent­ly stand­ing in oppo­si­tion to this sys­tem falling into the trap of repro­duc­ing the sys­tem it oppos­es the the bina­ry gen­der dis­course iden­ti­fied above with­in the women’s lib­er­a­tion par­a­digm? Doesn’t a sys­tem aim­ing to elim­i­nate the dan­ger of resem­bling its oppo­nent — as did the social­ist rev­o­lu­tions in the 20th cen­tu­ry — need to demand free­dom for all, no mat­ter what gen­der, sex­u­al iden­ti­ty and/or ori­en­ta­tion they may have, with­out any if’s but’s or maybe’s?

Today, vio­lence and oppres­sion over LGBTQI+ indi­vid­u­als are stronger than ever. Dur­ing its con­trol over the region, ISIL per­se­cut­ed LGBTQI+ indi­vid­u­als by throw­ing them of build­ings. In a con­text where the head of the Turk­ish Repub­lic says: “There is no such thing as LGBT, this is a nation­al and moral coun­try”, he invites vio­lence and lynch­ing against these peo­ple. A racist/fascist cli­mate in which, Dogu Per­inçek 1 in an expres­sion of an eclipse of rea­son­ing pow­ers: “In the glob­al­iza­tion process of the USA, after the 1980s, Turk­ish soci­ety has seen imposed upon it sec­tar­i­an eth­nic iden­ti­ties along with drugs, pros­ti­tu­tion, sui­cides and homosexuality.” 

Around the world, indi­vid­u­als and groups who grow in their strug­gle by stand­ing with the Kur­dish peo­ple against the capitalist/patriarchal sys­tem expect the cor­rect per­spec­tive the Kur­dish Free­dom Movement’s dis­course and atti­tude would embody around the demo­c­ra­t­i­cal­ly mod­ern the­o­ry. In every cor­ner of Kur­dis­tan LGBTQI+ indi­vid­u­als suf­fer from oppres­sion and vio­lence, not only at the hands of estab­lished sys­tems, but also in their own fam­i­lies, social and polit­i­cal entourage. How much longer will the right to life of these peo­ple be under­mined, who are destroyed by vio­lence and assas­si­nat­ed by par­ents who claim “I’m Kur­dish, I’m a rev­o­lu­tion­ary, I’m a social­ist”? I will  tack­le this issue in my next arti­cle through LGBTQI+ indi­vid­u­als’ appeals to the Bar Asso­ci­a­tion of Diyarbakır.

Isn’t it time that Turkey’s Social­ist Move­ment accept LGBTQI+ com­rades that stand by them in streets strug­gles -Gezi rebel­lion/Boğaziçi resis­tance… etc.- as sub­jects of life and strug­gle in all fields of life and adopt a dis­course and prac­tice accordingly?

Translation by Nilüfer Ovalıoğlu Gros
To read the other articles of this file, follow this link

Sup­port Kedis­tan, MAKE A CONTRIBUTION.

We maintain the “Kedistan tool” as well as its archives. We are fiercely committed to it remaining free of charge, devoid of advertising and with ease of consultation for our readers, even if this has a financial costs, covered up till now by financial contributions (all the authors at Kedistan work on a volunteer basis).
You may use and share Kedistan’s articles and translations, specifying the source and adding a link in order to respect the writer(s) and translator(s) work. Thank you.
Ercan Jan Aktaş
Objecteur de con­science, auteur et jour­nal­iste exilé en France. Vic­dan retçisi, yazar, gazete­ci. Şu anda Fransa’da sürgünde bulunuy­or. Con­sci­en­tious objec­tor, author and jour­nal­ist exiled in France.