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In a first, an LGBTI+ association’s representative elected to the İstanbul City Council

Politics Human Rights National

In a first, an LGBTI+ association’s representative elected to the İstanbul City Council

In a first, an LGBTI+ association’s representative elected to the İstanbul City Council

With the election held on January 22, 2022, the Social Policy, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association (SPoD) has been elected to the İstanbul City Council Steering Committee, which marks the first time an LGBTI+ association has been elected to the council.

Elected to the Steering Committee in representation of the SPoD, Political Participation Field Coordinator Zarife Akbulut has spoken to Yunus Emre Demir from Kaos GL regarding the importance of city councils and the opportunities of cooperation that they offer in the civic sphere.

She has said that one of the major objectives of city councils is to institutionalize local democracy. “So, it is safe to say that institutionalization of local democracy depends on the functionality of city councils.”

At this point, Zarife Akbulut has emphasized that “it is only possible to render democratic participation mechanisms functional by ensuring that the city councils comprise all social identities in the city.”

“What we aim with our participation in city councils as the SPoD is to meet such a need,” she has explained, briefly adding:

“Being a part of structures such as city councils means making the problems experienced by LGBTI+s as subjects of rights in the city visible, to recall that LGBTI+s are part of all these mechanisms as equal citizens of cities and to enable us to be in contact and in relation with local authorities for the resolution of our urban problems that differ as LGBTI+s. […] Our primary aim is to ensure that LGBTI+s take a more active role in city life.”

‘More efforts are needed’

At this point, Akbulut has underlined the importance of “making an effective use of a tool such as city councils to ensure that municipalities will no longer be places that are governed from a heterosexual, male point of view and service polices will be determined accordingly.” She has stressed that it may lead to inclusiveness of services and equal treatment.

Concluding her remarks, Akbulut has stressed that some sections of society are not represented in the Steering Committee of the İstanbul City Council, noting that efforts should be made to eliminate this situation.

According to Akbulut, the İstanbul City Council’s Steering Committee comprises 41 people: “At this steering committee established on the basis of pluralism, there are representatives from different rights groups.”

Saying that there was such a solidarity prioritizing the elimination of social discriminations with an egalitarian viewpoint and in cooperation in forming and electing the Steering Committee, Akbulut has said, “It needs to be kept in mind that more efforts should be made to ensure that the sections of society that cannot be / are not represented become a part of it as well.” (EMK/SD)


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