The 2-day conference, Speak the Unspoken, includes thematic panel discussions on media, health, education, feminism and queer theory and LGBTI rights activism/mobilizing an LGBTI rights movement. In addition, the survey results on the attitudes of Turkish Cypriot community towards LGBTI people, along with findings from other work carried out within the scope of the project will be revealed. The conference features Turkish speaking and Greek speaking Cypriot activists and experts from Cyprus, and speakers from Turkey, Lebanon, United Kingdom and Malta. The conference aims to bring LGBTI issues to light, provide a setting for dialogue and contribute to countering discrimination in Cyprus.


20.10.2017 FRIDAY

09:00 – 09:30 Registration

09:30 – 10:00 Opening Remarks
Hazal Yolga (Unspoken Project Coordinator, Cyprus Community Media Center)
Alessandro Bianciardi (Head of Section 1, EUPSO)

10:00 – 11:30 Unspoken Project: Research and Publications

Ziliha Uluboy (Öznel Psychotherapy and Research Centre): Survey on Mapping homophobic and transphobic attitudes in the north of Cyprus

Mark Webster (Thomson Foundation): Toolkit for Media workers

Erman Dolmacı (Queer Cyprus Association): Monitoring Turkish Cypriot Media

11:30 – 11:45 Coffee Break

11:45 – 13:00 Academic Studies on LGBTI Issues

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Şenel Hüsnü Raman (EMU): Investigating Imagined Contact’s Effects On Anti-Gay Prejudice In A Turkish Speaking Population

Dora Eracleous Borders Retold: The Entanglements between Women’s Bodies and the Cyprus’s Green Line

13: 00 – 14: 00 Lunch Time

14:00 – 15:30 Queer Theory and Feminism: intersections

Prof. Dr. Alev Özkazanç: Feminism & Queer Theory

Prof. Dr. Zeynep Direk (Koç University): Queer Theory and Philosophy

Aylime Aslı Demir (KAOS GL): Freak Show

15:30 – 15:45 Coffee Break

15:45 – 17:30 From Theory to Practice: LGBTI in Media

Selda İçer (BRTK): LGBTI News through the Perspective of Media Executives

Assoc. Prof. Hanife Aliefendioglu (EMU): Turkish Cypriot News media and otherisation. Problems and suggestions

Tony Mikhael (Maharat Foundation): Challenges in reporting Human Rights issues (touching upon LGBTI) Lebanese case

21.10.2017 SATURDAY

10:00 – 11:30 Challenging Homophobia in Schools

Semen Yönsel Saygun (Feminist Teachers Initiative): Discrimination in Schools

Costas Constantinou (Queer Cyprus Association): Antihomophobic policy in schools

Tayfun Can Onuk (METU): Struggle against LGBTI Discrimination for the Educators

11:30 – 11:45 Coffee Break

11:45 – 13:15 From Stereotypes to Real Life Experiences: Trans* Activism

Dr. Seven Kaptan (SPoD, CETAD): Myths and Facts

Şevval Kılıç (LGBTI rights activist): Trans Feminist Struggle

Pınar Özer (LADEG): “I am the mother of a transsexual woman”

13:15 – 14:15 Lunch

14:15 – 15:45 Understanding LGBTI+ Health

Dr. Burcu Özbakır: Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Women Health

Dr. Ayşe Zeki: Understanding LGBTI+ Health

Dr. Claire Lucille Azzopardi Lane: Intersectionality: Disability and LGBTIQ

Dr. Seven Kaptan (SPoD, CETAD): Gender Confirmation Processes

15:45 – 16:00 Coffee Break

16: 00 – 17:30 Past, Present & Future of the LGBTI+ Movement

Seçin Tuncel (Kaos-GL): Meetings against Homophobia and Roles of CSOs

Filiz Bilen (Queer Cyprus Association): The story of an association from HOKI to Queer Cyprus

Despina Michaelidou (Independent Activist): Queering activism in Cyprus. An 8 year journey, reflections from the past towards the future


Ziliha Uluboy:

Ziliha Uluboy has a master’s degree in clinical psychology and is currently studying developmental psychology as a second degree. She has been working for the Committee on Missing Persons for 10 years, and as a psychologist in her private clinic. Uluboy is an activist and former member of the board of directors of  Queer Cyprus Association which started as the Initiative Against Homophobia in 2007

Erman Dolmacı:

After studying environmental engineering in Eskişehir, Erman returned to Cyprus and worked as a research assistant in the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus. Ze then completed zir graduate degree on Sustainable Energy Systems, and ze is working at Queer Cyprus Association as a project assistant under the Unspoken Project. In zir undergraduate years, Erman was an activist in non-governmental organizations such as Morel, Tog, Tema in Eskişehir. Now ze is a Queer Cyprus activist, and Turkish Cypriot Human Rights Foundation and Solidarity in Cyprus. At the same time Erman is a defender of the intersectionality of the struggle in areas such as veganism, anti-militarism, feminism, ecology.

Mark Webster:

Mark Webster is an established media trainer with huge experience both as a Journalist and as a Director of Communications. As a trainer and course facilitator his recent clients have ranged from multinationals and global charitable foundations to public sector and government bodies.

From 2008 – 2011 he was the Executive Director of Communications at the Charities Aid Foundation where he was responsible for media, public and internal communications, policy development, research, board-level decision making, strategy creation, staff management and departmental budget.

Webster worked for many years as a Business and Economics editor, international bureau chief, political correspondent and on-screen correspondent for ITN, covering economics, politics, home and international affairs.


Şenel Hüsnü Raman:

Şenel Hüsnü Raman, obtained her BSc in Psychology and MSc in Social Psychology from Middle East Technical University, Turkey and her PhD from the University of Kent, UK on Group Processes and Intergroup Relations. She worked at the University of Kent as an assistant lecturer and research assistant until she moved to the University of Derby as a Lecturer in 2009. She returned back to her home country Cyprus, where she joined the Department of Psychology at Eastern Mediterranean University, northern part of Cyprus in 2012. Şenel is a chartered social psychologist with the British Psychological Society and a member of various professional bodies including the Turkish Psychological Association, European Association of Social Psychology and the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues. Her areas of expertise include intergroup relations, prejudice reduction techniques as well as gender psychology and intimate partner violence.

Dora Eracleous:

Dora Heracleous has recently graduated from Linköping University, Sweden, receiving a Master of Social Science in Gender Studies (with a specialization in Intersectionality and Change). She also studied Sociology and Modern Greek Literature at the University of Cyprus. Her research interests include the understanding of the multiple intertwinements between feminist theory and the Cyprus’s Green Line. Dora is a tireless activist standing up for women’s empowerment, as well as the island’s reunification. 


Alev Özkazanç:

Prof. Alev Özkazanç received her degree from METU, Department of Political Science and Public Administration. She received her master’s degree from Political Theory at Essex University and she had her doctorate degree with a dissertation entitled as “Political Power and Legitimacy in Turkey: New Right in the 1980s” in the field of Political Science at Ankara University Social Sciences Institute, Public Administration and Political Science Department. She is still working as an assistant professor in the same faculty. In addition to many published articles, She prepared a compilation entitled Bob Jessop, Hegemony, Post-Fordism, Capitalist State in the Axis of Globalization (edited by Betul Yarar, Communications Publications, 2005); The book entitled Political Sociology Writings: New Right and After (Dipnot Yayınları) was published in 2007.

Zeynep Direk:

Zeynep Direk received her doctorate from the University of Memphis and work as a lecturer at the Department of Philosophy at Galatasaray University until 2014. Since 2014, she is a professor at the Department of Philosophy at Koç University. She is the editor of “Derrida Critical Assessments” (Routledge, 2001) and “A Companion to Derrida” (Blackwell, 2014). She wrote a book called “Experiences of Dissimilarity” (YKY, 2005). She has published numerous articles in Turkish, English and French in the field of Feminism, Continental Philosophy, Political Philosophy and Ethics.

She also prepared Turkish compilation books for publication such as, “Being Gendered” (YKY, 2004), “The Testimony of the Infinite” (Metis, 2003), “The World of Perception” (Metis, 2003), “Jean-Paul Sartre: Getting the Responsibility of History” (Metis, 2010), “Who invented the Idea of ​​Race?”, (Metis, 2001), “Contemporary French Thought” (Epos, 2004), Levinas Readings (Pinhan, 2011), “Platon’s Pharmacy” (Pinhan, 2011). Zeynep Direk is a member of the editorial board of “Cogito”.

Aylime Aslı Demir:

Aylime Aslı Demir is the editor of the Kaos GL Magazine, the chief editor of the refereed journal of queer studies called KaosQ+, and is the coordinator of the International Anti-Homophobia Meetings and the International Feminist Forum. She organized courses on “Queer Theory” and “Heterosexism Criticism and Alternative Politics” held in Ankara University Women’s Studies Department between 2013-2017. She co-curated the “Future Queer” exhibition from December 2015 to February 2016. She is one of the editors of the book titled “Die as the Other”, which deals with the violence applied by the state in the funerals of the groups with the experience of otherness in Turkey and the intervention to their bodies.


Hanife Aliefendioğlu:

Hanife Aliefendioğlu graduated from Hacettepe University, Department of Sociology. She received her master’s degree and doctoral degree from the Department of Anthropology at the same university. She worked at the Prime Ministry’s General Directorate on the Status of Women and the Project of United Nations, Development of Women’s Employment in Turkey. She was on the founding team of Uçan Haber which is a regular publication of Uçan Süpürge.

Since 2001, she has been working as a faculty member at the Faculty of Communication at Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU). She was a member of the Board of Directors at EMU Women’s Research and Education Center and at the Research and Journalism Center for Peace. She is one of the editors of the Woman 2000 Magazine published by EMU KAEM.

She teaches courses such as Communication sociology, Gender and Media, Legal and Ethical Issues in Communication, Cultural Studies, I and the Other. She edited the book titled Media and Representation in North Cyprus (with Nurten Kara). She also published articles and book chapters on issues of gender and representation of women, migrant women working in Cyprus, women, immigration and oral history, women’s organizations and transnational social space in the media. She lives with her cat Fırfır and her dog Tim (buktu). She is a vegetarian.

Selda İçer:

After graduating from Lefke Gazi High School in 1986, Selda İçer graduated from the Journalism and Public Relations Department of Ankara University. Since October 1993 she has been working at the Bayrak Radio Television Institution. She worked as the TV News Chief between 2013 and 2015, and since 2016 she has been working as Radio News Chief and BRT Web Site Officer. Since 2004, she has been conducting interviews in many issues related to women’s rights, sex workers, nightclubs problems, children’s rights and rights of LGBTI individuals in order to create public agenda.


Semen Yönsel Saygun:

Semen Yönsel Saygun graduated from Atatürk Teacher Academy. After her graduation, she worked in several different schools in the northern part of Cyprus. In 1999, she joined the board of directors of KTÖS and became a member of the board of directors and as a vice-minister of education secretary until 2004. In those years she played an active role in the establishment of the Women’s Bureau in KTÖS. Between 2004 and 2006 she worked at London Turkish Language Schools. In 2010, while still a member, she worked for the establishment of the Gender Equality Committee in KTÖS and in 2011 she rejoined the KTÖS Board of Directors. In 2012, she participated in the trainings programs of Education and Science Workers’ Union (Turkey) for female trainers and became a trainer of trainers. She then completed the Women’s Human Rights Education program in 2013. In the meantime, she started to work with Kaos GL, which was formed by LGBT activist activists in Turkey. In June 2014, she became the President of KTÖS and continued until May 2017. Semen Yönsel Saygun, who is on the Board of Trustees of the Turkish Cypriot Human Rights Foundation, is currently continuing her work in trade unions and educational groups of Kaos GL.

Costas Constantinou:

Costas Constantinou finished his bachelor’s degree in University of Cyprus from the Department of Educational Studies and master’s degree in Oxford University from Comparative and International Education. He is a PhD candidate in Curriculum Studies and Comparative Education at the University of Cyprus. He has been a primary school teacher for 10 years.

Tayfun Can Onuk:

Tayfun Can Onuk graduated from Başkent University with a master’s degree in Turkish Language and Literature Teaching in 2005 and then worked as a Turkish Language and Literature Teacher for two years in a private teaching institution. Since the academic year of 2012-2013, he has been working as Turkish Language Teaching Staff at METU in the Northern Cyprus Campus and he has been serving as Corporate Editor in the same institution since February 2017.

During his undergraduate studies, he began to take an active role as an activist and volunteer in non-governmental organizations. He worked voluntarily for a while at Uçan Süpürge Women Communication and Research Association. For the last two years, he has been working at the 17th of May Organization Committee in Cyprus. He is a volunteer for Queer Cyprus trainings and he is trying to draw attention to the lack of sexual orientation and gender identity related topics in teacher training programs.


Seven Kaptan:

In 2011, Seven Kaptan completed psychiatric specialization training at Bezmialem Foundation University Medical Faculty. Between 2011-2012, she completed her mandatory service at Sirnak Cizre State Hospital. Under the supervision of Şahika Yüksel, she examined mental health, family and social support networks and quality of life of transsexual individuals who applied to Psychoneurosis-Psychotherapy unit of Istanbul Medical Faculty; She worked as a volunteer therapist in transsexual group psychotherapies during her thesis preparation period. Currently, she is volunteer therapist in group psychotherapies for transsexual individuals who are carried out monthly sessions within the SPOD (Social Policy, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association). She is one of the founders and trainees of the Homophobia Mental Health Initiative, and she had various workshop studies and interviews with social and individual homophobia causes, traumatic effects on mental health and solutions. She is a member of the CETAD (Sexual Education, Research and Therapy Association) and she has been working as an assistant therapist for 4 years in informative and support meetings for LGBT individuals’ family members which implemented by CETAD in cooperation with LİSTAG (LGBT Families’ Istanbul Group), established in 2008.

Şevval Kılıç:

Şevval Kılıç, witnessed Beyoğlu in the 90s, joined in struggle of Ülker Sokak which is the one of the first trans resistances of the history of the country. In 2000, she worked for civil society organizations, providing legal and medical assistance to transsexual women. She was activist in LGBTI+ movement while she was an active part of the nightlife. Currently she plays music for  LGBTI+ solidarity parties and at various venues in Istanbul.

Pınar Özer:

In 2008, Pınar Özer started a very difficult process for herself and her child after her child said “I am actually a girl”. The journey that she joined for the rights of her child has turned into a struggle for social rights. They established the LGBT Family and Relatives Group (LISTAG) with parents who were going through similar processes. She shared her experiences in a documentary called, “My Child” to create awareness. Pınar Özer continues to raise awareness as a mother and an activist so that LGBT individuals can enjoy equal rights as everyone else. She continues to share her experiences and knowledge with parents in LADEG+ Family and Relatives Support Group, and advocating for human rights.


Burcu Özbakır:

Burcu Özbakır is a Specialist in Obstetrics and Gynecology and is also an Specialist in Urea Treatment which is helpful for Infertility. After graduating from Istanbul Culture and Arts High School, she received her medical education at Istanbul University Cerrahpaşa Faculty of Medicine. She completed her specialty training at Çukurova University, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and became an obstetrician and gynecologist. She received training in specialization at the University of Bristol and became a Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Expert. Dr. Özbakır currently works as a specialist at Near East University Hospital, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and IVF Center and believes that the real purpose of life is “to be a part of happiness”.

Ayşe Zeki:

In 2006, Ayşe Zeki began her specialty training at Hacettepe University Faculty of Medicine, Department of Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Diseases. During her specialty training she was a member of the Assistance Commission of the Association of Child and Young Psychiatry of Turkey. In 2009, she represented the assistants of Turkey’s Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in the 17th Form of the Federation of European Psychiatric Assistants in Cambridge, England. She completed her speciality education with thesis called “Developmental and Psychopathological Evaluation of Self-Destructive Behaviour in Adolescents” and she earned her title of “Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist” in 2012.

Dr. Zeki has been working as a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist Specialist at the Hospital for Peace and Mental Illnesses and at Famagusta State Hospital, since January 2013. Dr. Zeki has many poster presentations, oral presentations and panel presentations in national and international conventions about children and adolescent psychiatry. She is a member of the Turkish Child and Young Psychiatric Association and a member of the same association baby commission, as well as a member of the Turkish Cypriot Union and the Turkish Cypriot Pediatric Association. She is also a member of the Nonaccidental Life in Traffic Association, and she is actively working in the traffic education commission in this association.

Claire Azzopardi Lane:

Claire Azzopardi Lane specializes in the field of disability and sexuality. Dr. Azzopardi Lane has worked in various sectors, including education, social care, training, academic research and policy writing. Her Ph.D. research concerned elements of sexuality in people with disability. Currently, Dr. Azzopardi Lane lectures at the University of Malta, across various departments, including the department of Sociology, Youth and Community Studies, Mental Health Nursing and the Department of Disability Studies. Dr. Azzopardi Lane’s recent research work revolved around disability and LGBTIQ, sexual health, cancer and parenting.  She has presented and published her academic research internationally with the intent of influencing policy and practise in the field.

PANEL 8: Past, Present & Future of the LGBTI+ Movement

Seçin Tuncel:

Seçin Tuncel has been working in media monitoring activities between 2008 and 2011 and since 2009 she has been working in the organizations of local events such as Education Life, Trade Union activities and meetings against homophobia. For many years, she carried out consulting activities in KAOS GL. She is supporting the development of Kaos GL’s policies on discrimination against children.

Despina Michaelidou

Despina Michaelidou comes from Limassol, Cyprus. She is a graduate student in Gender Studies at the University of Cyprus and has a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from University of Aegean, Lesvos. She is involved, for some years now in feminist, anarcho-queer, anti-authoritarian activist groups (such as Syspirosi Atakton and faq). She has around ten years of volunteer & professional experience in NGO’s in fields of sexual & reproductive rights and LGBTQ+ rights issues, both in Cyprus but also internationally (in Cyprus with organization’s such as Cyprus Family Planning Association and accept-LGBT Cyprus of which she was among founding members, and internationally with YouAct, IGLYO, Equality Ride etc). Furthermore, she has since 2009 variety of experiences with theatre and performances, tackling issues of gender, sexuality, nude body and other social justice issues. LGBTQI+ matters, but more importantly gender & sexuality, are in the heart of her life & interests, in multiple dimensions personally, as bisexual and gender-queer but furthermore in activist, academic and artistic approaches and interventions. Overall, she cares for and tries to contribute in the efforts for social and environmental justice, through challenging of real & metaphorical norms, barriers and borders and of all systems that oppress us intersectionally.

Filiz Bilen:

Filiz Bilen was born in Famagusta in 1973. Her passion for mathematics began from a young age. In 1994, she graduated from Eastern Mediterranean University, in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science Department. In 2017 she received a degree in Sociology from the Faculty of Open Education at Anadolu University. She currently teaches mathematics and computer classes at Eastern Mediterranean University. She has been a member of the Queer Cyprus Association since 2011

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