Source: Helin, “Top Var, Tüfek Var, trans yok!” (“Lots of guns but no trans!”), KaosGL, 15 August 2014 [March-April 2011], http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=17309.
Helin wrote about her “adventure with the military” for KaosGL’s 117th issue (March – April 2011) titled “Militarism.”
My name is Helin; I am a 26 year old transsexual woman. My adventure with the military lasted for about six days. And this process was such a tiring and chafing one… Even now, as I am writing about my experiences, I get goose bumps: I might end up having to re-experience this all over again as I write about it. I was a teacher for 3 years following my BA. I was so anxious about the military that I neither had the power to go to the draft office, nor to get a “pink report.” I didn’t want to get into trouble with these procedures. This year, along with the process of opening up to my family, I found that power in me.
The First Day
Doctor: “Are your breasts real?”
I didn’t know what I was about to live through as I, along with my mother, set out to Cebeci Draft Office; nor did I know that my adventure was going to last so long. The appalling experience had already started in my very first moments as I stepped through the doors of the office. Once our belongings were searched, we were asked for our IDs. I find it very difficult to describe how I felt at that moment. I gave my ID card to the soldier in front of me with much haste and without looking at his face. But this haste couldn’t prevent the chuckles, the whispers, nor the sounds and gestures of disapproval, along with the humiliating looks, to surround us. Both my mother and I had become so tense that I don’t remember how we went from that doorway to the relevant office. Once there, they referred us to Mamak Draft Office, which was located at another floor of the same building. Here, we were surrounded yet again by the gaze of both the officers and the draft candidates who were receiving their conscription. The minutes that would truly wear me out were those when it was our turn to be served. I was asked to get 24 passport-style photos downstairs. Everyone was gazing at me as my photographs were being taken. Some were looking in a manner to harass me because they understood that I was trans, and others because I was a woman. Even though we were inside this office, there were even some who verbally harassed me, as if we were on the streets. I remember how I got hot flashes, how my hands started sweating, and how I wanted to die. Without my mother at my side, I wouldn’t have stayed there for a moment. But I endured. Because in order for me to do as I wanted, I needed that report that would brand me as “ill.” This was a great contradiction for me. I kept trying to explain to my family that I was not ill. And now, with my mother beside me, I was officially petitioning the state to accept that I was ill and to not draft me.