On International Day Against LGBT Discrimination, here’s something to feel good about in MENA

Published May 17th, 2015 - 11:28 GMT
Deva Ozenen's MP run in Turkey is a streak of hope in a pretty bleak LGBT rights landscape in MENA. (AFP/File)
Deva Ozenen's MP run in Turkey is a streak of hope in a pretty bleak LGBT rights landscape in MENA. (AFP/File)

Today is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, and there's a lot to feel bad about in the MENA region. 

But next month, Turkey will go to the polls where Deva Ozenen, the country's first trans woman to run for a parliamentary seat, will have a place on the ballot.

Turkey’s LGBT landscape is a minefield of contradictions. It's home to the grandest gay rights parade in the Muslim world, and hosted its first gay wedding last year. Yet, one report found it also leads Europe in the number of transgendered people murdered between 2008 and 2014.

Ozenen's hoping to change some of those things in office. Here are the important bits of an interview she had recently with the Independent. You can read the full version here.

On Turkey's conservative political arena:

“If we are waiting for Turkish society to get ready for us, we’ll wait a long time,”

“We are going against the tide. We are trying to get our rights and we don’t care if society is ready for this or not.”

And on her admittedly slim chances of getting elected as part of Turkey's recently minted progressive nationalist party, Andalu:

“I am a pioneer. I opened the door. So, in the next elections, maybe there will be more LGBT candidates… It’s a good opportunity for us to become more visible.”

 

 


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