Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Turkish Activists Launch First LGBT Publication

First issue of Hevjin, Turkey's first ever LGBT newsletter
After three years after planning in secret and fearing for their lives, two Turkish activists have launched the muslin nation's first ever LGBT publication.
The online news magazine EurasiaNet.org interviewed the fledgling publishers, who have been  meeting in secret before releasing their premier issue this month. The pair did not allow even obscured photos of themselves to be shown in the article. EurasiaNet reports:
For all their fear, however, the pair embarked on a radical experiment, launching the first-ever magazine for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transsexual (LGBT) Kurds this July. Called ‘Hevjin’, meaning ‘intercommunity’ in Kurdish, the first issue of the free publication is available online and in a few bookshops and cafés in Diyarbakir, a city with a large Kurdish population.

It took three years of patient work before Koya and Solin, both gay Kurds themselves, were ready to bring out the first issue. “There are 15 million Kurds in Turkey, and one in 10 people is gay, but where are the Kurdish gay people?” asked Solin. “That is the question that led to this. We wanted to find out how people express their sexuality in this culture.”
LGBT Turks have every reason to be fearful. Honor killing, the practice of killing a family member who has brought shame to the family is a very real possibility. From EurasiaNet:
In July 2008, a 26-year-old Kurdish man, Ahmet Yildiz, became the victim of what many believe to be Turkey’s first gay honor killing to be publicly exposed. Yildiz, who was openly homosexual and had even represented Turkey at an international gay gathering in San Francisco the previous year, had left his conservative Kurdish family in the southeast in order to live more openly in the West. He was shot dead as he left a café in the Uskudar district of Istanbul. His own father Yahya, who disappeared after his death and has still not been found, is currently being tried in absentia for his murder.
 The online edition can be viewed here, but is not yet available in English.
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