Kavaklıdere Cd. 23/8 Ankara
- Human rights
In order to strengthen LGBTI+ community and activism under increasing sociopolitical oppressions,
17 May Association, as a non profit civil society organization, was established in 2 September 2019 in
Ankara with the registration number: 06-138-019 by experienced LGBTI+ activists and professionals
working in the field, most of who are former Kaos GL activists initiated the first LGBTI+ movement in
Turkey. It became one of the respected LGBTI+ NGOs in Turkey in short period of time due to the
expertise and professional experience of itself.
May 17 carries out its work under three main special fields;
- Capacity Building (&Cultural and Social Activities) Program
- Empowerment Program
- Advocacy Program:
Main goals of May 17 are ensuring the well being of LGBTI+ right holders and building the capacity of them in advocating for their rights as well as responding the needs of LGBTI+ community and supporting LGBTI+ activism in Turkey. In this context,
1. Under its Capacity Building (&Cultural and Social Activities) Program, to strengthen LGBTI+ activism in Turkey, May 17 Association created an expert pool including 33 experts with ProtectDefenders fund to provide capacity building support to LGBTI+ organizations on different issues (such as fundraising, project management, administrational/ financial management, accounting, legal support, etc.) Within the scope of this program, since from September 2019 up to now, May 17 Association provided expert support to 10 LGBTI+ NGOs/Initiatives in Turkey: Ankara GALADER, Mersin Muamma, Antalya Akdeniz Aileleri, Bursa Özgür Renkler, İstanbul Hevi LGBTİ+, İzmir Genç LGBTİ+, Ankara Pink Life, Antalya BİZ, Ankara Unikuir, Pozitif Dayanışma. Apart from the expert support, May 17 Association provided various trainings to those such as on: Communication and campaigning; Project Cycle and project management; Legislation and finance management. May 17 Association has also provided all LGBTI+ NGOs in Turkey with support and mentorship in order for them to write and submit their project proposals to EU Programmes such as Core Support for Human Rights Programme (Haklara Destek) and
Protect Defenders. Also via cultural & social activities, May 17 aims to provide the LGBTI+ community with safe spaces free of any sort of discriminatory practices and hate speech.
- Under its Empowerment Program, there is Psychosocial and Legal Support Programme and Well being program. May 17 has launched the psychosocial and legal support programme as of January 2021 as the affiliate of Kaos GL Association in the "Rainbow Project" funded by SIDA. Through the involvement of psychologists, social workers, and lawyers, the programme aims to provide relevant support for the LGBTI+ community as well as it aims to tackle the obstacles the community faces in exercising their rights, strengthen them against the violations faced as a result of their LGBTI+ identities, and improve their psychosocial well-being. The support mechanism also aims to bring the LGBTI+ persons and the relevant supporting parties together, to spot the violations encountered, and to follow through the whole process of addressing issues of violations. Also May 17 Association launched the 'Well-being Programme' in August 2021 with the support of the ILGA Europe and Heinrich Böll Stiftung Brussels Branch. Within the scope of the program, which is designed to develop the well-being of LGBTI+ activists and their NGOs, it has been aimed to develop the well being state by individual and institutional support, to highlight the importance of the field of well-being in the NGOs where the activists work, and to empower LGBTI+ Human Rights Defenders against the discrimination and violence that they are systematically exposed to, alongside with other activities of the program. In that regard, while individual support services are provided for LGBTI+ persons who are active in different parts of Turkey, a psychological support network has been established aiming to strengthen the capacities and skills of psychologists working in the LGBTI+ field with regular trainings on the relationship between LGBTI+ and well-being. Similarly, the program works towards ensuring a sustainable LGBTI+ activism model in Turkey by organizing experience sharing activities, translation studies of best practices into Turkish and well-being meetings within the scope of international practices for the well-being of LGBTI+ organizations.
- Under its Advocacy Program:
i. Ageing Studies: for the aging and elder LGBTI+ studies, May 17 has formed the 40+ Lubunya Initiative. This initiative, which held its first meeting in Bolu on December 14-15, 2019 with the support of Etkiniz EU, discussed good examples regarding the elderly LGBTI+’s for two days and sought answers to the question "How to grow old together". Then, the studies on aging were initiated within May 17 Association. May 17 Association has conducted “Elderly LGBTI+ Project” in that regard between July 2020-February 2021, which is the very first study conducted in Turkey on aging and elder LGBTI+ persons, supported by ILGA Europe to promote the rights of aging and elder LGBTI+ persons. Within that scope, 8 different online activities were conducted complemented by research on the good examples from the world and the notes of these are combined in 2 reports, in order to inspire the gerontology studies. Also, May 17 translated two publications of the SAGE USA into Turkish. These are two publications showing how inclusive services for elder LGBTI+ persons can be built via the
experiences, needs and attitudes of them. On the first half of 2021, May 17 got the support of Heinrich Böll Stiftung Turkey and have published live broadcast series called "Balamoz Şugardır", on May 17’s Instagram account which address the aging from different perspectives complemented by regular meetings held online on Zoom. On September 2021, May 17 initiated another project with the support of Netherlands Embassy Human Rights Fund, which will last for two years. This project aims to improve the right to health and access to health of aging and elder LGBTI+ persons by providing trainings to healthcare professionals and social service experts. Until now, two info notes were published and third info note for social workers and healthcare professionals were prepared. Recently after commencing a comprehensive survey study, our latest report was published both in Turkish and English to change the perspective of healthcare and social service professionals when it comes to the rights and issues of elderly LGBTI+ citizens.
ii. HIV Studies: The first action of May 17 Association regarding HIV was to take part in the final conference of the EUROPACH project titled ‘Living Politics: Remembering HIV / AIDS Activism Tomorrow’ organized on 12-13 September 2019 in Berlin, Germany. The founders of May 17 took part in the workshop on HIV and discrimination hosted by Kaos GL. May 17 Association believes a broader
perspective is needed when addressing the issue of HIV and that policy making should involve the active participation of political subjects, therefore May 17 Association and KAOS GL published a joint publication titled ‘The Report on the Human Rights of LGBTI+ Persons Living with HIV’ with the support of ETKİNİZ EU in November, 2020. The second HIV and Anti-Discrimination Stakeholder Workshop was
held on November 2020, where the 3 reports published by Pozitif-İz, Positive Life and the partnership of May 17-Kaos GL were discussed.
iii. Local Government Studies: It is of critical importance for May 17 to work with local governments so that LGBTI+ persons can live without facing discriminatory practices and in a participative way. As the association is in Ankara, and as the majority of the LGBTI+ community resides in Çankaya, May 17 aims to prioritize working with local governments within that district. The projects generated will
mainly focus on spotting the problems faced by the LGBTI+ persons residing and/ or working in the district and an action plan will be made on how to address those problems with the support of Freedom House. For this reason, a survey and interview study were held and the dataset were combined in a report and shared with Çankaya Municipality in a launching meeting order to hold joint studies with
them in future.
iv. Intersex Studies: May 17 got small grants between 2019 and 2021 from Heinrich Böll Stiftung, Urgent Action Fund, Astraea Fund for supporting transgender and intersex community in Turkey. May 17 Association provided Intersex Turkey with the support in order for them to raise funds, to build their capacity regarding organization, financial management as well as regarding the empowerment of intersex activism in Turkey. Within the scope of this study, www.interdayanisma.org web site has been launched and intersex activists are regularly updating this website with the studies they conducted.
v. Climate Studies: Since May 17 consists the persons who are just day in and day out constantly thinking and asking “what more can we do, how can we drive LGBTI+ and equality agenda further?”; May 17 started to work on climate justice on September 2021 as another field of substudy under advocacy program, where it became partner with Kaos GL Association with the support of Urgent Action Fund. The two associations have already zero waste, environmental policy, vegan/vegetarian procurement policy to reduce CO2 emission and create a climate friendly atmosphere. Since climate justice is founded on the principles that we all deserve a planet where we can thrive and be safe, they will work together to start the change from themselves. Within that scope, May 17 Association and Kaos GL Association have reviewed their policy documents by preparing Climate101 guideline in order to contribute a cleaner and sustainable environment. At the same time, they would like to mobilize the other LGBTI+ NGOs in Turkey in order to do in the light of this guideline. For this reason on January 2022, climate workshop was held with the participation of LGBTI+ NGOs in Turkey.
As the strategic partner of Kaos GL Association which is one of the biggest and well known LGBTI+ NGO in Turkey and which is also the distinguished member of ALF, 17 May Associatin were able to bring the firsts in the LGBTI+ movement in Turkey. With this expertise, 17 May Association can contribute the network in its all field of studies.
17 May Association is the only LGBTI+ NGO in Turkey which worked on climate justice and intersectionality of it with LGBTI+ community and climate crisis from queer ecological perspective. Therefore, May 17 would like to join ALF network for attending the Euromed Summit 2023 and share the vision of 17 May Association there with the other participants especially on its climate studies.