QUEER CYPRUS ASSOCIATION

CORONA DAYS NEWSLETTER

QUEER CYPRUS ASSOCIATION:

Queer Cyprus is a civil society organization which was initiated in 2008 as “Initiative Against Homophobia”, with the goal of changing discriminatory local legal text and forming public opinion about Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex rights in the northern part of Cyprus.

The association, which continued as Queer Cyprus as of 2012 with the amendment of relevant legal text, strives for a world in which individuals are not discriminated on the grounds of language, religion, colour, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age and ethnicity. Therefore, Queer Cyprus embraces diversity and puts up a feminist, antimilitarist, ecologist and veganist struggle against all forms of control mechanisms.

PROJECTS:

  • Diversity of Colours Project:

The Diversity of Colours Project, which is funded by the European Union and implemented by the Queer Cyprus Association, works towards the goal of creating a Cyprus in which all colours including lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex and plus (LGBTI+) are able to co-exist. The first year of the project has been successfully completed. The project will run for another two years and will be finalized in December 2021.

  • Life Project:

LGBTI+ in Freedom from Exploitation (Life) project, which is funded by the European Union and implemented with the partnership of Queer Cyprus Association and KAOS GL, started in May 2019 and will continue for 2.5 years. With this project, Queer Cyprus aims to contribute to the struggle of LGBTI+ individuals subjected to human trafficking.

SERVICES IN SCOPE OF THE PROJECTS:

  • Psychosocial Services:

The psychosocial services are provided in scope of the Diversity of Colours project to LGBTI+’s who experience economic exclusion and require social needs.

  •  Legal Services:

The legal support services are provided in scope of the Diversity of Colours project to LGBTI+’s who experience economic exclusion and require social needs.

  • Social Services:

The social services are provided in scope of the LIFE project for LGBTI+’s in order to deal with feelings of isolation resulting from social pressure and exclusion; and to ensure prevention and empowerment against risk factors.

ACTIVITIES HELD IN SCOPE OF THE PROJECT:

Communication Training for Advocacy Campaigns

In scope of the Diversity of Colours project, the fourth capacity building training for the association’s activists on “Communication for Advocacy Campaigns” was held on Saturday, February 29, 2020 at Human Rights House.

The Communication Training for Advocacy Campaigns was facilitated by Pinar Ilkiz, co-founder and Communications Director of Pikan Agency. Pikan Agency is the first civil society agency established in Turkey.

Alongside discussions, topics such as digital tools and opportunities, the social media presence of Queer Cyprus, and interactive presentations on digital campaigns were covered during the first half of the fruitful training which attracted great attention. Observations about key points to be considered in digital campaigns were discussed during the second half of the training. The training concluded with a workshop on campaign designing which focused on ensuring the effectiveness and clarity of comprehensive and sustainable digital advocacy campaigns.

Figure 1 Communication Training for Advocacy Campaigns

Ongoing interviews for “Mapping the Status of LGBTI+ Sex Workers” in scope of the Life Project and ongoing Media Monitoring in scope of the Diversity of Colours Project.

SOCIOCULTURAL ACTIVITIES:

  • AYRAÇ (Bookmarker) Readings

The Ayraç (Bookmarker) readings are implemented regularly by the Queer Cyprus Association Readings Group. Prior to the Corona outbreak, stories of Yalçın Tosun were read and interpreted by participants during the two events which were held on February 4 and February 25. The amusing AYRAÇ (Bookmarker) events will be organized on digital platforms very soon.

  • Series of Health Seminars

The series of health seminars which started in December are implemented by the Queer Cyprus Association Health Group. The first seminar on “Queer Sexual Health” was held in December. After the first seminar, a seminar on “Rights of Queer Patients” was held in February, followed by a seminar on “Sexually Transmitted Infections and Protection” in March just before the coronavirus outbreak. The seminar series aiming towards the dissemination of knowledge about LGBTI+ health as part of fundamental human rights will continue after a short break.

 ADVOCACY ACTIVITIES:

Local legal text on penal   including “articles” on Human Trafficking, Human Smuggling and Hate Speech became effective on Monday, March 23, 2020 after being issued.

With the changes made to the local “penal code” in 2014, “Article 171” was positively amended as “Hate Speech on the basis of Gender, Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity” and regulated under the title of “Libel and Slander on the basis of Gender, Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity”. However, over time, it was observed that the “article” could not be implemented in practice and the penalization of hate speech remained insufficient. In addition, the lack of penal sanctions for human trafficking and human smuggling, resulted in the northern part Cyprus becoming a centre for human traffickers, modern slavery and the negligence of human rights. This status in the northern part of Cyprus was also mentioned by the United States of America Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Human Trafficking Report which is prepared annually for around 180 countries.

The proposal for local legal text amendment presented two years ago by CTP Representatives Doğuş Derya, Fazilet Özdenefe and Sıla Usar İncirli was put on the agenda of the Legal Affairs, Political Affairs and Foreign Relations Committee. During the committee meeting, with our contributions as the “LGBTI+ in Freedom from Exploitation (Life)” project funded by the European Union under the “Together Against Trafficking in Human Beings” Grant Scheme and implemented with the partnership of Queer Cyprus Association and KAOS-GL, and as a stakeholder of the “Coordinated Measures and Mechanisms for Anti-trafficking (COMMIT)” Project, the proposal for the local penal (amendment) legal text was unanimously approved by the Legal Affairs, Political Affairs and Foreign Relations Committee on February 26, 2020.

The proposal for local penal legal text including “articles” on human trafficking, human smuggling and hate speech was accepted with the majority of votes from the Turkish Cypriot representatives on March 9, 2020. The local penal legal text including “articles” on human trafficking, human smuggling and hate speech became officially effective on Monday, March 23, 2020. This amendment is a great step for human rights. With all our colours and our diversity, the struggle for a Cyprus free of exploitation and discrimination will continue with firm steps.

DURING THE CORONA DAYS:

  • Solidarity Against Covid 19

Queer Cyprus Association considers the right to health as a fundamental right. The restricted access to healthcare rights has been an issue experienced by LGBTI+ individuals for years. Therefore, the association is standing by all colours of the rainbow to ensure equal and fair health services for all.  The association donated one month’s income provided by monthly supporters to the COVID 19 SOLIDARITY FUND created under the leadership of Chamber of Turkish Cypriot Medical Doctors.

  • Queer Film Archive – From Musicals to Drama

During these days which we spend quality time with ourselves, as Queer Cyprus Association, we noticed that “What should I watch?” has been a frequently asked question on social media. So, on our website, we shared our archive consisting of 360 films with LGBTI+ content. Enjoy!

  • Create at Home with Queer:

Many people are doing exactly what they should by staying at home. However, staying at home may lead to feelings of being lazy, useless and purposeless.

So, Queer Cyprus suggested to “Create at Home with Queer” instead of “Create with Queer”.

In this context, we proposed transforming unused belongings, creating new things and in short producing rather than consuming. Participating individuals shared their creation (whether it’s in the beginning, during the creative process, or with the final product) from their social media accounts by using the #createathomewithqueer (#kuirileevdeuret) hashtag and by tagging Queer Cyprus Association. They also shared the campaign with their friends by inviting them to take part in the challenge.

Lastly, they may donate their products to the Association to be included in our stands after the Covid-19 restrictions are over. By doing so, they will be making a sweet contribution to Queer Cyprus Association in order continue its advocacy work.

You may support us via our Regular Support Channels!

You may contribute to Queer Cyprus Association by sending an SMS via your post-paid mobile line.

KKTCELL users can send an SMS to support the association on a monthly basis by texting 4271 with the text ABONE KUIR10 for 10 TL, ABONE KUIR30  for 30 TL or ABONE KUIR50 for 50 TL and VODAFONE users can send an SMS to 4271 with the text ABONE KUIR 10 for 10 TL, ABONE KUIR 30 for 30 TL or ABONE KUIR 50 for 50 TL.

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