Project planning of the first lesbian magazine in Turkey

"Öte"-ki ben (beyond the other self)

Persons involved in the project:

Ten persons not able to give their names because they are in public service or students. Due to unfavorable laws and social pressure they do not want their names to be known.

Project Outline:

Our aim is to engage in a feminist policy that brings out differences and similarities between feminist lesbianism and other women.

Specific aims:

The magazine is intended

  • to serve as a means towards the organization of lesbians
  • to improve the connection between groups in the cities
  • to prepare large group activities, meetings, academic / theoretical issues, seminars, cultural activities
  • to support feminist groups in their fight against violence, pressure and discrimination
  • to show that lesbianism is in fact represented by lesbians
  • to point out that lesbianism is not only a sexual preference but also a political standpoint
  • to express the view that lesbianism and feminism go together
  • to show that lesbians are not alone and support each other
  • to enhance the organization of lesbians in international events
  • to create a long-term cooperative of lesbians and women

Project planning:

The magazine will be in two languages, English and Turkish. It will contain feminist, lesbian, gay articles and information. Lesbians and heterosexual feminists will develop their thoughts on women politics and exchange views.

The current situation of lesbians in Turkey and reasons for this magazine project

Since 1980 new social movements ( environmentalism, anti-nuclear groups, feminism, gay liberation movement...) have begun to emerge. These social movement activities are very young and have made only small progress until now. Since feminism in Turkey has begun to be heard and in the end freed itself from the traditional left, it was only in the year 2000 that the word "lesbian" was discovered and spoken out loud. While the projects ( magazines like Pazartesi – Monday, eksik etek – without skirt, Roza, Ucan Süpürge and others ) uncovered sexist politics and manipulation, they were not anti-hetero-sexist and fell into the trap of homophobia, hetero-sexism and sexism in general. This is the crucial point why we are criticizing these projects. Gays are seen as contrary to the "natural order" of things.

In our opinion this is the political ideology of compulsory heterosexuality ( translated literally: sexuality of a fundamental politically compulsory and enforced ideology) and, in addition, completely unnecessary. In our struggle to oppose this we find ourselves in a current ghetto situation and separation from the majority which creates the "normality" of the minority and leads us the wrong way. Gays are from different stratums of society and thus vary in political, cultural and social aspects.

We think that our anti-fascist attitude allows us to unite with any group of any stratum of society within the scope of our "Öte"-ki ben project and to create a common "We" because we will be the first to go under if Turkey falls back into a racist, backward and militarist pit. The oppressed might be different but the oppressors will be the same. They will club mothers during the day and chase gays, transvestites and lesbians at night. We see nothing but the logical path of fighting united if the oppressed have the same oppressors.

Within the homosexual liberation movement resulting from this situation in our country lesbians meet even harder resistance in public than gays. That´s one reason why in the gay magazine KAOS GL the voices of lesbians are very scarce or even non-existent. This has shown us the necessity of creating a group of our own. This voice is a lesbian-feminist voice. Not sexual preferences, but political circumstances are appalling. This step is a step of lesbians, basis of lesbian-feminist politics opening new ways.

Within the legislation of Turkey there are no laws on homosexuality but if there were, it would be uncertain what would happen to us. Let’s not forget that there is no promised place on this earth. In the last few weeks there has been no day without the media covering homosexuality, for instance: "Being lesbian has become fashionable." We’re trapped in a path with a lot of traps.

"They" know that we are here but they ignore us, and we know that they know, and we try to keep on living.

Fashions come and go and will never be an outlook on life. They don’t contradict the authorities. They get lost in the current ideology. If we are like little children who are good and don’t complain, when we want to have a little fun the system will offer us its gifts:

  • "Take your bar!"
  • "There you have your movie theaters!"
  • "There you have your pornography!"
  • "There you have your bedrooms!"

Nobody will disturb you as long as you obey!! Who messes with you then? An open deviousness.

We homosexuals are under pressure of society and the state. The rule of males, the hetero-sexist ideology makes its profit by offering us a little of movie theaters, bars and pornography. It’s a market. This system knows us and has no interest in our liberation. Some West-European countries want to integrate gays into the system by letting them marry, for instance, and offer adoption rights for lesbians etc. These perspectives might look like freedom on first glance but they are actually chains that impede the fight for gay liberation.

We will not be free with the tolerance of hetero-sexists, we will be there in spite of them.

Due to the rule of males in Turkey women come second as it is and lesbians, then, come even after them, twice the second. Therefore no political or social power may say one word about lesbian-feminist politics. Therefore lesbian feminists have to unite under the roof of "Öte"-ki ben ( beyond the other self ) and express their political views themselves. The new social movements remain caught in the trap of sexism! Homosexuality is no sexual preference!

The groups who have formed so far have not expressed their own needs sufficiently! In my work group I don’t want just to be entertained! I don’t want to be alone and I don’t want to be unhappy! This outcry is the outcry of every lesbian in Turkey, we are in all strata of society, we have enough to say, we have a long way t go.

We have to unite now!

Solidarity will make us strong!

"Öte-ki ben" will be the place to start all this!