We invite LGBTI+s to queer the people's war in Turkey and Kurdistan and join our ranks!
On the occasion of the month of pride, we talked with KKB fighter Avaşîn Ateş from Rojava about the attacks against LGBTI+s, their imperialist policies, and how revolutionaries and communists view LGBTI+s.
- Hello, let's get to know you first. Can you tell us about yourself?
– Hello, I would like to commemorate all the na-trans heterosexual women and LGBTI+s we lost in the person of Deniz Poyraz, who was killed in a fascist attack before it started. “I got cold insideWe will not feel cold without seeing the fear of extinction and the collapse of their systems in the eyes of the fascist and his chiefs. Deniz Poyraz's murder has increased our revenge.
I am Avaşîn Ateş, named after the gay black warrior Avaşîn Tekoşîn Güneş, who was immortalized on the Til Temir front, and Esra Ateş, who was murdered in a transphobic attack. I am a member of the Communist Women's Union and a TİKKO fighter. I am here to defend the Rojava Revolution against the attacks of the fascist Turkish state and its gangs.
- As a trans person, why are you in the Rojava area, can you explain this a little bit?
- Actually, I'm just an openly transgender here. We have trench comrades with semi-open identities from other organizations that I know personally. Apart from this, I am sure that there were LGBTI+ fighters who did not exist in the past, and who do not have an open identity. I am aware that I am not alone in this sense, just as we are not alone anywhere in the world. Like all other revolutionary fighters, I am here to realize our revolutionary claim. Again, as I mentioned above, I am here to defend the Rojava Revolution.
When fascism knocks on the door of LGBTI+s, it does not care whether we are Arab, Turkish, Kurdish or Armenian; It does not matter whether we are Alevi, Muslim or Christian; It doesn't matter whether we are from the poor masses or from the upper and middle class. They attack us just because of our sexual orientation and gender identities. That doesn't mean we're all oppressed in the same way. Of course, a Kurd or Alevi is subject to a more severe attack. “Both Kurdish and gay“To be is the greatest of sins. Again, when we look at the neighborhoods and rural areas where the working class lives, what we see is that homo/transphobia is very common and severe. It's all about the system's policies. The masses of people are more affected by the media, education system, discriminatory religious and cultural policies. However, in these days when fascism is getting more and more violent, another opportunity comes our way; The opportunity to meet and make contact with the masses of the people…
- You mean contact?
– For example, during the TEKEL resistance, trans women from Ankara made soup and distributed it to the resisters. There was a serious break in the workers who, perhaps for the first time, made such an ordinary contact with trans women doing sex work. Again, during the Gezi Uprising, we did not leave the areas despite homo/transphobia; It provided us with a serious power of change in Kars, Antep, Çorum, Sivas and Trabzon. We need to see this. The change in the masses largely depends on this contact. In this sense, LGBTI+s, who do not leave the streets despite all kinds of attacks and oppression policies, become humble bricks of the future.
However, this is not enough, revolutionary and communist organizations now have to be more courageous. Because the fear that LGBTI+ policies will lose is actually just an excuse for homo/transphobia. I and my comrades were also experiencing this fear when I came to the Rojava area. However, we have seen that the bold steps we take cause changes not only in our own organization but also in other organizations. Opening discussions also means progress. Comrade Mao"No matter how long the road is, the first step must be taken.” should be a principle for us. The path we walk today will enable LGBTI+s, who will come to the battlefields tomorrow, to go further. Moreover, this change will be achieved not only in our own organization, but also in organizations that are farthest from LGBTI+s. Here, all the steps we take individually or in an organized manner and our visibility stand in an important place.
– You mentioned the masses of the people. What do you think about the class problem in the context of LGBTI+ policies?
– First of all, it is worth noting that. We communists do not treat heterosexism independently of the private property system. There is a serious overlap. The emergence of homo/transphobia did not happen overnight. Considering domestic labor as second-class labor, women becoming oppressed, the progress of monogamous heterosexual family structure and patriarchy, and the establishment of the state are directly related to the attempt to destroy sexual diversity. However, today, there are circles from both the mainstream LGBTI+ movement and revolutionary movements that act as if the class problem does not apply to the queer movement.
- Right here, may I ask, if it has a class origin, why are imperialist monopolies sponsoring Pride Parades?
- This does not apply to our country, you know. Even the sale of products containing rainbows was banned. But let's see how the Pride events have come from in the imperialist countries, from the Stonewall Inn resistance that started the Pride Parade to today. The resistance that created the Pride Parade was initiated and continued by immigrants, mostly from African and Latin American origins, sex workers, masculine lesbians, feminine gays and trans women from the poorest segments. Once again, I respectfully commemorate Marsha P., Silvia, and these punks whose names we do not know. However, today, the poorest LGBTI+s cannot afford enough money to attend the gigantic concerts held at “Pride Fests”. Liberal policies also distance the Stonewall Inn, which symbolizes class resistance, from its own reality. Such a history of resistance, which the revolutionary movements refuse to protect, is being stolen by the imperialists.
In reality, the faces of big companies that seem to be friendly to LGBTI+s are actually the second side of a dirty bargain. When you turn and tick, the well-known brands in our country are LCW, Adidas, H&M… While these brands produce in workshops where worker exploitation is most intense, they are not concerned with the sexual orientation and gender identities of these workers. H&M, which has more than 400 factories, brings “colorful” products produced in China, which is notorious for worker exploitation and homo/transphobic policies, and markets them to the LGBTI+ community in the west. LCW, following the call of the fascist regime in Turkey, stopped the sale of its “Rainbow-containing products” here. Imperialist monopolies, companies are only concerned with their profits. That's why they don't care about the homo-transphobic attacks themselves in their workshop while they sponsor NYC Pride and participate in the parade. They are material. We call reptiles to the men who hang out among the nuns, seem friendly-faced with friendly smiles, and make a living off our backs. This is how I evaluate these imperialist monopolies. Their counterparts in Lubunca are exactly this reptile, but from a giant. However, the situation has to be different for us. If we are not leading the organization in Antep while attending Pride Week in Istanbul, we should question our sincerity/revolutionaryism.
– Speaking of giant reptiles, that is, imperialist monopolies, as you say, a term called “Pinkwashing” is floating around. What do you think about this?
– There are things that we have struggled for years and turned into gains. Imperialist countries embrace these gains and empty themselves. Many queer theorists in the world have said and are saying a lot about this subject. For example, there is something called pink capital. It is based on a culture marketed to LGBTI+s and based on continuous consumption. We are actually realizing ourselves. The definition of pinkwashing is also similar to it. But what is mentioned here is what they cover with this market rather than the market they created. Israel, for example, has been on the agenda for many years. While occupying the homeland of the Palestinians, demolishing their homes and tearing up their olive groves "This is also a queer Palestinian, let's not get involveddoes he say? He doesn't. He even says "Palestine is dirty because Arabs are homophobic”. That's exactly what's being said, and it's so true. I just mentioned H&M. Even when we were unconsciously show-off, we knew from what blood these dresses, which are both cheap and dazzling, were distilled and marketed to us. In this sense, the LGBTI+ community should re-examine itself. Nobody cares whether that Chinese worker is queer or not when he hangs himself in a tiny room called a house out of exhaustion and boredom. They call it "depression," as if it were a spontaneous depression. However, how familiar we, the people of my country, are with this perpetrator system, depressions and departures.
- You just talked about the Pride Parade, its creators. What if we go back there?
– Pride Marches, which is the day of commemorating the resistance and raising the struggle, where the wave from the bottom shakes the heteropatriarchy, should turn into one of the stars of our victory order for us communists. It is, of course, important to attend Pride Week events in the conditions of fascism. But is this enough? Not possible! Representatives of the homo/transphobic system should be the target of our bullets and bombs. Events and discussions in which we begin to “understand” LGBTI+s are not enough. We have to condemn homo/transphobic approaches in the unions we are in. It is our duty to take a revolutionary stance without fear and “embarrassment” in this field, just as polemics are carried out on various issues.
- Actually, I wanted to say “how are these things with you” a little bit. You say general things, these are fine of course. So what happens in the "private" that we call "political"?
– You mean a little money? The hate policies towards LGBTI+s are a result of this system. Therefore, today we have to draw attention to the source of the problem, not the consequences. With the emergence of the private property system and classes, sexual diversity began to be tried, standardization, and the definitions of "sin, crime, disease", which finally embodied in the identity of the state, should be our main target. Undoubtedly, it is important to expand revolutionary solidarity and comradeship with the lewds who barely find a place in our organization today and who are trying to hold on to them despite everything. This is our view, although it is not a fully formed policy for now.
Our singular existences within the organization are considered by some to be “Okay, now LGBTI+s can organize too.It is desired to be drawn into a perception as if we are organizing on an equal ground. “Equalizing” the organizing ground for queers does not mean that we enjoy the same privileges or suffer the same forms of exploitation as na-trans heteros. In addition, queers on this “equalized” ground already make up a very small part of the society. We are aware of these and we are trying to increase this awareness among our comrades.
- Can you open this up a little bit?
– I mean that today, revolutionaries and communists are not so "over" homo/transphobia. After all, change is not something that happens that fast. We know that; For example, the advantages of a na-trans hetero man are very high compared to us, both in these fields and in legal fields of activity. The excuse for every wrong they do 'intentionally' or 'inadvertently'The effect of the 5-year-old male-dominated system on revolutionaries“But our smallest mistakes come at great costs. In this sense, there is an intersectionality with our na-trans hetero female comrades. “LGBTI+s are already like this” can be attributed to the entire LGBTI+ community. It doesn't even need to be a mistake. Things that are very possible for na-trans heteros are for you”How could such a thing happen? we can't allow this” can be received. We can also be “victims” of the political rivalry between revolutionaries.
But when all these happen, we are not afraid of them and we do not retreat. This war is a war we wage not only against the enemy, but also against its reflections on our life, culture and the like. We are building a revolutionary culture against moralism.
- Speaking of revolutionary and communist organizations, there are various claims about the homo/transphobic practices of the post-Lenin Soviet Union, which is the subject of discussion within the LGBTI+ struggle, or the Chinese Revolution led by Mao… Despite these claims, why are LGBTI+s still rejecting Stalin today? and come to the revolutionary and communist organizations that accept Mao as their leader? Or why did you come?
– Actually, I have asked myself this question quite often. Even when I was politically backward, I was able to reach the answer very clearly. If we are trying to change a system in which a few rich people feed by drinking the blood of billions of poor, and which always includes the oppressors and the oppressed, why not fight within organizations that want to overthrow this system? If we do not destroy the private property system, which also contains the origins of homo/transphobia, homo/transphobia will continue to exist in different forms. If so, just as we embraced the victories of the revolutionary leaders in the past - for example, the victory of Stalin and the heroic Soviet people against Hitler's fascism - we have to embrace and self-criticize their mistakes and shortcomings in all areas, if any, on this issue. In our tradition, self-criticism is given by practice. It is up to the revolutionaries and communists of today and tomorrow to carry out this practice. In this sense, I see this discussion as a discussion of those who want to keep us away from the revolutionary struggle. For these allegationsThe conditions of the period were such, they did not know, did only Stalin take these decisions, we have to look at the party at that time, the anti-propaganda of the imperialists.I do not find arguments such as ” appropriate, instead of all these consumer discussions, we should investigate the subject more comprehensively and turn to the practical self-criticism of the negative practices we encounter.
I "If we're gonna move the world, I gotta move too“I actually came here. around "safe and homo/transphobia-free spaces“Not like I just said. The war took shape at the hands of the heteropatriarchy for years. Now we give it a new form. For years we called it people's war. Now, by purging racist, homo/transphobic, masculine thoughts, that is, the ideology of the system, we are turning this war into a war of all the masses of the people. When this is the case, let me ask, why shouldn't they come?
- Actually, I asked in the first place. But I want to talk a little more. For years, the LGBTI+ movement has always been associated with peaceful protests, at least that's how we saw it. Was it difficult to get a gun now, to come to an area where military rules apply?
- Homo/transphobic murderers and their states do not distribute drugs to us. And indeed, it is a difficult choice to join the war rather than living the identity we have built in spite of our families and society over the years. However, we know this very well; our lives are already spent with war, we are not so strangers to war. Again, a trans sex worker has to have tools to defend herself on the street. So we're not in such a "pink" world. Let's even say "Pink is not the color you think”. Then, in Kurdistan or Palestine, no LGBTI+ or queer can live their identity freely and to the fullest. Those who can run away and “save themselves”. I say this in quotation marks. Because in fact, there is no "escape" situation. They face different difficulties in the so-called "advanced democracy" countries they visit. Also, the obligation to leave your friends, first loves, perhaps this barren land that you love so much, sits in your chest. I can't help but mention the beloved queer socialist Sarah Hegazi. Millions of LGBTI+ people who have to be alienated from themselves in the countries they go to and whose lives continue to be stolen by “integration” policies… For these reasons, “war” is not something against the LGBTI+ community. The movement had a very beautiful slogan.No justice, no peace' he said. Just like that; If there is no justice, we should continue to ask the barrels to account.
- You know, the Istanbul Pride Parade was held. Let's finish with your views on this and if there is anything you want to say to the lubunyas.
- The Istanbul Pride Parade was once again under attack. We've seen the news, albeit late. First of all, it is necessary to salute this audacity that does not leave the street under fascism conditions. This daring, which did not give up on the actions of the Istanbul Convention, the Bosphorus Resistance, or the environmental actions, was once again successfully accomplished by dispersing and uniting in places, despite all the pressures of fascism. A guerrilla tactic isn't it? Years ago "Every trans is a guerrilla“There was an article. Then it was removed from various concerns. But I remember it every time. It is so encouraging to see that these areas, which once included us, are still crowded and daring. And surely this hope that we have taken from the masses will rain down on fascism and we will drown them in their blood. However, this is possible by fighting together. In this sense, the participation of LGBTI+s in militia forces and battlefields is of great importance. As KKB fighters, we invite LGBTI+s to queer the people's war in Turkey and Kurdistan and join our ranks, believing that we have a long way to learn from each other and progress together.