Being Bisexual in Elazig
Fotoğraf: Özge Özgüner / csgorselarsiv.org
A bisexual, emotional, erotic and sexual orientation of a man or woman to one's own sex, as well as to the other sex. Source: kaosgl.org
How Common Is Bisexuality Around The World?
Most research on sexuality focuses on heterosexuality and homosexuality. Since there is no specific research on the number of bisexuals, it is not possible to say anything definitively, but according to the research published by the US Department of Health and Human Services in 2016, the rate of bisexual women is 5.5%, while the rate of bisexual men is 2%.
According to a study conducted in 2011 by the Williams Institute, which operates under the UCLA University Law School in California, USA; 1.8% of adults in the US self-identify as bisexual.
There is no open field research on this subject in Turkey, but the recent statements made against LGBTI + individuals, prohibited activities, and the prohibition of Pride Week actions cause these individuals to live by hiding their identities in society.
LGBTI+'s living in Turkey have to live by hiding their identities due to the pressures. In previous years, LGBTI+s living in eastern and southeastern Turkey were fighting in the field of civil society by coming together under certain associations. Increasing repression and bans have also had dire consequences, such as increasing acts of violence against these individuals.
We talked to 'A', who lives in Elazig and states that she is bisexual, about the difficulties of living with this identity. 'A', who did not want to reveal her gender and name due to security concerns, tried to answer the difficulties she faced in the axis of the questions I asked.
Can you tell us what bisexuality means to you?
Bisexuality does not distinguish between gender, it is just the feelings I feel for the person in front of me in a way that my emotions are dominant. It can be my same sex or opposite sex. If I approach him/her emotionally, if I like a look, a gesture, a smile or a character, if it affects me, then such features connect me to that person.
When and how did you first realize you were bisexual?
Frankly, I realized at the age of nine or ten, I was attracted to men, I had a taste for them, but for as long as I can remember, women have been outweighed. I was more interested in women, I liked more. The first person I fell in love with was a woman and I really liked it. Women are very different to me and men are likewise. I couldn't figure it out for men, but it happened to my boyfriend. As such, I felt that I was different and accepted myself as I was, I never isolated myself.
Can you talk a little bit about yourself?
How do I define myself? I'm crazy about everything. I am not afraid of anything. So much so that even if the person in front of me is heterosexual and I like that person, I will go and tell him/her directly. I had never told a person before, so that he/she wouldn't misunderstand me. Other than that, I have no fear, I do whatever I want to do at that moment. For example, if I want to kiss the person in front of me, I kiss with permission, if I want to hug, I hug, or when I have very intense feelings for the person in front of me, I express my feelings without hesitation.
Do you know anyone in your neighborhood who is married or has a bisexual child?
I do not know anyone who is currently married, but there are those who are engaged to be married.
What does it mean for you to see bisexuality as a psychological problem or a hormonal problem, people's opinions and thoughts?
Bisexuality is not a psychological problem. Because if there is a psychological problem, it should be fixed after you feel good. If it is a hormonal situation, it should improve when you take the hormones with drugs. I don't think bisexuality has anything to do with these situations. People feel only attracted to a woman or a man, but only to feel, and I think it's a beautiful thing. It is better for people to stand behind what they feel, but our hands are tied because our society does not respect people's ideas and thoughts. We are always found strange and this is seen as a disease and a psychological problem, we are ignored, unfortunately, we are very sad that this is the case.
Is sexual orientation a choice, can it be eliminated with therapy?
Definitely sexual orientation is not a choice. People act with the emotions they feel. In this case, there is no choice. I have to choose a woman or a man, or I have to choose a man, but I don't feel anything in men and it can't go on like this. One should act whatever one feels. It's not something that can be cured with therapy.
How does discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity affect your life in Turkey?
I do not accept the ignorance of discrimination in Turkey in any way. I will try to get out of Turkey as much as I can, I definitely don't want to live here. I want to go to a place where I can live and be free. I think that the wiev of my family and many people around me are wrong. I want to live in a place where I am not excluded and valued.
What would you like to say about the free existence of LGBTI+s?
We have hope, we are always fighting for it, we are in a battle for acceptance. We are not different, we should not be excluded from our feelings, we want to be accepted because we exist.
What do you think about your experiences because of your sexual identity?
As LGBTI individuals in Turkey, we are under a very bad pressure from the society, including our family. This is a very bad situation, especially when my family says something, I can't say anything. I feel very sad not to be accepted, to be excluded, to be seen as sick and ignored, it is very difficult. Even though I say that I am emotional, this situation continues, as I tell my feelings, it makes me very sad to be told 'this will pass, you will get better'. We are no different when they give our freedoms to us, we just want to live in an area where we are accepted and valued.
Have you ever participated in a pride walk before?
I never participated in the pride walk, I just tried to make our voices heard on social media.
Are you living your identity openly?
Unfortunately, I don't use an open ID because we are ostracized, attacked, harassed, raped. It is very difficult to live in Turkey with an open identity. As someone living in the East, I know that my family and close circle are against it. I don't use public identity for my own health.
Is there an organization where LGBTI+s come together in Elazig?
No, unfortunately, Elazig is a more closed city in this regard.