It’s time to end discrimination!

During 2011, as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer (LGBTQ) individuals we experienced wrongful treatment due to our gender expression, sexual orientation and gender identity which is against human rights and dignity!

Today is 17th May International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia. However, as Cypriot LGBTQ individuals, we live in the north of Cyprus, the only country within the European Council area which categorizes same sex relationships as an offense. Our society overlooks the state sponsored homophobic, biphobic and transphobic discrimination, violations to human rights and the alienation of LGBTQ individuals.

We regret to state that according to the 2012 report published by ILGA-Europe [1], the northern part of Cyprus is described as the disgrace of the European area. According to the same report England, from which we inherited the Sodomy Law, is the top country in terms of providing human rights to LGBTQ individuals! The north part of Cyprus has the most insufficient legal structure in Europe, in terms of protecting LGBTQ rights due to the criminalization of homosexual relations, the undetermined sexual legal age for adult same sex relations, the lack of positive action laws against sexual orientation and gender identity, and the lack of specific standards for gender reassignment surgeries!

With the occasion of 17th May International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, as Queer Cyprus Association we request that steps to end discrimination of LGBTQ individuals are taken immediately. In this context, we request that article 171-173 of Chapter 154 of the Penal Code are repealed and that the definitions of assault and rape are updated in line with a contemporary legal understanding which also includes protection for men. While we gladly welcome the “Bill for Preventing Violence and Sexual Abuse Against Women and Children”, we request that it is reevaluated on a Gender Equality basis in order to protect men and LGBTQ rights by including discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

[1]European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Associatio

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