Bullying at work because you are gay? FNF Turkey and its partner organization KAOS GL are investigating the number of people affected.

The human rights situation of LGBTQI persons can only be improved in cooperation with business, civil society and affected persons.

“I want to say 'I am here' just like everybody. I am what I am, not sick, not psychologically broken or confused. I am just like you.”

This is how a bisexual woman working in the food sector explained how she felt about being an LGBTI+ person in the private sector in Turkey. The number of similar cases is high, according to the Kaos Gay and Lesbian Cultural Researches and Solidarity Association (KAOS GL)'s annual reports. LGBTI+ employees are forced to hide their gender identity, sexual orientation or intersex situation in their workplaces. This is not only a violation of fundamental human rights, but also causes these individuals to hide their identity outside the office as well.

The situation of LGBTI+ private sector employees in Turkey

Since 2015, Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF) Turkey Office has been cooperating with KAOS GL on surveys and reports which focus on the situation of LGBTI+ employees in the private sector in Turkey by highlighting the hiring processes, general working conditions, and personal experiences of discrimination. The cumulative results demonstrate that the present conditions not only cause direct or indirect and open or hidden discrimination of LGBTI+ employees but also impact on the performance of employees, create tension and decrease productivity in the workplace.

In line with the findings of previous years, very few employees fully disclose their gender or intersex identity or sexual orientation in the workplace. In 2019, when 32.9% of participants said they were completely closeted, discrimination existed at all stages from job interviews to promotion. What participants recommend are contact meetings, corporate solutions and legislative regulations.

Even though legally there is a distinction between hate speech and hate crimes, considering the results of hate speech in the workplace, hate speech, too, arguably is a hate crime. Since the discriminatory violence towards LGBTI+ individuals is increasing in Turkey, there is a need to deal with homophobia as a particular form of violence. Thus, the KAOS GL is closely liaising with representatives of the business world, human rights activists and LGBTI+ friendly policy advocators to establish sustainable solutions to achieve legal and social transformations.

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