Social Gender Focused News Website alansavunmasi.org Is Now Online
The social gender focused journalism website against sexism in the sports media, alansavunmasi.org is now online. Alan Savunması protects the rights of women and LGBTI + athletes in its publications and aims to increase the visibility of these individuals by opposing homophobic, biphobic and transphobic approaches in sports as well as all areas of life. We talked with the founder Ali Safa Korkut about the founding purposes and activities of the website.
With Alan Savunması, we aim to contribute to the visibility struggle by standing shoulder to shoulder with women and LGBTI + athletes who are ignored, discriminated and trivialized among the field of sports and sports media. Accordingly, Alan Savunması defends an equal life against those who want to establish gender domination in sports and sports media as in all areas of life by sports journalism within the scope of rights journalism. It creates its news and content in a way that contributes to a more equal and more humane sports environment. In our publications for women and LGBTI + individuals, we observe the rights of athletes with different genders and sexual orientations who cannot find or take place in the mainstream media and we try to announce the discrimination they face in the field of sports. Our future plans include Alan Savunması to operate not only as a news source but also as a non-governmental organization with all stakeholders in the community. But it’s too early for that. For now, our first goal is to grow and develop Alan Savunması as a news platform.
Do you think you’ve filled a gap? What feedbacks do you get from the field?
In fact, it would be better to call this a deficiency rather than a gap. If we call it a gap, people can think that we are profiteering and acting with commercial concerns. We have no such concern, no intention of dominating the field. If only there were a few more platforms like us and we could help make those people’s voices heard. When it comes to your question, we definitely think that we have corrected this deficiency, in fact we have set off for this purpose. But when we realized this platform, we’ve found out that the deficiency was actually much bigger than we thought. Because we got the feedback so quickly that everyone seemed to be aware of this shortcoming which is the lack of such a platform, and that they were waiting for someone to actualize it. The first week after we went online, we have reached nearly 1000 followers. Likewise, the daily hits of our website are pretty well. I can say that the feedbacks are very promising not only on our behalf, but also on behalf of all rights defenders who continue their struggle for an equal life as an individual or as an organization. Many people from different parts of the society have shown that they are together with women and LGBTI + athletes who have been subjected to discrimination with numerous supporting messages. Far reaching people such as journalists, writers, artists, activists, congressmen, etc. have not withheld their support since day one. Through these people, many people who became victims of this issue and felt the lack of such a formation have reached us.
What kind of a change or awareness do you aim to create? Have you had achievements within this short period of time?
In fact, the change that Alan Savunması wants to create among people is not very radical, like everyone in this field and like every non-governmental organization. As Alan Savunması, we first want to show people that there is no need to be a woman or an LGBTI + individual to defend the rights of women, homosexuals or individuals with other orientations. People must first understand the logic of this. If I speak for myself, I have not had the opportunity to communicate with any LGBTI + individuals face to face in real life so far or I am not an LGBTI + individual, but I can see that there is an unfair, inequal approach towards these individuals. This is enough for me to react to this injustice. My other friends who are active in Alan Savunması think the same as me. For this reason, first of all, I think that people should be aware that the communities which they are not a part of can also defend their rights. I believe this will be realized in the easiest way with sports, especially team sports. Not only we have won, but you, me, women, LGBTIs, all of us have, it was an achievement for all humanity. As you’ve said, it has been a short time since Alan Savunması started to operate, but there have been various acquirements in this field and it seems to increase. Several non-governmental organizations have already contacted us, and we started to think together about various ideas about what we can do in this area. We discuss the things that can be done for now, but we hope these will become concrete soon.
“When the sports clubs encounter financial difficulties, they clubs begin to save money from the women’s branches. These branches either are downsized or closed. Women are first to be discarded.”
In which areas do you feel discrimination the most? What would you like to say about the reasons for this?
As far as I can observe as a sports lover, gender discrimination is most common in football. I can say that this is the same for both the fans and the managers. Managers at FIFA, UEFA or at sports clubs with football federations with a majority of men, do not approach to men’s football teams and the women’s football teams equally. Especially in Turkey, men’s football teams are generally supported morally and materially more and they benefit from the opportunities more, while women’s football teams are managed with the leftover budget sof the men’s teams. Actually women’s teams are more governed than managed. When the sports clubs encounter financial difficulties, they clubs begin to save money from the women’s branches. These branches either are downsized or closed. Women are first to be discarded. The situation is the same on the fan’s side as well. As the club managers think this way, the fans cannot be expected to think differently. When the same sports club’s men’s and women’s basketball teams have a match on the same day, the fans usually prefer to watch the match of the men’s team. One of the reasons for this is that team sports such as football, basketball, volleyball or handball are mostly based on physical struggle. The fans generally think that women are inadequate for physical struggle, and generally prefer men’s teams in sports where physical contact is intense. One of the biggest causes of discrimination is gendered discourse. The majority of the cheers sung against the opposing team during the games are made up of gendered discourses. We can show this as a manifestation of patriarchy in our culture. For this reason, I think we should first end sexism in the language. If we can remove the gendered discourses from the language, we can eliminate gender discrimination not only in sports but in all areas of life.