An Overview of LGBT Rights and Health Legislation in Turkey from an Ethical Perspective
Ekmekci, Perihan Elif
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Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people have been and are still being subjected to discrimination and the violation of fundamental human rights based upon their sexual orientation and gender identity. In many countries, several international organizations, including the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the European Union and many nongovernmental organizations, are working together to raise awareness of this problem. As a member of the United Nations and Council of Europe, as well as a candidate for European Union membership, Turkey has obligations regarding LGBT rights and freedoms. The limited number of available surveys reveals that most Turks do not have positive perceptions of LGBT people. Although the Turkish Constitution guarantees certain fundamental human rights for every citizen, infringement of these rights for LGBT people is common. The fundamental right to social determinants, such as education, employment, social security and housing and the right to health are guaranteed for all citizens. There is a lack of specific reference in these legislative mandates and national policies specifically as to equality for Turkish LGBT individuals; this, together with little by way of negative consequence to combat discrimination, limits the realization of these rights. National legislation recognizes the right to gender reassignment treatment in Turkey but there are severe restrictions to this in practice. Gender identity refers to individual sexual identity and not necessarily to sexual preference, the latter arguably the primary gravamen of discrimination in the LGBT community.