Initiative Against Homophobia, which has been working since October 2007, has taken its first steps towards becoming an association.
In order to raise awareness about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues in North Cyprus, as part of the 17th May International Day Against Homophobia, the Initiative Against Homophobia took the required initiatives at the Nicosia District Governorship to complete the necessary procedures.
In the statement by Initiative Against Homophobia, it has been expressed that their primary goal is to change the penal code which defines homosexuality as an unnatural offense that can be penalized with a prison sentence up to 5 years. The association stated that it also aims to prevent homophobia in the society, inform the public about homosexuality and raise awareness about the issues faced by homosexual individuals.
The Initiative’s statement also draws attention to “International Day Against Homophobia” which has been celebrated worldwide each year since 1990 on 17th May, marking the date on which the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from the classification of diseases. The statement underlines that the day is celebrated to protest against all forms of physical, moral and symbolic violence based on sexual preferences or sexual orientation. However, 80 countries, including TRNC, consider homosexuality as a crime that can result in heavy imprisonment.
According to the statement, gay individuals are subjected to violence and threats; however, due to existing laws these individuals are unable to file complaints since once they demand justice, they are considered guilty in the eyes of the existing law. For this reason, it was emphasized in the statement that articles 171, 172 and 173 of the “Immorality” Chapter of the Penal Code must be updated in line with contemporary norms urgently. In their statement, the Initiative Against Homophobia stated that Chapter 154 is a law which dates from the British Colonial period and reminded that they had visited Chairperson of the Parliament Fatma Ekenoğlu to present their proposal for changing the existing law.
The Initiative Against Homophobia also announced that their slogan for the first series of events will be
It's not only heterosexuals that live in this society. We exist too! highlighting that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals feel the need to hide and become invisible due to the homophobic attitudes and behaviour they experience in all aspects of their lives.
Finally, Initiative Against Homophobia expressed that the ‘International Day Against Homophobia’ stands for people being proud of their sexuality and rejecting shame; and added that it is not homosexuality that is a disease, the disease is homophobia.
As part of the International Day Against Homophobia, the Initiative has organized other activities.
A committee from the Initiative will be attending the III. International Meeting Against Homophobia organized by Kaos GL Association in Ankara between 12-19 May.
It has also been announced that they have launched a website (http://www.queercy.org/) in which documents and work on LGBT issues can be found.
Also, as part of the 17th May events, the Initiative members have distributed brochures in Nicosia which include the initiative’s goals and other related information.
Initiative Against Homophobia