Turkey Protection Sector: LGBTI Thematic Dashboard - March 2019
Persons whose sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression differs from prevailing norms – often referred to as LGBTI – may face discrimination, prejudice, rejection, social exclusion and stigma within their community or family. These attitudes may put LGBTI individuals at increased risk of abuse, exploitation, and violence, including sexual abuse, torture or murder at the hands of the community or family members. Cultural barriers frequently prevent self-identification and reporting of (sexual) violence, resulting in a fragmented understanding of the specific barriers, risks and concerns faced by LGBTI individuals.
Prevailing attitudes significantly undermine LGBTI individuals’ ability to access rights, services and support networks, potentially lead to the adoption of negative and harmful coping strategies such as survival sex, drug abuse, etc., while LGBTI survivors of sexual and gender-based violence are often criminalised. The situation is compounded by the lack of a specific protective framework and inconsistent implementation of applicable laws.
According to available information, LGBTI refugees are at risk of being marginalized as refugees and as LGBTI individuals. They may be in a more vulnerable situation due to a lack of language skills and legal status, while they often also face discrimination or violence. Syrian LGBTI refugees described incidents involving harassment, verbal abuse, threats, physical attacks, and blackmail by relatives and by members of the broader Syrian and Turkish community. In addition, Syrian and non-Syrian refugees report grave challenges related to inconsistent access to justice and legal remedies, as well as limited access to self-reliance opportunities and social assistance programmes. Limited interaction, support, and solidarity between local and refugee LGBTI communities further abates coping capacities.
General service providers in direct contact with LGBTI refugees frequently report to have limitations in knowledge, experience, and capacity to adequately deal with concerns of LGBTI individuals, especially in establishing trust to enable self-identification and in understanding of LGBTI refugee specific challenges. In many areas – especially rural areas – there is a lack of specific service providers, including community-based initiatives, providing a targeted protection response.