A day in Turkey

A lot of reflections today about being in Turkey and Asia for the first time. Breakfast was interesting and being a little bit scared of germs I did not really know what was safe to eat. Discovered the turkish way of boiling tea with the teapot on top with really strong tea and then hot water in the samovar below. Great tea!

We started walking towards the office of the LGBT-organisation KAOS-GL and it was rather chilly. Almost felt like being in a ski resort for some strange reason. I love looking at every small detail of a new city. This time it felt a lot like East Germany or Russia. Something about the cars and the architecture I think. However, all the big brands where present which made the image more complicated. It is something very conservative how we in Sweden use signs and advertisement. In Turkey and in many other countries everything screams at you. Not a single touch of coordination based on decision from the community board 🙂

We arrived at the office of KAOS-GL and were met with wonderful people with great hospitality. The theme for this weekend is a training workshop for journalists for their newspaper that our Swedish project is funding. We got all the self introductions translated and what struck me was the courage and committment that all of the shared. But also that they were from different parts of Turkey and from almost all the different ethnic groups. The situation is Turkey is not easy with censorship, widespread homophobia and very powerful police and military security forces. But despite that they are doing a great job of exposing the life of LGBT-people and working to improve the quality of life.

I introduced myself and a lot of them were quite amazed not only to find out that I am a lesbian woman with a transsexual background but also a full-time career military officer. I generally find that travelling abroad now is a bit more difficult since I have still some special needs and I feel hygine is very important for me. Therefore going to the restroom was a bit of a chock. No toilet chair but just a big hole in the floor, with flushing though. I realised that I have so far never been sitting down and peeing with out a chair yet. I had no idea how to do it and felt really clumpsy when I soon realised that this was going to be really difficult. I won’t go into any more details but after I discovered that this design was very common here I realised that being in Turkey was starting to become really unpractical. After talking about my travel partner’s experiences in Africa I realised that I feel really comfortable travelling in Western Europe and North America. Backpacking does not work for me now 🙂 I need clean toilets, warm water and showers.

However, Turkey is nice. It feels like Islam light and there are not more women with headscarves here than in Stockholm I think. At least Ankara feels rather secular but our partners here were really worried about the increasing popularity of religion and the number of people that reguarly goes to the mosque is increasing each year. That is not good for LGBT-rights.

Comments are closed.

Post Navigation