LGBTI+ fighters who took their place against invasion of the Turkish Republic and attacks by ISIS organized a film screening, send greetings with a banner and organized a morale for queers and women comrades to celebrate pride.
The slogan on the banner reads ‘’Berxwedana LGBTI Sinoran Radike’’ which can be roughly translated to ‘’The lgbti resistance abolishes borders’’ or loosely ‘’ The lgbti resistance smashes borders’’. This slogan was chosen to send our greetings to this year’s pride in Istanbul which was held under the theme berxwedan aka resistance.
KBB and TIKKO
KKB (Komünist Kadın Birliği) meaning communist women’s union is the women’s organization of the Turkish Communist Party-Marxist-Leninist aka TPK-ML.
TİKKO is the armed wing of TKP-ML, it is an abbreviation that stands for the ‘’Liberation Army of the Workers and Peasants of Turkey’’
The event, which was organize by LGBTI+ fighters of Tekoşîna Anarşîşt and KKB, was attended by male fighters from TİKKO and TA, as well as female figthers from the Martyr Nubar Ozanyan Armenian Brigade. The event started with a moment of silence for all LGBTI+ people who were murdered, it was specifically dedicated to the MLKP fighter İsyan Tolhildana Pirsusê, who fell martyr on the 8th of may. A statement was made in Kurdish after the minute of silence. It pointed out that the fight against heterosexism is an important part of the revolutionary struggle.
‘’The ideas that prevail in some revolutionary organizations today that we are sick or immoral are wrong. The idea that we are only victims of homophobia and transphobia is incomplete. We are those who struggle, rebel and resist against heterosexism, patriarchy and power. In this sense we are not victim, but part of the revolutionary struggle. The guarantee of the victory of this struggle we wage against all the faces of heterosexism is in our martyrs, Willem Arondeaus, Hêlîn Qereçox, Avaşîn Tekoşîn Güneş, and İsyan Tolhildana Pirsusê. The resistance of LGBTI+ people is shattering borders.’’ (Partial quote of the speech)
The documentary Mr. Gay Syria was screened, which focuses on the lives of LGBTI+ refugees who had to migrate from Syria and Rojava to Turkey. Afterwards a discussion was held in which it was pointed out that many LGBTI+ people in the Middle East are destined to a life as refugees or a life in which they constantly have to hide themselves. Armenian women fighters shared their experiences and emphasized that LGBTI+ people have always existed in Rojava, but that it is important to increase education to bring about change in society. Throughout the discussion emphasis was also placed on the multiplicity of common points of women’s and LGBTI+ struggles and the importance of revolutionary solidarity.
With the slogan ‘’Berxwedana LGBTI+ Sinoran Radike!’’ (LGBTI+ resistance smashes borders) LGBTI+ fighters of TKP-ML’s Communist Women’s Union (KKB) and Tekoşîna Anarşîşt ended their pride week activities.
This event also started with a minute of silence for all LGBTI+ people, who fell martyr or were murdered, dedicated to İsyan Tolhildana Pirsusê. The event was attended by KKB, Tekoşîna Anarşîşt, the Armenian Social Council, women of the Martyr Nubar Ozanyan Armenian Brigade, as well as the women’s organizations of MLKP, MKP, DKP-BÖG, DKP-BIRLIK. Drawing attention to the bans imposed on pride marches in Turkey and Turkey Kurdistan and the detention of more than 530 LGBTI+ activists, the event emphasized that fascism and heterosexism will be defeated. The opening speech was read in Kurdish, Turkish and English. Following the speech the video about LGBTI+ history and resistance was shown. The morale ended with halay (Kurdish folk dances) and dancing.
Some years ago, and in some places to today as well, attacks from ISIS on LGBTI+ people were many and their violence extreme. These attacks have led to the deaths of many LGBTI+ people in the region. More over Turkey has been attacking LGBTI+ more and more within its borders the last few years, as well as actively supporting ISIS in neighboring territories. LGBTI+ fighters who have taken their place against in the defense against these attacks declared the following in the opening speech of the event:
“We as LGBTI peoples cannot free ourselves, no oppressed peoples can. So how and why will others come to our defense? And whom shall we, as queers, fight to defend? We should be the best fighters of each others oppression-and in doing so we will build links of solidarity, in doing so we will forge an invincible movement against all forms of justice and inequality”- Leslie Feinberg
We came together as women and queers on the anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion, known worldwide as LGBTI+ Pride Day or Christopher Street Day. Just when the oppressed peoples and working class around the world were standing up and organizing for their rights and freedom, today in 1969 the police raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular queer bar in NYC. Within the scope of the “cleaning and reforming the society” works carried out by the imperialist state in a way that befits its essence, these raids on the gathering places of the poor and immigrant trans sex workers and homosexuals were quite common. However, on June 28, 1969, homosexuals and trans people responded to this situation with rebellion by saying “It is enough!”. The riot, which started in a bar, soon spread to the whole of Christopher Street. Gays, transsexuals and transvestites living in the area all joined the revolt. This 4-day resistance against police violence was a small seed in the garden of the queer rebellion that was spreading all over the world.
The first wave of modern Queer struggle began in 1865 and lasted until 1935. This movement was born out of the struggle of German workers to win their most basic democratic rights. LGBT comrades were at the forefront of the German workers’ struggle. This tradition of LGBT comrades, who took their place in many struggles of the people, has continued since then. During the Gezi uprising, which spread everywhere in Turkey and Bakur Kurdistan in 2013, people once again witnessed the strong solidarity of LGBTI+ comrades who fought on the barricades, led protests even in small cities, and helped to hide people from the police. The Gezi was neither the first nor the last. In addition, the LGBTI+ movement has taken its place in street actions, occupations and resistances in Turkey and Bakur Kurdistan for more than 30 years, despite the heterosexist siege within revolutionary organizations. LGBTI+ people take their place in the progress of the revolution in Turkey and Bakur Kurdistan by solidarity with the women in these organizations. 8 March, Newroz, 1 May and Pride Weeks are won with examples of unity, struggle and solidarity, despite all the attacks of the enemy and the siege of heterosexism.
Today, many conservatives and liberals try to market non-binary gender identities and non-heterosexual orientations as something new. However, contrary to what the power that started with the emergence of private property and continued with the heterosexual male-dominated family and transformed into today’s state imposes on us, we have a history as old as the history of humanity. This history is not only a history of existence but also a history of struggle against power, patriarchy and heterosexism. Our rich and diverse history is presented to the society through the lenses of patriarchy and heterosexism, that are imposed on society by imperialists. Today, our rights, which we have won by waging struggles within the borders of imperialist and capitalist states and against these states, are shown as if they are a blessing offered to us by the same governments. The fear of this pink market is that our rights, which we have won as a result of democratic struggles and which are lessons of the revolutionary school for us, will turn into revolutionary gains. For this reason, they try to integrate these gains into their own systems. However, as it has been proven every year all over the world, the liberation and emancipation of LGBTI+ people is not possible within the system, just as it is not for all working class and oppressed peoples. In this sense, despite all the deformations of imperialism and capitalism, we must do our best so that every historical achievement we have acquired in the school of revolution meets with the revolution.
Contrary to what they claim, queerness is nothing new. The ancient goddess Inanna, also known as Ishtar or Astarte, was saved by two genderless beings, GalaTura and KuraGarra. Greek mythology encompasses hermaphrodites who are both male and female at the same time, and have characteristics of both. The Indian Kamasutra is full of stories of gay and other sexual practices. In Hindu religions, there are transgender or multi-sex goddess/gods. Indigenous cultures have multiple understandings of gender and sexuality, often with a third and fourth understanding of gender. Despite being subjected to heavy oppression and attacks, traces of them exist all over the world. In fact, normality is that there is no single “normal” solid line of gender categories.
This historical reality has been distorted or completely erased by the moral laws and sanctions imported by the colonial powers from the Northern hemisphere, where the state and thus the patriarchy is getting stronger day by day, to other parts of the world. As women became the oppressed class, first the non-reproductive sexuality of women and then the feminine masculinity were declared a crime or a sin and banned. During this time, the British empire, for example, exported Christian ideas of heterosexuality to its colonies. They banned various expressions and sexual practices and declared them as sodomy. For the colonists, women were simply producers of “raw material” slaves, while men were simply an exploitable source of labor. By limiting sexuality to heterosexual reproduction, power has made humans easier objects to control.
The logic of patriarchy imposes a hierarchy of “male”. It cannot do this without first classifying people into ‘male’ and ‘female’ categories and denying the existence of non-binary sexes. Homophobia is also a tool for patriarchy to perpetuate the idea of a rigid moral code that focuses on the reproductive and controllable role of women, rejecting the role of desire or pleasure.
The same system defined the identities that it declared sick and sinful over time, put them in boxes and categorized them. However, the LGBTI+ movement has turned this categorization in its favor. LGBT or LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex), Queer, Gay and other words are often used to describe a category of identity, body and behavior that falls outside of society’s narrow conventions about sex, sexuality and gender. As society changes, the meanings of these words change, and often words become outdated and new ones develop. When we use these words, it does not mean that we are making another box, another scientific category. This means that we find something in common between our experience within and beyond gender boundaries. In the future, the words we use today may no longer be correct, and the expression may seem reactionary or ignorant. We welcome this, for it will mean that we are moving even further towards total liberation.
Although the mechanisms of violence faced by women and queers are different, these mechanisms are inextricably intertwined. In this sense, the queer liberation struggle is not an attack on the women’s liberation struggle. Inevitably, it also struggles with patriarchy and its essence, private property. Both are part of a larger struggle that challenges the oppression and objectification of any human being because of their gender or sexual orientation, while also challenging the lower and upper structures of the privately owned patriarchal system that defines what man is and what the norms of the world are.
Heteronormative patriarchy enabled and legitimated an entire framework of the male heterosexual white norm. The cis-het-man, who thinks logically, makes contracts, has everything he can grasp, directs others, decides alone what is right and wrong, defines categories where everybody else is less than him and puts people in these boxes. He does not shy away from any form of violence to bring his worldview to life. This violent symbol of the state embodied in the person of a man is what we are trying to kill together.
Today, as we celebrate the anniversary of a revolt against heterosexism, we see that progress is not a guarantee and salvation does not come from a single uprising. During the Arab Spring, there was hope for new freedoms for LGBTI+ people and women. Many of these hopes were dashed by the violent repression of the fascists. In the Middle East, Europe and around the world, fascists are waging a war to force people into classical gender and gender roles more harshly than before. One of his methods is to spread homophobia, transphobia and misogyny under different masks. Trying to turn us against each other is an old tactic of theirs. However, they will not be able to stop our struggle to establish a common world that contains many differences, against their trying to divide us by using our differences and against revolutions being hindered. The solidarity of the women and LGBTI+ freedom movement will not only shake the foundations of the state, but will be the guarantee of the revolution.
We will unite our hands around the weapons of the working class and the oppressed peoples, and we will overthrow the male state. We will break the patriarchal narrative of history. We will destroy private property and this system that makes women the oppressed class. We will shatter their institutions that are the guarantee of patriarchal and heterosexist violence with revolutionary violence. Our coming together here today points to the ancient unity of women and queer resistance. Let’s change the course of history right now, remembering the long and rich history of the LGBTI+ struggle in all its forms.