Turkish Court Fines Gay Man For Tweeting ’Queer’
A court in Turkey fined an LGBT rights activist Thursday for tweeting the word "queer."
According to Gay Star News, Levent Piskin was found guilty of tweeting "queer" in July and is ordered to pay 1,500 Turkish liars($750 USD).
Piskin’s tweet was a response to a statement made by Prime Minister Recap Tayyip Erdogan, who called himself a "perfect Alevi." Alevi is a religious group within Shia Islam combined with elements of Sufi.
"We expect a statement from Erdoğan saying ’I am a perfect queer.’ We are not going to learn about queerness from you. Kisses. #LGBTinConstitution," Piskin tweeted soon after the PM’s statement.
Prosecutors said Piskin was "mocking the Prime Minister" and charged the LGBT activist with "slander and heavy provocation." The lawyers also wanted Piskin to be sentenced to one year and four months in prison.
The activist, however, denied the charges and told the court that as a gay man he didn’t mean the word "as an insult, but rather as an expression of sexual orientation."
"Being queer is neither a shame nor a sin," he said, the Harriyet Daily News reports. "Claiming one’s identity is the result of the struggle we have given as an association for 21 years. Erdogan and his supporters learned nothing about queer despite 80,000 shouting it during the last Gay Pride.
"So we have to teach them. Let us teach them, because we know very well about queerness," he added.
Piskin was initially sentenced to two months and 15 days, but the punishment was converted to a fine. The activist hopes to appeal the ruling.