LGBTI+ Elders report: The state and private sector causes rights violations

LGBTI+ Elders report: The state and private sector causes rights violations

15/10/2020 | 17 Mayıs

According to the report; related legislation is inadequate, no current public policies, states and the private sector are violating the rights.

LGBTI+ Elders report: The state and private sector causes rights violations - May 17 Association

The May 17 Association published its report "LGBTI+ Elders: Situation in Turkey and Around the World" in Turkish and English.


The report prepared by Att. Yasemin Öz, discusses the place of elderly LGBTI+'s rights in national and international legislation, good examples of practice in Turkey and around the world and solution proposals. The report also involves academic studies and recommendations. The report aims to shed light on the protection of LGBTI+'s against human rights issues that could be brought by old age, among other forms of discrimination.


No public policy for LGBTI+ elders

After examining constitutional and legal regulations and legislation of Turkey, the report summarizes the current situation as follows:


“Due to the fact that cisgender and heterosexual family model protected by the Constitution gains importance in public policies of Turkey, elder care is a service loaded weight of households and women in terms of social values. On the other hand, it is a common situation that we frequently encounter that the unmarried family members have to bear the whole burden of elderly care in line with the social values. Therefore, we can easily assume that LGBTI+ persons also bear elderly care burden since Turkey does not have marriage equality”


According to the report; LGBTI+ inclusive positive public policy, which can be benefited by LGBTI+ elders, has not been implemented in any way by the state in Turkey. There are also no policies for elderly LGBTI+'s. Service providers do not provide services for specific needs. There are limited special initiatives in the field of civil society that could enable the elderly to access health, housing, and care services.

Discrimination in the Darülaceze Almshouse!

The regulation of the Darülaceze Almshouse is also among the regulations examined in the report. The report describes the preconditions such as "mental wellbeing" and "not carrying infectious diseases, including HIV" which are determined to be able to stay in the Darülaceze Almshouse, which is offered as a public service, as a risk that could create discrimination in practice.


The approach of the state and the private sector leads to rights violations

The recommendations section of the report, which emphasizes the inadequacy of regulations on LGBTI+ both globally and in Turkey, once again highlights that the approach of states and the private sector on the rights of elders leads to rights violations. Since other social background features accompanying old age determine the conditions of this phase, it is proposed to increase multi-discrimination studies and review aging experiences of LGBTI+ identities.


In the report it is emphasized that groups facing discrimination for their whole life are the first to be abandoned in times of crisis such as a pandemic, and "In times of crisis like a pandemic, groups that face discrimination for life are the first ones to be abandoned. It has once again been observed that being elderly or LGBTI + is one of the areas where the most discrimination is experienced in the Covid-19 pandemic.".



The general and key recommendations chapter of the report is as follows:


- Central government should adopt and bring into force the regulations, practices, standards and criteria in the field of rights of the elderly introduced by the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the European Union and international organizations such as the International Labor Organization into the domestic legislation in a way to cover LGBTI+ persons.


- Central government should adopt and bring into force the regulations introduced by the United Nations Principles for Older Persons and UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW); General recommendation No. 27 on older women and protection of their human rights, 16 December 2010, CEDAW/C/GC/27 in a way to cover LGBTI + persons and should harmonize the regulations and practices in domestic law.


- Local administrations should adopt the LGBTI+ inclusive approach in social services such as nursing homes and healthcare, and should monitor the needs of elderly LGBTI+ people by evaluating them from various aspects such as self-expression and socialization


- The private sector should adopt LGBTI+ inclusive approach in the services it offers for the elderly and should monitor the needs of elderly LGBTI+ people by evaluating them from various aspects such as self-expression and socialization.


- With regard to old age as a phase, studies should be carried out to create the necessary ground for people to design their own aging years throughout their lives. In summary, the adoption of pension plans suitable for the conditions of each social group by the state and the private sector should be ensured.


- To be able to express and realize sexual orientation and gender identity should be considered within the scope of the right to self-realization and the right to physical and mental integrity, the areas should be provided for expressing SOGIESC at all ages by making the necessary arrangements to remove the obstacles in enjoyment of these rights.


- The necessary changes should be ensured in the legislation to prohibit the discrimination based on SOGIESC and age and in all regulations starting from the Constitution.


- The fact that the right to privacy includes the immunity of sexual life should enter into force in practice.


- Research and studies should be conducted to establish rehab mechanisms against the mental and physical damage that lifetime discrimination may cause on LGBTI + people.


- The mechanisms should be ensured for elderly LGBTI+ can access to home care and institutional care without being exposed to discrimination. It should be ensured that the institutional care and home care to be provided as complementary services rather than substitute services and those should be determined in line with the needs of the persons. Institutional care should be provided by both the public and private sector and NGOs.


- Considering the fact that the construction of social services and care services on a family basis restricts the access of LGBTI+ persons to these services, the construction of care services mechanisms should be ensured based on persons rather than family in the context of the “right to private life”.


Click here for the Turkish version of the report; and here for the English.

Translation: Yiğit E. Korkmaz

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