What is Queer Cyprus?
Queer Cyprus is a civil society movement that started off as “Initiative Against Homophobia” in 2008 in order to change discriminatory law in the north part of Cyprus and to mold public opinion in regards to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex rights and freedom. The movement, which was renamed Queer Cyprus in 2012, fights for a world in which individuals do not face discrimination based on their language, religious belief, color, nationality, sexual orientation, gender identity, sexual expression, age or ethnicity. Therefore, the Queer Cyprus movement embraces diversity, opposes all mechanisms of pressure and has a feminist, antimilitarist, ecologist and veganist nature.
Aims of the Association
Combating discrimination based on gender, gender expression, sexual orientation and/or gender identity; preventing homophobia, biphobia and transphobia; protecting the Universal Human Rights and Freedom of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex individuals; and organizing peaceful events in order to raise awareness on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex issues.
Vision & Mission of the Association
While accomplishing its mission, the Association operates in a non-violent, peaceful manner;
a. to support LGBTI rights; to counter discrimination based on gender, gender expression, sexual orientation and gender identity; to organize, participate in, and contribute to activities regarding homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, human rights and freedom, socio-politics, education, health, family, science, art, culture, history, sports, cinema, theatre and similar and/or related fields,
b. to scientifically investigate, research, produce and write results on social issues and concepts including LGBTI rights, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, gender identity, human rights and freedom, socio-politics and education,
c. to organize both local and international exhibitions, concerts, conferences, workshops and art activities on social issues including LGBTI rights, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, gender identity, human rights and freedom, socio-politics and education,
d. to lobby and take any legal actions considered appropriate by the association on both local and international levels in order to enhance and protect the universal human rights and freedom determined by international and multilateral agreements and treaties,
e. to collaborate, organize joint activities, develop projects in various fields and build relations with similar organizations on national and/or international levels,
f. to organize social events and activities, sport and cultural events; to participate in organized events, tournaments and leagues; and to hold training courses in order to ensure the communication and unity among members,
To fulfil these missions:
i. Archiving books, journals and similar documents and/or collecting them in a library;
ii. Printing, publishing, preparing, distributing, circulating and selling all types of paper, tapes, websites (on electronic platforms), CDs, brochures, leaflets, radio and/or TV programs;
iii. If required, purchasing and/or leasing and/or selling immovable and/or movable properties; purchasing and/or leasing and/or selling immovable and/or movable properties by forming partnerships with similar organizations; in accordance with existing laws, forming partnerships and working with similar organizations to purchase and/or lease and/or sell immovable and/or movable properties;
iv. If required, employing professional personnel and/or purchasing service in order to enhance the service quality.
Manifesto of Queer Cyprus Association
You are about to read a queer manifesto!
This manifesto is not fixed and just like everything else, it is bound to change.
This manifesto, which is positioned against normativity, shall be burned in the event of becoming the norm itself! Because the norm must be demolished and all facts must be bent. Unquestioned ideas can’t be separated from the norm; and ideas that become the norm can’t include what they “marginalize”!
Together, let’s listen to the voice of the other…
“All identities of the world, fool around!”
1-Queer Cyprus, combats all forms of discrimination towards Sexual Orientation,
Gender Identity and Sexual Expression!
Similarly to most countries in the world, Cyprus has a system which only supports relationships and sexuality among individuals from opposite sex and claims that heterosexuality is the only sexual orientation. Queer Cyprus aims at transforming the heterosexist society into one that is equalitarian and accepting of diversity; and also supports the diversity of sexual orientation, gender identity and sexual expression by challenging heterosexism which ignores, degrades and oppresses all other sexual orientations.
Besides heterosexism, heteronormativity also organizes sexual orientation and the society itself in accordance with “norms” by abnormalizing and ignoring various sexual practices, orientations and identities, and by establishing the “normal” based on heterosexual relationships. Therefore, Queer Cyprus envisions a society in which individuals are not subject to any form of violence due to their sexual orientation, gender identity or sexual expression and continues their cause to achieve this objective.
2-Queer Cyprus is Feminist!
Queer Cyprus stands against the patriarchal and capitalist system which centralizes power and dominates all other identities and orientations. The association is aware of the fact that capitalism and patriarchy are intertwining; however, they also believe that the patriarchal system can’t be reduced to the two concepts. Queer Cyprus is against all types of discrimination towards gender identity, sexual orientation, sexual expression and gender which are shaped and reproduced by power and consequently by social relations. They refuse to exist in a normative order which defines the society through dichotomies such as female/male and nature/mind. Therefore, they defend a feminist movement that is against dichotomies and the normative female perception and also believe that varieties can exist together. They are a Queer, feminist movement which question the conditions and consequences of identities, without disregarding identity politics.
3-Queer Cyprus is Antimilitarist!
Beyond wars and armies, militarism is a total of systems, understandings and precepts that shape minds, physical living spaces and everyday life. Militarism is constructed on and imposes on fixed heterosexist gender perceptions. It idealizes physically strong, public and aggressive masculinity and powerless, obedient and passive femininity. As long as LGBTI individuals and queer activism questions these precepts, they will always have a struggle with militarism and always be perceived as a threat. Militarism, which forms a hierarchy on a nationalist basis deciding on who is worthy of living and who is worthy of being ruled out, is the absolute opposite of queer activism which believes that ethnic and cultural differences create richness. Therefore, Queer Cyprus supports the antimilitarist movement.
4-Queer Cyprus is Ecologist!
Queer Cyprus refuses the notions that nature only exists to fulfill human needs and that it is only used to ensure the continuation of human beings. The association does not believe that human beings are the master of nature, instead sees them as species that have to integrate themselves into nature. Queer Cyprus, arguing that the patriarchal system domesticates and dominates anything that is different in order to exist and that the system has a similar relationship with nature, fights to change this notion. Queer Cyprus stands against the uncontrolled consumption approach which is imposed by capitalism through all forms of production that take place with the exploitation of nature. One of the goals of the association is to establish the organizational practices on ecological production and consumption understandings by adopting a “consume what you need, as much as you need” approach.
5-Queer Cyprus is Anti-Capitalist!
According to Queer Cyprus, anti-capitalism does not mean escaping from everything and shutting oneself away in a cave. We are aware that we can’t exclude ourselves from capitalism and that not all means of capitalism are necessarily negative; therefore, we continue our movement within the existing system and stand against it as far as possible. The capitalist system which promises better living conditions, attempts at creating so-called wonderful lives and leads to an increase in overconsumption and exploitation of labor, and also decreases the well-being of nature, animals and human beings. Therefore, we observe and question capitalism’s negative impacts on all creatures and perceive capital as a tool to achieve our objectives rather than an objective itself. The Queer Cyprus Association believes that not being internalized by the capitalist system for reasons such as homosexual couples not being able to reproduce, not being included in/not requesting to be a part of military can be seen as an advantage and the association will not take part in pink washing which has recently become popular.
6-Queer Cyprus is Veganist!
Animals are treated as assets in the society we live in. They are categorized as objects which can be used, priced, transferred for
our benefit; they are perceived as a dish on a plate, a product in a shopping isle and the fact that they are living creatures is completely ignored. This means that animals do not have any rights. For a living creature that can feel, to be treated as an asset is equal to slavery which means all animals are used as slaves. Queer Cyprus rejects a world in which human beings are superior while all other living creatures exist to serve them. As racism, sexism, heterosexism and classism, speciesism feeds off the same problematic ideologies while devaluing other living and feeling creatures’ right to live. Therefore, Queer Cyprus pursues policies to raise its members’ awareness towards exploitation of animals and avoids using animals as property in organized events.