A lot has changed within the movement, but unfortunately not the attitude towards aging.

A lot has changed within the movement, but unfortunately not the attitude towards aging.

25/06/2020 | 17 Mayıs

The Initiative for 40+ LGBTI+ was in the Pride Week: We are still here, yet at the same time becoming more and more invisible.

A lot has changed within the movement, but unfortunately not the attitude towards aging. - May 17 Association

Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week continues. Among the events of today was the interview “Where are the 40+ LGBTI+ persons?”.


Having been organized under the umbrella of May 17 Association, the Initiative for 40+ LGBTI+ organized an event with the participation of more than 50 people where good practices in the context of LGBTI+ older citizens worldwide, situation analysis regarding the legislation on LGBTI+ older persons, and the works of the initiative are shared.


“The LGBTI+ Community Fails to Develop an Affectionate Attitude towards Aging”


The first person to speak during the interview was İsmail Alacaoğlu who informed the audience about how the Initiative for 40+ LGBTI+ was founded and what the plans of the initiative are. “This has always been a much-needed focus” said Alacaoğlu at the beginning of the talk.


By highlighting that the LGBTI+ movement is relatively a new one in Turkey and that the movement has a lot of young participants, Alacaoğlu claimed that “Although the movement still seems to be at its onset, we thought it is high time we embarked on plans regarding aging.”


“Aging makes no difference on our sexual orientations or identities. We are still here, yet at the same time becoming more and more invisible. The initiative for 40+ LGBTI+ persons was founded with the hope of experiencing ageing together.”

Alacaoğlu went on to say that “As the movement is undergoing changes, though being involved in it, we sometimes question ourselves on where we exactly are within the movement.”


Alacaoğlu further claimed that “Although turning 40 is not when the literature considers one as a senior citizen, given the dynamics of the LGBTI+ movement, the initiative is called 40+. A lot has changed within the movement, but not the attitude towards aging. The moment you turn 40, you are no longer a *nafta, but a **balamoz. Save for a few exceptions, The LGBTI+ community fails to develop an affectionate attitude towards aging. We are prototyped as the older who are after flirting with ***mantis on dating apps. And it’s not only the younger generation who have adopted such discriminatory discourse, the same goes for our peers, as well. The impositions on older citizens about how they are supposed to behave in the larger society holds true for our micro community.”


Finally, Alacaoğlu remarked that the initiative also dwells on civil liberties of LGBTI+ older citizens and that right after a workshop they had, they organized as an initiative and decided upon a roadmap.



“Lifelong Discrimination, Issues in Accessing Health Services, and Succession”

By reminding that aging is a lifelong process in its biological sense, Özge Gökpınar stated that “The main criteria of biological aging are health and genetics. And there also exists a process that we call chronological aging. WHO classifies people who are above the age of 65 as older individuals on the basis of chronological aging not on the biological one. Yet, aging is a broad issue not to be limited to the amount of time that has passed from one’s birth to the given date.


By stating that the concept of aging is intertwined with retirement and that issues of being worn out are not given serious attention at younger ages, Gökpınar said “It’s all about an economic interpretation of the matter.”


Emphasizing that LGBTI+ persons are a group that experience aging and being older not as something starting as of the age 65, Gökpınar went to say that “ The older citizens suffer the most with regards to issues of social isolation and loneliness, income inequality, lifelong discrimination, access to health and support systems, succession law, social rights, and succession. In order to find solutions before it is too late, we choose to say 40+.”



“We Turn a Blind Eye to Discrimination Unless We Ourselves Are Subjected to It”


Yasemin Öz started by saying that “We are the first generation of the movement and also peers. We were all students when we were first involved in the movement. We create different forms of discriminatory practices among ourselves and turn a blind eye to them unless we ourselves are the subjects.”


Öz went on to say that: “We have a tendency to fixate ourselves onto our own world imagination. We make so many assumptions about one another! As the older generation of the movement, we are experiencing isolation a lot. What’s worse, health problems start to pop up. There needs to be a road map. There exists no legislation to regulate LGBTI+ rights, nor for LGBTI+ older persons. Mostly it’s the municipalities that provide social work support for older citizens, but there are no practices whatsoever for LGBTI+ older persons. The movement also lacks support and solidarity mechanisms.”


Öz also said “No one is likely to address the issue but us. We are trying to make law based on a court decision in a setting where there exist no legal regulations. The same goes for the rights of LGBTI+ older persons. By reminding that the whole judicial system is based on protecting the heterosexual family, Öz finally stated that “The state is devoted to protecting the relationships formed by either blood ties or through adoption. This also manifests itself in succession law.”


* a Lubunca word used to refer to a man aged between 30-35

** a Lubunca word used to refer to an older man

*** a Lubunca word used to refer to a handsome young man

Translation: Kerem Selçuk

Please control all fields!
Your request has been sent!