Source: Yıldız Tar, “Trans activist Figen yaşamına son verdi”, (“Trans activist Figen commits suicide”), Kaos GL, August 24, 2014, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=17381.
Trans activist had been tortured by the police on a Mersin street in the recent past.
Trans activist Figen, a member of the Mersin 7 Renk [“7 Colors”] LGBT group and formerly on the board of directors of Pembe Hayat, committed suicide today (August 24th) evening by drowning herself in the sea off Mersin.
Trans women, routinely subjected to transphobic violence by both the Turkish police and local gangs, are trying to survive under harsh conditions. A recent escalation in transphobic attacks is destroying their living spaces.
Torture in the middle of the street!
As reported by the media, Figen and other trans women had been tortured in public by the police on July 22. Seated at a bus stop, the women were approached by a group of police officers who yelling, “Get the hell out of here. You are disturbing people in the vicinity”, attacked them with batons and tear gas. They were then taken to the police station by force.
Not only did the police not process them at the station, but their request to file a complaint was also denied. Both Mersin 7 Renk and Pembe Hayat called the police station following the attack. The police lied in order to cover up the event, saying, “There is no report of such an incident. How did you come up with this stuff?”
At the time, Figen was dealing not only with police abuse but also with the loss of her older brother in the Soma mine massacre. She was unable to attend her brother’s funeral due to family pressure.
LGBTI organizations will claim the remains
Officials from Mersin 7 Renk, Pembe Hayat, and Kaos GL are trying to reach her family in order for them to claim the remains. Evren Çakmak from Kaos GL, and Buse Kılıçkaya and Gani Met from Pembe Hayat have arrived in Mersin to claim the remains, in case the family fails to do so themselves.
Chanting “Murderous State” will work only to relieve ourselves
Umut Güner from the Kaos GL provided the following assessment regarding LGBTI suicides:
“It is not just the violence, but the very heterosexist culture and its social structure that renders life unlivable. There is no truth to claims such as ‘I am not homophobic, I am not transphobic!’ Even LGBTIs can be homophobic and transphobic. Projects such as awareness raising campaigns are no longer enough. We have to organize for and build alternative living networks. The ‘Murderous State’ chants will work only to relieve ourselves. I cannot say ‘rest in peace’ to Figen. I witnessed what she lived through over the past two years. She did not live in peace, how is she to rest in peace?”
Having suicidal thoughts? Please, please stop long enough to read this. It will only take about five minutes: http://www.metanoia.org/suicide/
To the best of our knowledge, the online and IRL resources below will provide you with a safe and non-judgmental space.
Table of Contents
IRC / Chatlines
- The Trevor Project Chatline, available 7 days a week (3pm-9pm ET / 12pm-6pm PT).
- Freenode.net chatroom/channels: #transspace
- National Suicide Prevention Chatline, 24/7.
- GLBT National Chatline, available 6 days a week (monday-friday 1pm-9pm PT / 4pm-midnight ET; saturday 9am-2pm PT / noon-5pm ET).
- Lifeline Crisis Chat, available 7 days a week (2pm-2am ET).
- RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline, 24/7.
Communities / Forums / Safe Spaces
- FAQs about crisis hotlines – via Reddit
- The Trevor Project, USA, 24/7: 1-866-488-7386
- Trans Lifeline, Canada: 1-877-330-6366; USA: 1-877-565-8860 (schedule)
- List / index of crisis centers around the world: via Reddit; via International Association for Suicide Prevention; via Befrienders Worldwide
- The Trevor Project, USA, Fridays (4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. ET / 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. PT): Text the word “Trevor” to 1-202-304-1200. Standard text messaging rates apply.