LGBTQ Events Are Not a Security Threat


Wayne Chen, Staff Writer

Earlier this month, Mehmet Kiliclar, the governor of Ankara, Turkey, formally banned all public events, demonstrations, parades, exhibitions and even film festivals with a focus on LGBTQ issues. According to Kiliclar, the move will be “protecting public safety.” The ban was another disappointing step backward, further distorting Turkey’s half-baked progress in LGBTQ rights. It is becoming more important now than ever to stress that LGBTQ events are not security threats — instead, they celebrate the most intrinsic ideals of humanity: love and freedom.

This ban is weakly justified for a number of reasons, the most significant of which is how poor the excuse is: Kiliclair indicated in a written statement that the ban was initiated for the sake of so-called public security, and it was meant to avoid touching on supposed social sensitivities. This is a very poorly rationalized excuse. For one, there is no recent precedent for any LGBTQ event in Turkey that has interfered with public security. In fact, because of widespread homophobia and the government’s frequent intervention into such events, the government has historically imposed more pressure on LGBTQ events. It is also important to note that these counter organizing measures include serious methods, including releasing tear gas toward participants for no legitimate reason.

The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association has denounced the ban as “a disgraceful breach of fundamental rights and freedoms.” ILGA’s statement reinforces the fact that alleged safety is merely a cover-up for upfront discrimination against the LGBTQ community. Turkey is violating not only rights to marriage and legal recognition of Gay couples, but it infringes upon their right to gather — a fundamental right for any modern democratic country. If the ban goes unchallenged, it will strongly undermine Turkey’s reputation as a modernized, democratic nation, as it allows identity politics to override basic freedom.

Homosexuality has been legal in Turkey since 1923, which is already significantly ahead of its neighboring Islamic countries. Yet due to a lack of laws designated to protect LGBTQ rights, homophobia and rampant discrimination still persist in the nation, and the situation is unlikely to improve. Kiliclar’s recent ban on LGBTQ-related events, which celebrate nothing but positivity, is a short-sighted move that will set Turkey’s human rights progression back.

Opinions expressed on the editorial pages are not necessarily those of WSN, and our publication of opinions is not an endorsement of them. Email Wayne Chen at [email protected].