LGBT Movement in Turkey: Genealogy, Particularity and Embeddedness into a Broader Universe



Observing and studying the utilization of the mass media, communication technologies and international, non-governmental organizations to promote local activists, helps us to draw a broader picture that reflects the global social movements and their universalistic politics. As the ideas and ideologies, their language, images they provide grow more universal day by day, people around the world come to apply their social contexts and form their particular politics around these universalities. Arjun Appadurai (1996), on this matter, argues that to understand the local expressions and adaptations of the global, transnational ideologies and politics, we should consider the local historicity within its socio-political context along with the development of a wide ranging mobilization. From this point on, I will examine the Turkish LGBT movement over its historical development, struggles with local political structure and ties and parallels with an enlarging LGBT politics around the world. LGBT movement in Turkey has its similarities with other local contexts of the global movement in terms of its politics and ideological language and formation as a result of the global networks it adopts. Yet, the particularity of Turkish case comes from the degree of the struggles and the components of its struggles in a local culture and politics. Without considering the social culture and the sexual norms of the Turkish society, state ideology and politics surrounding it; it would be misleading to label the formation of an activism around sexual orientation as global in all aspects. Hence, the reason I write this piece is to exhibit a crucially enlarging political identity group and their contention in contemporary Turkish politics. While doing this, it is also important to elaborate on certain historicity in the formation of the LGBT groups and contentious politics in reaction to the social cultural oppression and the state hostility towards LGBT identity in a local context while also asserting its space in the broader vision, universal struggle of the LGBT community.

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Serkan İlaslaner
Serkan İlaslaner
Sabancı University | Sabancı Üniversitesi


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