Life

What is the role of local administrations in social inclusion?

Monday, November 23, 2015

International Conference on Gender, Diversity and Social Inclusion ended with the session on Role of Local Administrations in Social Inclusion. Robert Biedron, Murat Hazinedar and Yuksel Mutlu participated the session as spokespersons.

International Conference on Gender, Diversity and Social Inclusion ended. The Conference gathered high-ranking bureaucrats, politicians and representatives of non-governmental organizations from Turkey and around the world in Ankara in order to discuss the gender equality and inclusiveness policies on LGBTI rights basis.

In the last session of the Conference titled Role of Local Administrations in Social Inclusion, Mayor of Slupsk, Poland Robert Biedron, Mayor of Beşiktaş Municipality Murat Hazinedar, Co-Mayor of Akdeniz Municipality Yüksel Mutlu spoke. Deputy Mayor for Gothenburg, Sweden participated in the session as an on-air spokesperson. The moderator of the session was Member of Beşiktaş Municipal Council Sedef Çakmak.

“I will cherish diversity”

The first Polish parliamentarian with open gay identity and Mayor of Slupsk, Poland Robert Biedron was the first spokesperson of the session. During his speech, Biedron noted the following:

International agreements serve for me as well yet they are not reflected on practice. Since local administrations are too much based on practice, they need to develop more strategies. Former Mayor said that LGBTI’s “shouldn’t roam around” as it was unholy. Afterwards, this case was brought to Strasbourg and the fact that such an officer shouldn’t develop such a hate speech was discussed.

While I was forming my cabinet, I wanted to reflect the diversity. When I look at my Municipality, I can say that up to today, only one woman has taken the Mayoralty. It’s symbolically a significant problem. I believe I will be able to keep the diversity alive in my cabinet.

“Prime minister in that time told me that I didn’t have a chance”

When I stood for parliament, the Prime Minister said “You don’t have a chance with this identity” and I defeated them. Furthermore, I received more votes than the Prime Minister. Afterwards, they thought I received votes only because I was gay and some of them played upon this. Thereof, we needed to carry out more works than anyone and be more more careful than anyone.

During my first speech upon I was elected as a parliamentarian, I said “You hit below the belt” and other parliamentarians started to laugh. They told me that they laughed because they thought, “since you’re gay, you directly said below the belt”. The thing in their minds is like: “If you’re gay, you talk about sex”. Today, I see and the conducted researches show that I’m a better politician than the ones who have laughed at me there.

“I was tired of heterosexual men saying things on behalf of me. As a gay person, I thought I deserved better. And I entered politics and started to speak on my own behalf.”

Healthcare service for LGBT’s within Beşiktaş Municipality

Afterwards in the session, Beşiktaş Mayor Murat Hazinedar spoke. He talked about the works carried out within Beşiktaş Municipality. He mentioned Beşiktaş Municipality’s Pride celebration, collaborations with the organizations and the healthcare services aimed at LGBR’s.

When we employed a trans woman, we only heard murmurs from a couple of men

Following the speech of Murat Hazinedar, Co-Mayor of Akdeniz Municipality Yüksel Mutlu spoke. Mutlu noted the following:

“If I’m able to sit here today, it’s all under favour of the ones who have paid a price before us. We’re here all together. I believe this commemoration is important. Mersin is like a small Turkey in terms of diversity; there are Christians, Nusayris, Anatolian Alevis, Kurds, LGBTI’s. As the Akdeniz Municipality, when we employed a trans woman, no reaction other than a small portion of men’s murmuring was given.”

“There’s still the sense of “vote for the ruling party to get service”. This is the exact thing we’re indeed trying to fight against. Apart from that, we have ideological conflicts between the Municipalities. Therefore, I believe that the people at NGO’s doing politics provide accelerating affect in terms of breaking the prejudices.”

“The city transformed with LGBTI works”

Lastly in the session, Deputy Mayor for Gothenburg, Sweden, Maria Voyvodova spoke. During her speech, Voyvodova talked about the lack of secure areas in Sweden specific to trans people and stated that their focus point was trans communities. She emphasized that there still many things to do about LGBTI rights particularly in schools. Lastly, Voyvodova mentioned how much the LGBTI works conducted within Gothenburg Municipality have transformed the city.

Translated by Vahap Karakuş

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