Denied Citizens of Turkey: Experiences of Discrimination Among LGBT Individuals in Employment, Housing and Health Care

26 April 2017, 4.00 PM - 26 April 2017, 5.30 PM

Volkan Yilmaz

Room 7G1, 7 Priory Road, Bristol, BS8 1TZ

The purpose of this paper is to explore experiences of discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) individuals in three domains of social policies: employment, housing and health care — domains in which LGBT individuals are not openly recognized as equal citizens and anti-discrimination legislation is absent in Turkey. This paper draws on qualitative content analysis of the data collected from 14 focus group interviews with 139 LGBT individuals conducted in ten provinces of Turkey in the first half of 2014. Using this data, this paper sheds light on diverse forms of discrimination facing LGBT individuals in employment, housing and health care in Turkey. The paper concludes that the contemporary understanding of Turkish citizenship and its practice are rooted in heterosexist universalism that does not recognize LGBTs as equal citizens, which, in turn, leads to systematic breaches of LGBTs' social rights in employment, housing and health care. The paper shows that even strong and universalistic social policies fail to serve LGBTs on an equal footing with other citizens unless equal citizenship rights of LGBTs and anti-discrimination principles are recognized and realized.


Volkan Yilmaz is an Assistant Professor of Social Policy and the Director of Social Policy Forum Research Centre at Bogazici University, Istanbul. Yilmaz took his PhD in Politics from the University of Leeds. His previous work has been published in scholarly journals including Gender, Work & Organization, The Journal of Homosexuality and Southeast European and Black Sea Studies. His new book, The Politics of Health Care Reform in Turkey, will be soon published by Palgrave Macmillan. Yilmaz’s main interests are the politics of social policy reforms, youth and inequalities, the interface between humanitarian assistance and social policies, sexualities and social policy.


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