“A First in the CHP: A Transsexual Nominee for City Council”

Source: CHP tarihinde bir ilk gerçekleşmek üzere: “CHP Osmangazi Belediye Meclis Üyesi aday adayı olan transseksüel Öykü Özen meclis üyelerinin belirlenmesi için üyelerin katılımı ile gerçekleşen seçimde aldığı oylarla kadınlar arasında ilk 3’te yer aldı,” (“A first in the history of the Republican People’s Party is about to happen: Öykü Özen, a transsexual and a nominee for membership in the Republican People’s Party Osmangazi City Council, placed in the top three among women in a vote that took place with party members in order to determine the nominees for the council,”) 13 February 2014, http://www.radikal.com.tr/politika/chp_tarihinde_bir_ilk_gerceklesmek_uzere-1176221

In Bursa, Öykü Özen, a transsexual and a nominee for membership in the Republican People’s Party’s Osmangazi City Council, ranked 10th among 50 nominees, gaining 642 votes from participating members in an election to determine members of the council.

Özen, who ranked 3rd amongst women, said, “They gave me their votes because I am proud of my gender identity and struggle against injustice. In the event that I am elected to the council, I will not tolerate any injustice.”

In Bursa, after having gender reassignment surgery with a bank loan, Özen married her love, Mehmet Özen, and she is currently the President of the Association for Cultural Development, Assistance and Protection of Transgender, Gay and Lesbian People, also known as Rainbow. In 2007, she was an independent nominee in the general elections and in the 2011 general elections she was a pre-candidate for the Republican People’s Party.

Öykü Özen, who was not elected in 2007 and who was not nominated as a candidate in 2011, is one of the nominees to become a member of the Republican People’s Party City Council in the district of Osmangazi, in the center of Bursa, in the local elections that will take place on 30 March 2014.

Last Saturday, party members held elections in order to determine the members of the Osmangazi’s City Council. 1,802 votes were cast in an election involving 50 candidates.

Öykü Özen, who gained 642 of the votes, with 77 of them counted as invalid, placed 10th.

It seems certain that she will be elected.

Öykü Özen, who is certain that she will be elected for membership in the city council after the results from the vote were confirmed by the headquarters, said:

“In the Osmangazi City Council, there are 45 members. At the moment, nine of these members are from the Republican People’s Party. We are anticipating this number to rise in the upcoming local elections. The party chose me because I own my sexual identity and I fight against injustice. If I enter the council, I promise that I will not stand for any injustice. I will not tolerate it.”

In order to be elected to the city council, Öykü Özen has been meeting one-on-one with political parties, printing and distributing flyers and preparing and showing slides that demonstrate her struggle. She says, “Right now, I am one of three women in the top ten. Our party will make sure that 33% of the council members are female. When we take this into consideration, my chances of being elected are higher. I will work even harder after the list is confirmed.”

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