Immoral’s right to vote

Amongst the restored buildings of Baku, racing cars pass by quickly. The sound of the wheels rubbing against the ground and the engines roaring didn't allow me to sit quietly at home, so I sat in a coffee shop near my house. Honestly, I don't feel comfortable in this place. A few months ago, when I started coming here for the first time, the workers secretly laughed at me. But I have no other option, and I can't find a nanny and a place as affordable as this one. Currently, the city is preparing for an international competition. Even the front of my house is affected. Unfortunately, I can't choose not to live here or to avoid the noise of the race. When asked why I want to live in the centre of Baku, it's not hard to see that what's happening is not luxurious. For more than two years now, I have been away from the people I grew up with. I haven't seen my mother for over a year. The reason is not really serious, just that my mother has a favourite child. It happens to many of us during adulthood: countless and baseless arguments. But we have always had a reason for our arguments. We have always been silent at home over a reason. As a result, I have been forced to move away from home.

The cafe where I am currently sitting is also next to the Formula 1 track, which I mentioned earlier. Every time a car passes by, I feel the agony of not being able to choose or not being chosen. We witness that in Azerbaijan, two generations have grown up without the opportunity to choose. The movements that are still learning to organise themselves cannot resist the conservatism that arises cyclically. In Azerbaijan, where there are no chances to choose or create alternatives, LGBTQ+ movements and currents that create a pool of ideas for LGBTQ+ people cannot form.

On October 19, 2019, poverty pushed people in Azerbaijan to the streets. Despite the violence and targeting, they did not count the risk of imprisonment and gathered at the National Assembly's rally. I think that period was a symbol for Azerbaijan years later (of course, I don't idealize the National Assembly, even in 2020, it remained memorable with its LGBTQ+phobic statements. Interestingly, the authorities that have been turning Azerbaijan into a hell for LGBTQ+ people every year also used this incident for their own propaganda). For example, at the beginning of that year, thousands of people demanded the release of blogger Mehman Huseynov. Long-term apathy may be the beginning of serious movements, but faces that can control people's anger and speak out against ideological struggles, or as in the case of Azerbaijan, everything becomes meaningless without a basis. This process creates a bulk for us to choose from in elections. Our inability to choose what to read, where to go, and what to say in Azerbaijan lays the foundation for the catastrophes of our day: electionlessness, the foundation of an inhumane environment. Let's not go far, presidential elections in Turkey that we closely followed on May 14th. A survey was also conducted about this in Azerbaijan. In Turkish surveys, Erdogan, who could not pass with 50%, gathered more than 90% of the votes in Azerbaijan.

With these examples, I show that as citizens, we have no choice. In states where there is no political participation, cisgender-heterosexual individuals who are elected with carousels see the power to discuss the freedom of women* and LGBTQ+ as their own. In 2022, 18 hate speeches were voiced against petukh and feminists by 7 deputies. According to data prepared by the "Women's Murders" platform for 2022, 64 women were killed. According to the platform, 3 women are subjected to violence every day. These are just a collection of events reflected in the media. Although any movement claiming to be an alternative to the government loses its values, feminist-LGBTQ+s generally question the hegemony of these values. Women are used again to camouflage the massacre against women. Women* who hide ballot balls in their breasts during elections are vulgarised when they demand their rights. Even the state does not allow us to influence our bodies, it turns us into a means in its own election process. By stealing our voices and words, they use us for their own interests.

Not being able to elect and being able to be elected occupies every stage of our lives. From our career choices to our clothing choices, from our families to our childhood friends. It demands us to believe that personal is not political by grouping us together. Every "It's a family matter!" distorts our slogan. The state's demand for us to be represented everywhere in the political arena as a community is a slogan that undermines our need for solidarity. Without us, your elections, your spaces, and your heads will be screwed up! No one will be free unless the LGBTQ+ community is free.

Author: Ali Malikov

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