LISTAG (Families of LGBTs in İstanbul)
LİSTAG (Families of LGBTs in İstanbul) is a voluntary suppport and solidarity group for families and friends of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans people in Istanbul since January 2008.
In general, we organize
* Meetings at Amargi Cafe in Beyoglu, every Saturday afternoon, where we meet new additions to our group and plan our forthcoming activities.
* Monthly dinner parties at a group member’s residence where LGBT persons may attend with members of their families whom they are out to.
* Informative debates on the first Thursday of every month, organised by volunteer psychiatrists (Dr. Nesrin Yetkin, Dr. Seven Kaptan and Dr. Arzu Onal) at the offices of the Society for Sexual Education Treatment and Research (CETAD), for members of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons, on subjects like biological gender, sexual identity, sexual orientation, sexual roles and behaviour, and gender.
* Special meetings with family members who need to meet our parents in private.
* Discussion panels in cooperation with other NGO’s or univeristies in Turkey
* A blog site that advertises our activities, and where interviews and radio programmes featuring members of our group are collected alongside essays written by LISTAG members: www.listag.wordpress.com
* Booklets for family members of LGBT people
LISTAG activities in time order
* With two mothers from our group, we attended the ”Family Matters; Supporting families to prevent violence against gay and lesbian youths” seminar in Florence, Italy, on 20th – 21st June 2008. The seminar brought several family groups in Europe together.
* In May 2009, we attended the 4th International Meeting Against Homophobia, where we organised a panel for the LGBT Youth Meet Their Families activity that was prepared by Kaos Youth.
* Again in May 2009, two mothers from our group were invited to Germany by BEFAH e.V. (Bundesverband der Eltern, Freunde und Angehorigen von Homosexuellen) for a national meeting. We were given the opportunity to brainstorm on how to reach Turkish-origin families who have been living in Germany.
* In June 2009, we screened the documentary “2 Volte Genitori – Parlano i genitori di lesbiche e gay” for the first time in Turkey at the Pera Museum in Beyoglu, during the 17th Pride Week celebrations. The film features members of the AGEDO group that is active in Italy. After the screening, there was a talk session with Claudio Cipelletti. We also organised a panel called “The Other Side of Coming Out” where Gianfranca Saracino and Giacinto Rapino, who are featured in the film, with LISTAG members shared their familial experiences on the matter.
* On 28th June 2009, we joined the Istanbul Pride Parade for the second time, alongside our LGBT sons, daughters, siblings and relatives, carrying banners that read “I’m Your Mother/Father/Sibling and I’ll Stand By You”.
* On 10th – 11th October 2009 we attended the “Human Rights Training” organised in Izmir by Kaos GL.
* On 14th November 2009 at Amargi Feminist Cafe, we have organised a seminar on “HIV/AIDS” towards the families of LGBT people with the help of Positive Living Association in Turkey
* In June 2010, during Istanbul Pride Week, we screened the movie “Prayers for Bobby”. After the screening, there was a panel called “Different countries, different experiences; families of LGBT poeple talk” where the representatives of parental organizations in Europe joined (BEFAH/Germany, FFLAG/UK, AMPGYL/Spain and AGEDO/Italy) together with parents from Turkey.
* Between April 2010 – April 2011, LISTAG was organizing regular visits to other cities in Turkey (Ankara, Diyarbakir, Eskisehir and Izmir) where LGBT organizations or initiatives already exist, to meet new families and support them. This expansion project, supported by Heinrich Böll Stiftung and Open Society Foundation and CETAD was aiming to set up new familiy groups in other cities of Turkey. Today, there are regular meetings in Ankara, Eskişehir and İzmir where families of LGBT people meet with volunteer CETAD terapists once a month.
* 16-21 April 2011, we were in Palermo / Sicily to join the seminar “United Towards the Change/Volunteers Against Homophobia”, organized by Agedo/Palermo to develop strategies for preventing and combating violance, exclusion and discrimination of young people based on gender and sexual orientation.
* 26-27 May 2011, we joined the Greece Solidarity and Network Meeting in Athens, organized by ILGA Europe.
* 4-5 June 2011, we were invited by AMPGYL to Barcelona for their national annual meeting.
* On 11 June 2011, we were marching at EuroPride in Rome thanks to the invitation of Agedo
* On 25 June 2011, during the 19th Istanbul Pride Week, we have organized a discussion panel with our guests from Agedo/Italy, Drachma Parents’ Group/Malta and FFLAG/UK where the parents talked about “taboos in the family” and we all marched on the 26th together with the MPs of two political parties in Turkey (BDP and CHP) behind our LISTAG banner.