“Where is Hüseyin?” Trans Woman Reports Lover Assaulted and Kidnapped by Family in Turkey

Deniz, a transwoman, recently called Pink Life LGBT Association to notify them that her lover Hüseyin was kidnapped by his family and has been incommunicado. Concerned that the family who have physically assaulted Hüseyin and Deniz might further hurt Hüseyin, we ask: Where is Hüseyin?!

Source: “Hüseyin Nerede?” September 22, 2016, Pink Life , http://pembehayat.org/haberler.php?id=1241

Deniz, a trans woman who lives in Bursa, contacted Pink Life Association’s lawyer Rıza Yalçın Koçak and told him that Hüseyin’s family cut in front of them in their car while the two of them were walking on the street. After physically assaulting both, the family fired shots into the air with their guns, forced Hüseyin into the car and drove away, reported Deniz.

Directed by lawyer Rıza Yalçın Koçak, Deniz went to the Bursa Public Prosecutor’s Office and filed criminal charges. The Prosecutor’s Office started the process and issued a protection order for Deniz in compliance with Law 6284.

“They don’t want their son to be lovers with a transvestite”

Lawyer Koçak directed Deniz to the family’s summer home in Küçük Kumla as the most probable location where Hüseyin might be detained. Following the correspondence over the phone with the Küçük Kumla Gendarmarie Station, a request was made to the station to send the gendarmerie, accompanied by Deniz, to check the addresses to find Hüseyin. The commander at the station spoke with lawyer Koçak and told him, “Don’t worry, we will take care of this.” However, later that night the same station told Deniz that the address in question was not within their jurisdiction and sent her to the Gemlik Police Station. A military officer who identified himself as the station commander and spoke to lawyer Koçak made the following statement that lays bare their approach to the issue: “Hüseyin is alright, we met with the father, he is not going to hurt him, but he does not want his son to be lovers with a transvestite, either.” Despite lawyer Koçak’s efforts, the Küçük Kumla  Gendarmerie Station did not call the family into the station to take their statement.

Lawyer Koçak contacted the Gemlik Police Station where Deniz was sent. At the station, Koçak explained the urgency of the situation and requested that the family be brought to the station for a statement. Gemlik Police Station first claimed lack of jurisdiction over the address. When Deniz and lawyer Koçak persisted, they told Deniz that they would conduct a raid at the address, took Deniz with them, and instead of raiding the address, they dropped Deniz off in Bursa city center.

The following day, Çelik Özdemir from Istanbul LGBTT Solidarity Association spoke with Pink Life lawyer Rıza Yalçın Koçak and offered their support. Ali Sevilen and Gülbiz Alkan from Bursa Free Colors (Bursa Özgür Renkler, an LGBT association) also joined the process in solidarity.

First, the group met with Bursa MP Orhan Sarıbal and requested that he should demand information about the situation. The group also contacted Bursa MP Nurhayat Altaca Kayışoğlu to ensure that the representatives were informed about the situation.

Deniz was subsequently directed to the Merinos Police Station after Pink Life received information that the family gave a statement at the station located in the Bursa city center. Lawyer Koçak also met with the police at the station. The police merely stated that Hüseyin was alright with no further comment or information.

Accompanied by activists from Bursa Free Colors, Deniz first went to the Gemlik Police Station. Here activists were told Hüseyin was fine, that he even filed charges against Deniz and did not want to see her. The station produced no evidence in support of these claims. Lawyer Koçak inquired at the Bursa Public Prosecutor’s Office by submitting Hüseyin’s ID and determined that Hüseyin had not filed any charges against Deniz.

“No Police Officer on Duty”

Activists from Bursa Free Colors were told by the Gemlik Police Station to go to the Merinos Police Station to give supplementary statement without which, they claimed, they could not do anything. Activists took Deniz to the Merinos Police Station but were told that there was no police officer on duty thus no statement was taken.

Upon lawyer Koçak’s request, Bursa MP Orhan Sarıbal went to the Merinos Police Station and reported the following: “Merinos Police Station told me Hüseyin is fine. But they have not seen him. We told them they would be culpable for anything bad that happens and left the station.”

Deniz subsequently went to the Bursa Governor’s Office and filed a petition that Hüseyin is missing and that there is concern about his safety. Governor’s Office forwarded the petition to Bursa Security Directorate. Lawyer Koçak met with Bursa Security Directorate and explained the situation.

Bursa Security Office Arrogation Bureau stated that they were on the case, but as of September 22, 8:00 pm, lawyer Koçak was told on the phone that Hüseyin gave a statement at the Merinos Police Station and he was fine.”

However, during the last meeting, Merinos Police Station had claimed that they had not taken Hüseyin’s statement and were unaware of the matter.

“The picture that has emerged makes us all the more concerned for Hüseyin’s safety”

Pink Life lawyer Rıza Yalçın Koçak made the following statement regarding the case:

“As we are trying to explain,

Both law enforcement officers, gendarmerie and police have adopted a partisan attitude and refused to fulfil their official duties. In the face of conflicting information given by them, we are led to conclude that law enforcement is being dishonest. The picture that has emerged makes us all the more concerned about Hüseyin’s safety.”

Hüseyin may currently be detained by his family.

Hüseyin may currently be subject to torture and maltreatment.

What we have experienced strengthens this thought and we hereby declare to the public that Gemlik Police Station, Küçük Kumla Gendarmerie Station, Merinos Police Station, Bursa Security Directorate and Bursa Governor’s Office, and foremost, Hüseyin’s family will be culpable for anything bad that happens to him. We reiterate our concern and ask one more time:

Where is Hüseyin?”

 

Trans Woman Attacked, Forced to Leave Istanbul Neighborhood

Kıvılcım Arat, LGBTI activist, was forced to leave her home of five years due to continuous attacks from a group of young men living in her neighborhood.

Source: Çiçek Tahaoğlu, “Trans Kadına ‘Bu Mahalle Gezici Değil’ Saldırısı”, September 21, 2016, BiaNet, http://bianet.org/bianet/lgbti/178863-trans-kadina-bu-mahalle-gezici-degil-saldirisi

Kıvılcım Arat is a board member of the Istanbul LGBTI Solidarity Association as well as the spokesperson of the Democratic Women’s Movement.

She was forced to abandon her home in Beyoğlu due to fear for her personal safety. She has moved to another city and is temporarily living in an acquaintance’s house. She plans to work and save some money before returning to Istanbul and seeking new accommodations.

Due to Arat’s concern for her safety, we cannot include the name of the neighborhood or her current whereabouts in the piece.

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“They have screenshots of my news interviews”

Arat told the story of how a group of young men harassed and threatened her on her way in and out of the neighborhood:

“I have been living in the same neighborhood for the last five years. I had no previous problems with these kids. About a month ago, just as I was entering my home, they stopped me, “Wait for a second.” I tried to enter the apartment building but one of them was at the door, both holding but also trying to block the others’ way in.

“They showed me screenshots of my interviews with bianet, Jinha and İMC TV broadcasts before shouting ‘this is not a Gezi-spirited neighborhood.’ They went on to shout sexist slurs and threaten me with rape. ‘Nobody will be able to save you from us,’ they told me.”

“You will never be on TV again”

“I managed to walk into my home then but they continued their threats in the following days, adding ‘you will never be on tv again.’ They would bring their own foldable chairs outside and sit there in the middle of the neighborhood. For a few days, I asked for help from my neighbors to get home. They escorted me from the end of the street to my apartment building.

“10 days after the first attack, I and a friend of mine from the solidarity association came home. They were waiting at the entrance. It was a tense moment but we managed to walk in the building. After that we heard a commotion outside. As a trans friend of ours was entering the building, the group attacked them shouting, ‘Whore! Is that your pimp?’

“Four days after this event, they threw bottles at me. I could not take it anymore, so I transferred my rent contract. My whole life is upside down. I need to find a new home now.”

Alderman tried to evict Arat from her apartment

Arat also claimed that the neighborhood alderman had taken part in the events, and that the alderman had tried to evict her from her apartment:

“When my neighbors went to the neighborhood alderman’s office for some paperwork, the alderman asked them for my landlord’s number. When they asked why, he claimed that I was a sex worker and added ‘we do not know who comes in and out of the apartment.’ My neighbors reacted to this statement and told the alderman, ‘we have been living in the same building for years. We have not seen any strangers come and go. Furthermore, she was attacked. She cannot come to her own home for a week now.’”

When the neighbors could not convince the alderman, the alderman of a near neighborhood, Çiğdem Nalbantoğlu, intervened and reminded that it is not within an alderman’s rights or duties to evict residents and persuaded against calling Arat’s landlord. The alderman later said ‘Kıvılcım Hanım (Arat), should come to visit us for some tea.’

“They attacked a 60 year old woman, they could easily kill me”

Arat added that she was not the only target of these men in her neighborhood:

“A Romanian woman lives across the street. Since her apartment is on the ground floor, you can see her television. They keep harassing her, saying ‘why don’t you turn your tv off during the call to prayer?’

“On July 16th, they attacked a woman who lived here for years with her two kids. The woman had just asked these people to be quiet. They threatened her. The woman had to escape back into her building. They yelled ‘traitors’ on the street.

“I am not safe on that street. They behave with such impunity. Anyone who attacks a 60 year old woman who abides by all norms of society, would not shy away from killing me.”

Arat, who says she had to leave Istanbul in a hurry, will file criminal complaints, through her lawyer, with the prosecutor’s office for public nuisance, sexual harassment, intimidation, using threats and intimidation to intervene in others’ way of life. 

Trans Man Faces Discrimination in Istanbul Gym

The famous gym chain MACFit’s Anadolu Hisarı branch in Beykoz, Istanbul was the scene of transphobic discrimination. Trans male Çağlar Hamza was first warned by the gym’s managers, where he was a member, by being told “You have a pink ID card, you cannot use the men’s changing room”, and then was forced to freeze his membership.

Source: “Ünlü spor salonu zincirinden transfobik uygulama: Üyeliğini dondur!”, SoL, 20 September 2016, http://haber.sol.org.tr/toplum/unlu-spor-salonu-zincirinden-transfobik-uygulama-uyeligini-dondur-169646 

Çağlar Hamza, a trans male who is originally a graphic designer, but still working on ships as a vice captain, was subject to the transphobic discrimination of the managers of the gym chain MACFit’s Anadolu Hisarı branch, of which he has been a member for a year. Çağlar Hamza was warned by a fitness instructor the previous evening with the words “You cannot use the men’s changing room, go use the women’s side”. Çağlar Hamza stated that he is a man, that he had not applied to the court and had his ID card changed yet, but he would be continuing to use the men’s side. He was forced the next day by the gym management to have his membership frozen.

ÇAĞLAR HAMZA: THIS IS A CLEAR TRANSPHOBIC DISCRIMINATION!

Çağlar Hamza, who spoke to soL, said “They gave me three choices. They wanted me to either get dressed and take showers in the women’s side, get dressed outside the premises, or freeze my membership. This is a clear transphobic discrimination. I condemn this”.

Suspect who attacked trans woman with an iron stick: I am not done with you!

After being caught, one of the people who attacked trans women with an iron stick threatened them by saying ‘I am not done with you’ in Ankara Bülbülderesi. The attacker was released pending trial.

Source: “Trans kadınlara demir sopayla saldıran zanlı: Sizinle işim daha bitmedi!” T24, 3 September 2016, http://m.t24.com.tr/haber/trans-kadinlara-demir-sopayla-saldiran-zanli-sizinle-isim-daha-bitmedi,358251

According to Pink Life’s news, the captured attacker went to trans woman S’s house pretending to be a customer and tried to extort her.

The attacker first left when the trans women did not file a complaint, but then came back with three others, in a car without a license plate, to threaten the women there.

The attacker was caught when the licence plate of the first car was detected. The attacker then threatened the trans women who went to the police station to identify him.

Rıza Yalçın Koçak, a lawyer from Pink Life Association, called the police headquarters to demand protection after the attacker’s attitude.

The policeman, who approved Koçak’s demand of protection on the phone, rejected the demand by saying ‘We are extremely busy, we cannot deal with you’ to the trans women.

The attacker was released pending trial.

Lesbian Woman Commits Suicide in Turkey

Nalan Bayar, a student at the department of Mechanical Engineering in METU [Middle Eastern Technical University, Ankara] who was systematically subjected to family pressure and threats because of her lesbian identity, took her own life. Her friends made a written statement that said “It’s not a suicide but a social homicide, and the murderer is obvious.”

Source: “Eşcinsel olduğu için baskı gören kadın yaşamına son verdi”, T24, 30 August 2016, http://t24.com.tr/haber/escinsel-oldugu-icin-baski-goren-kadin-yasamina-son-verdi,357622

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“It’s not a suicide, but a social homicide and the murderer is obvious.”

According to the news of Jinha, Nalan Bayar who was systematically subjected to pressure and threats from her family and social circle and had gone to Germany for university education because of her sexual orientation. Nalan who was also a graduate student of the department of Business in Bogazici University, took her own life Monday morning, having been driven to suicide as a result of the hate that she was exposed to because she was a lesbian.

Her friends and 7 Renk Mersin LGBT who made a written statement have highlighted that the death of Nalan is not a suicide but a social homicide. The statement read:

“Again a murder was committed in front of our eyes and we weren’t able to prevent it. Our friend, Nalan Bayar who had gone to Germany for university education in order to get away from the pressures and threats from her family based on her sexual orientation, took her life Monday morning. It’s not a suicide but a social homicide, and the murderer is obvious. This is a criminal complaint, not to the governmental mechanisms producing the same darkness, but to the conscience of humanity. Nalan committed suicide because she despaired of this conscience blunted by darkness. We couldn’t be hope and light.

“She will be quietly buried whilst being presented by her family as ‘someone who had gone to study but committed suicide because of the depression of failure’. Nalan was a graduate from the department of Business in Bogazici University, and a student in the department of Mechanical Engineering in METU. She had dedicated herself to caring for street animals. Nalan and the fight she put up under the unendurable heaviness of being other, because of her sexual orientation, will wither on the vine in a trice. Murderers will live and die without being aware that they are murderers. As long as we keep silence like that and don’t proliferate, murders will be committed every day.

“The end result for those who don’t keep silent and search for a solution to any kind of social problem are prisons, exiles, political murders, etc. If that’s not enough, being burned alive in the basement would be continuous. It’s not known how much this situation will accumulate, but it’s obvious that we die every day, down to the crumbs of our humanity. Let’s announce, and be the voice! The death of Nalan was not suicide but a murder.”

Having suicidal thoughts? Please see our list of resources:

https://lgbtinewsturkey.com/2015/03/04/suicide-resources/

Trans woman commits suicide in Turkey

Azize Ömrüm, a sex worker who lived in İzmir, committed suicide due to not being able to stand social pressure. One of Azize Ömrüm’s closes friends, trans activist Öykü Ay said, “We are all responsible for this suicide.”

Source: “Trans Kadın İntihar Etti”, pembehayat.org, 22 August 2016, http://pembehayat.org/haberler.php?id=1210

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After the suicide of Azize Ömrüm, a sex worker trans woman, Öykü Ay was quoted as saying “Azize was different from all of us. She only loved once, but her lover’s parents broke them up. Azize could not stand that her lover got married by force with another person. She told her love to all of us. She was telling this so frequently, we could not understand her strong feelings. Then she found her solution by isolating herself.”

Ay also mentioned that Azize wanted to be a chef and not a sex worker. Ay stated “She used to cook very well. The only person whose bed she wanted to get in was that of her lover. But she had to be a sex worker because of her life condition. The system did not let her  work in another job. She could not handle the burden and was lonesome” and mentioned that the whole of society is responsible for Azize’s suicide, including her friends.  

As Pembe Hayat, we all offer our condolences to everyone in the trans community.

Protest for Azize in Ankara!

After Azize’s suicide, High School LGBTI in Ankara invited everyone to gather against transphobia. High School LGBTI stated “We are gathering in front of the Human Rights statue in order to not stay silent but to be the voice of Azize’s scream” and invited all anti-transphobic people to Yüksel Street at 7 pm.

 

Having suicidal thoughts? Please see our list of resources: https://lgbtinewsturkey.com/2015/03/04/suicide-resources/

Hande Kader’s murder protested in Eastern Turkey

Malatya Youth Against Homophobia and Transphobia Initiative, protested the Hande Kader’s murder, the trans woman whose body was found burned in Istanbul, and said “Down with your murderous morality”

Source: “Hande Kader Cinayeti Malatya’da protesto edildi”, kaosgl.org,August 22, 2016, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=22126

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Madi Diva read the press declaration on behalf of the initiative and called for solidarity, stressing that violence and hatred against trans individuals are left with impunity, that trans suicides are murders resulting from oppression:

“Trans woman who was murdered in Antep, Dora in İzmir, Şeker Buse and Hande Kader in Istanbul were murdered only because of their gender identities. Down with your morality that slaughters us just because of our gender identity, our diversity and colors.”

We want this mentality to be eradicated!

“A trans man called Utku committed suicide this past July. Utku wasn’t the last trans person to commit suicide, there were Eylül Cansın, Okyanus Efe, Figen and many others before him… Trans suicides are murders that are carried out based on societal and family pressure. Therefore we repeatedly stress that trans suicides are political as well.”

“The male mentality does not only kill us, but reproduce itself on a daily basis with its policies of rape, harassment and violence. The mentality that raped a 9 month old baby girl who lived in a refugee camp recently, was the same in the case of Hande Kader, Madımak and Suruç. We call on all women, others and the oppressed to stand with us to eradicate this mentality.”