Crisis at the Hammam

Source: Can Mumay, “Hamamda Kriz,” (“Crisis at the Hammam,”), Hürriyet, 8 January 2014,  http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/ekonomi/25517449.asp

Following the event when transsexual Ebru Kırancı was not allowed to go into the Galatasaray Hammam (bathhouse in Istanbul), a demonstration in front of the hammam drew attention to the venue. The venue owner Can Cenik says that the bathhouse clients are disturbed by transsexuals and that is why they do not allow them to enter the hammam.

A transsexual named Ebru Kırancı (53) went to the historical Galatasaray Hammam in Istanbul on the evening of 26 December about 6:30 PM.

Kırancı went to the hammam, which is open until 9 PM, with her German girlfriend, showed her pink identification card and proceeded towards the women’s side. However, the hammam personnel told them that they could not have a bath because there was a tourist group inside. But Kırancı said that other people were let in despite the tourist group and she went to the men’s side of the hammam and said that she wanted to talk with the supervisor.

Ebru Kırancı continues to tell what happened: “Then the supervisor in the men’s side said: “You have your own hammams, go there. I will not let you in. I’m using my initiative.” Kırancı said that there was no assault against them, as was written in some of the news stories and stated that she had experienced a similar incident in the Gönen baths before.

Kıran stated that they returned to Galatasaray Hammam a few days later and said, “We were welcomed by someone who claimed to be the owner of the hammam. And he apologized for the incident.”

There Is No Discrimination

The chairman of the Istanbul Hammam Owners and Employees Chamber of Artisans Ali Yılmaz stated that he talked with the Galatasaray Hammam about the incident and that there is no discrimination in the incident; it happened just because there was a tourist group. Yılmaz also said, “There is no discrimination in the incident; transsexuals also go to hospitals and other places. I am the chairman of the chamber and I did not encounter this kind of incident.”

We Do Not Accept Trans People

The Manager of the Galatasaray Hammam Can Cenik talked about the issue and said that they do not accept transsexuals for the sake of customer satisfaction. Cenik also said, “We had some problems with transsexuals before; our customers made complaints. Because of this we do not want to let transsexuals into the hammam. We also state this with polite language. Some of them thank us for our style of language.” He also said that they are respectful of the preferences of transsexuals [regarding their gender choices]. Cenik stated that 3-4 days after the incident a transsexual group smashed things up in the avenue. Evaluating the incident, Cenik said, “That day there were 18 reservations so we could not let them in, and the employees here explained this to the lady. However, she apparently distorted the matter. Due to her own issues, she misunderstood and assumed that she was not let in because of her gender.”

Cenik stated that they explained the situation to Kırancı in a polite way but that the employees working on the day of the incident could only manage to do this semi successfully.

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