European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association

Call for solidarity with LGBTI+ community in northern Cyprus

On 1 November, the Queer Cyprus Association unveiled a major outdoor advertising campaign.

UPDATE FROM QUEER CYPRUS ASSOCIATION:

The campaign involved colourful billboards around northern part of Cyprus that displayed the words “Mediha deyze, ben geyim” (aunt Mediha, I’m gay) and “Kamil abi, ben lezbiyenim” (uncle Kamil, I’m a lesbian).

The campaign was part of a two year project called ‘Unspoken: Creating Dialogue on LGBTI Rights in the Turkish Cypriot Community’ that we implement in partnership with Cyprus Community Media Centre and Thomson foundation and financed by European Union. The purpose of this project is to achieve social change by combating discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation and improving levels of media coverage and public debate.

Within 48 hours, several billboards in Dikmen and Mağusa had been defaced or torn down. In addition, those in İskele were ordered to be removed by the local council, with no satisfactory explaination given to either the company responsible for the billboards or the Association.

Concurrently, the campaign, as aimed, gave rise to a huge public debate. While many favourable messages were received, some people and groups took to social media to condemn the move, claiming it was ‘provocative’ and could ‘normalise homosexuality’, which some argued to be ‘sinful’, ‘immoral’ and could ‘influence children to turn gay’. Together with psychological violence prevailing in the social and conventional media, Queer Cyprus Association have been targeted by some, both directly and indirectly, with physical violence.

As Queer Cyprus Association, we call all LGBTI+ groups and comrades to show their democratic reactions, to condemn hate-motivated, homophobic physical and psychological attacks and to show solidarity with the Association and LGBTI+ community in northern Cyprus.