The mother of Eylül Cansın- a trans woman who committed suicide- told the story of her daughter’s 23 years, from her childhood to her death.
Source: Michelle Demishevic, “’Kadıköy trans çetesi kızım Eylül Cansın’ı pazarladı, uyuşturucuya zorladı, işkence yaptı!”, (“The Kadıköy trans gang sold my daughter Eylül Cansın, forced her to do drugs, tortured her!”), T24, 19 January 2015, http://t24.com.tr/haber/kadikoy-trans-cetesi-kizim-eylul-cansini-pazarladi-uyusturucuya-zorladi-iskence-yapti,284174
23-year-old trans woman Eylül Cansın jumped off of the Bosphorus Bridge on January 4, 2015 at around 03:30 a.m. As her deceased body was found near the Ortaköy shore, the video she had recorded before jumping off circulated on social media after being published on T24. “Today is my best day. I am very happy but today will be another better day for me. Thank you all,” she said at the beginning of her video continuing:
“I couldn’t because people didn’t let me. I couldn’t work, I wanted to do things but I couldn’t. You get me? They impeded with me many times; they made me suffer a lot. I leave everyone alone with God and now I’m going to the Bosphorus Bridge.”
In spite of Cansın saying so in her video, her mother says that this is not a suicide. Cansın’s mother, Mrs. Bala, to whom Cansın calls out to in the video saying, “Mom, all I want is, I have a little dog at home, I leave him to you. He never pees, never poops at home. Always say to him ‘he is my child’, never get angry with him,” asks this question:
“My daughter didn’t commit suicide. She was urged to commit suicide by trans gangs. They found the location of my child that night and they threatened her. Wouldn’t a child, who is worried about her dog while she is walking to death, get worried about her mom?”
Mrs. Nurcan Zengin Bala, who claims that there is a trans gang in Kadıköy that dragged her daughter to death, gave the names of the people she claims to be members of this gang to T24. Mrs. Bala talked about Cansın’s childhood, the neighbourhood-social pressure she experienced in her business and social life, what she experienced by being trans and what happened on the day she died, besides the tortures of the trans gang against Eylül.
Mrs. Bala, 43, lives in Tekirdağ with her husband and didn’t forget the police, who made their presence in Cansın’s story sometimes with their violence, sometimes with their indifference, but always with their discriminatory stances.
Here you will read about Eylül Cansın, forced to give up her life at the age of 23 leaving only her dog behind.
“She did not say anything till the age of 18”
“Eylül was a very gentle child. She asked permission even to drink water. She was a distinguished child. When she was in school, her teacher said, “this child is very kind.” In school, she crossed her legs, put her hand to her head, thought and thought, never listened to the lesson. Her teacher said, “She thinks as if she is a grown-up.” My child never played with the boys. I even removed her from school thinking that she wasn’t ready yet when she was in first grade. She continued school the next year. She always played with dolls. She wore my clothes. We couldn’t understand that she was a trans child. She didn’t say anything to me till she was 18. She went to the Şişli High School and then she worked as the assistant of a vet. She always had a special interest in animals. She always had pets: a rabbit, a cat, a dog, a bird, a fish, a hamster, a turtle…”
“Eylül would grow her hair and I’d make her cut it”
Mrs. Bala talked about what kind of challenges Eylül experienced in her working life due to her gender identity:
“Eylül always left the places where she worked. People’s gazes and gossip created an unseen pressure on her. After her work at the vet, I found a job for my child in a textile mill, but people didn’t allow her to work there either. Unseen pressure and violence didn’t leave my child at ease and she had to leave this job as well. She grew her hair and I insistently took her to the hairdresser and made her cut it. As I asked her about this difference in her, she said she was an intellectual and added, “Cemil İpekçi is also like this.” Sometimes she made me watch films with LGBTI themes. While watching the films, Eylül always cried.”
“My second husband beat me and Eylül every day”
Mrs. Nurcan Zengin Bala told about Eylül’s relationship with her father:
“Eylül’s father died of a heart attack when she was 4. Later, I got married for the second time. We suffered a lot because of my second husband. He would beat me and my daughter everyday. We were always exposed to his violence. I couldn’t endure the violence more and had to divorce.
“A psychologist said that this stems from the genes”
Upon asking the question, “When did you realize her gender identity first? Did she open up to you?” Mrs. Nurcan Zengin Bala said:
“Eylül told me when she turned 18. ‘Mom, I always made you watch films but you never understood me’ she said. She also said ‘Accept me like this or else I will leave home.’ I called her aunt and asked for her help. Her aunt came and we took Eylül to a psychologist in Şişli Pangaltı. The psychologist said that this situation stems from the genes, Eylül is well aware of it and we are very lucky in this respect. Even the psychologist said, ‘I have many clients but I have never seen one as conscious as Eylül before.’ ”
“We took out a 5,000 TL loan, got breast implants”
Mrs. Nurcan Zengin Bala explained how their lives progressed afterwards:
“They wouldn’t allow my daughter to work. Wherever she went, she had to quit after two days. That’s why I worked. She stayed at home. I was bringing her food and anything she needed from outside. Sometimes Eylül would go to the market during the day and the boys of the neighbourhood would chase her and swear at her. We used to live in Okmeydanı at that time. Eventually, Eylül made some friends like herself via the Internet. She sneaked out at night after I slept. I would run after her, call out to her but she would go anyway. She wasn’t a baby anymore and I couldn’t lock her in. Then she met a trans woman called Sıla. Sıla lived in Kadıköy; she was the first one to mislead my child. One day I took my child and talked with her face to face. I told her that it wouldn’t work like this. It was time for her transition. Her aunt took out a 5,000 TL loan from the bank and we got her breast implants. I was working and my daughter was staying at home.”
“She said she stayed home hungry for days because people in the neighborhood were uncomfortable”
“One day she said ‘I’ll move to Sıla’s’ and left. She even said that she would pay Sıla five hundred liras as rent. But my daughter came back home within a week. She had experienced negative events at Sıla’s. They had stolen her money from her purse, they even had thrown her wallet into a fish tank. She said ‘Mom, it didn’t work, I couldn’t make it.’ How could I have known that those like Sıla are mongers of things of this sort! I had never been among them before, so I didn’t know how things worked. So, I told my daughter to find a place where she could live. I had some savings, I told her that I would build her a new home from scratch for her to live alone. We rented an apartment in Şişli, on the street where the old courthouse is. I bought her a truck full of furniture. I had furnished her home with brand new furniture, like a dowry. But still, I was telling her ‘Look my love, if you regret it, you can come back home.’ My daughter called me after a small amount of time, the inhabitants of the building had complaints. Police had come to her place one night and they were very rough with her. In fact, she had a dog at home, and the police became even angrier when the dog barked. Eylül said to me, ‘The policeman was about to take his gun and shoot the dog, mom!’ She had no money and wasn’t leaving her place out of fear, she told me that she, as well as the dog, had stayed home hungry for days. And she couldn’t tell me out of shame. So I said to my daughter late at night ‘Take a cab and come back home.’ We didn’t take a single thing from that apartment, we just left the place. This was only because people in the neighborhood were uncomfortable with my daughter.”
“People in the neighborhood said ‘Maybe the transvestite’s mother is like that too”
“My child came back to me. She wouldn’t go out, her friends would come to our place. People in the neighborhood were uncomfortable and they went complaining to the governor of the neighborhood. They said my daughter set a bad example for the kids in the neighborhood. The landlord came and told me that I can live there only if I live alone, otherwise I would have to move out. So I took my daughter with me and moved from that neighborhood. The pressure of the neighborhood was increasing each day and we could feel it. In the new neighborhood that we moved to, we started experiencing a pressure and violence which was about me. The things we heard about what people were saying upset us. People said ‘Maybe the transvestite’s mother is like that too.” So I moved back to my old place in Okmeydanı.
“They undressed me and beat me up”
“My landlord had accepted to rent the place back to me without Eylül. After some time, Eylül called me and she said ‘Mom, I’m moving to Kadıköy, I met a very good person.’ Now, this ‘very good person’ is Yankı Bayramoğlu [2014 Trans Beauty Queen]. Yankı Bayramoğlu told her that she was to settle in Canada and leave her apartment to my daughter in exchange for 6,500 TL. This happened approximately two years before Eylül’s suicide. I told my daughter not to trust anyone and that she would have problems again. Eylül was persistently telling me that Yankı was a very good person. Yankı had taken 4,000 TL upfront from my daughter and had told her to pay the rest later. Around two months passed and my daughter called me crying. ‘Mom, Yankı and her friends undressed me, burned all my clothes, they beat me up and didn’t give my money back’ she said. I used to sew all her clothes with my hands at the textile studio that I worked at. ‘You know what mom’ she said ‘I don’t care about any of them but they even burnt the clothes that you made, that makes me very sad’.”
“The Kadıköy trans gang sold my daughter, forced her to use drugs and beat her up!’
To the question whether Eylül went back home after all that she experienced, Nurcan Zengin Bala said:
“No, she didn’t come back. Once again, she had met somebody in Kadıköy. She said ‘Mom, I met a very good person, I pay 50 TL and stay at her place.’ She didn’t tell me ‘They make me work’… She didn’t tell me that she fell into the middle of this network… Aşkın Güldiken and the Kadıköy trans gang. I went to see the place where my daughter lived. I wanted to see with my eyes how the place was. I went there and saw so many trans women. That was the first time I ever saw so many trans women together. I thought the place was some kind of a hostel. Aşkın Güldiken came next to me when she saw me and said ‘Mama, don’t worry, your child is very comfortable here, you keep your mind at ease.’ How could I have known that they sold my daughter and dragged her into the dangerous world of drugs! Eylül left that place after a short while too, she rented an apartment for herself in Bostancı. A woman named Reyhan who was working as a maid for Aşkın Güldiken had helped my daughter. One day Ms. Reyhan told me everything that my daughter had been through at Aşkın Güldiken’s place. She told me that they forced my daughter into prostitution, to smoke weed and that they even beat her up. I asked Eylül about what happened, ‘Mom, I didn’t tell you because I didn’t want you to feel sad’ she said. ‘I didn’t listen to your words and these things happened to me. I was ashamed, I couldn’t tell you mom’ she said. After staying in her new apartment in Bostancı for a couple of days, I went back home to Tekirdağ.
Who are the trans gang members?
Nurcan Zengin Bala answered the question “Did the problems that Eylül suffered from continue after moving into a new place?” with the following statement:
“Yes, they did, and the intensity of the violence gradually increased. About two months prior to her suicide, Aşkın Güldiken had said to my daughter ‘If you want to live in Kadıköy, you will pay half of your daily gains to me.’ And my daughter paid them for some time out of fear but then she refused to pay and said ‘I won’t give you any money anymore.’ Aşkın Güldiken, Duygu Buket, Kumsal Sönmez and Elçin Canözü undressed my daughter in the middle of Bağdat Street and beat her up with an electroshock weapon and table legs and chair legs for minutes. They took her to a parking lot close to where they live and were going to kill her. A young man who was passing by saw this and ran to help my daughter. That mysterious hero saved my daughter from death. As soon as she recovered, she called me and sent me the names and phone numbers of those who wanted to kill her via WhatsApp. And I called them. Kumsal Sönmez answered the phone and she threatened me, swore at me. She even hung up the phone saying ‘Come and join us, we will make you such and such.’ I immediately left Tekirdağ and came to Istanbul. The picture I saw as I entered my daughter’s place was horrifying. She was barely alive. She had wounds all over. She had bruises on every part of her body.”
“Of course I told my daughter that we should immediately go to the police station to file a complaint. But my daughter could barely move. So I said to myself that she would be a little better the following day and we would go then. That evening, Ms. Reyhan who worked as a maid at Aşkın Güldiken’s place came over to us. She brought us a message from the trans gang. Aşkın Güldiken threatened us via Ms. Reyhan as her messenger, saying that ‘it would be bad for us if we were to file a complaint.’ I said ‘On one condition, I will forgo complaining, only if they promise to leave my daughter alone.’ At that moment Elçin Canözü called me and said ‘I have all Eylül’s things, come and get them.’ So during the day, I went there. Eylül was better so she came with me too.”
“They harassed us in the police car and the police did not intervene”
“They didn’t let us in and told us to go to the Görgülü Patisserie and wait for them. ‘Why would I go to a patisserie now, give me my daughter’s belongings’ I complained. Just then Aşkın Güldiken called Eylül and said to her ‘Take that whore of a mother of yours and go to Tokat.’ My daughter replied harshly, saying ‘You make money off of us’ and we hailed a cab to go to the police office. The police said to us ‘The incident happened last night, we cannot handle this. Go to the spot where the incident took place and call 155 [police emergency number].’”
“After a total of three phone calls the police came to the scene. They were the same policemen who came when the incident had taken place. They said ‘You didn’t file a complaint we first asked you, you can’t file it now. It has been one day since it took place’. Eylül then took off her clothes and showed them the wounds and bruises on her body. She shouted ‘I have a complaint, you will take all of these people! What is it, do you expect me to die in order to go ahead with the procedure!” At that moment, Kutsal Sönmez came out from Aşkın’s place, she was angry. By then, we had gotten into the police car, despite the policemen’s presence, she harassed us in the car and the police did not intervene. What do you expect the police said at this point: ‘These people are very many and dangerous, we can’t handle them. You take a cab from here, go to the police office.’ Eylül then said to the police ‘They may block our way if we take a cab, what if they kill us?’ Upon this, the policeman started shouting at us. In fact, one of the policemen said to me ‘I indeed know you too from the streets.’ Eylül then got angry and shouted at the policeman. Then the police took my ID and put it in the screener to get information, so they left the criminals alone to deal with us instead.”
“The police said ‘Whatever the tree is, the fruit will be’”
One way or another, we arrived at the police station. Kadıköy Pier Police Station, one of the officers took me to a corner and said ‘I will tell you one thing.’ He said, ‘Have you ever seen a cherry under a walnut tree, or a walnut under a cherry tree? Whatever the tree is, the fruit will be.’ I did not say a word. I was paralyzed. I couldn’t tell if I should deal with the gang or the police.”
“There was no reference to violence, battery, or extortion in the report!”
“At that point, the police started writing the report and told us we should go to the hospital in order to get a forensic medical report. They told us to get there by our own means. In the meantime, Aşkın Güldiken and her people were waiting for us in front of the police station. Elçin Canözü came to speak to us, trying to persuade us not to file a complaint. The police prepared a report in which there was no reference to violence, battery or extortion. At that moment, a policeman told Eylül that it would not be good at all for her if she were to file a complaint. Eylül then told them that she would not forgo the complaint and that she wanted to go the hospital accompanied by the police. One of the policemen walked towards us shouting ‘Do you think you are talking to your father’s donkey?’ The police got angry and didn’t hand us the report. And we couldn’t go to the hospital. Later that evening, once their shift was over, we went to the Haydarpaşa Numune Hospital accompanied by a different group of policemen and took the forensic medical report. We left the police station late at night. We returned home in fear. I was constantly looking outside the vehicle, in fear, in order to see if the gang was following us.”
“A person intending to commit suicide would not buy fresh bread the very same day”
Bala recounted the events that Eylül Cansın encountered on the day of her death:
“My daughter Eylül Cansın called me around noon the day she commit suicide. ‘What are you up to, my love’ I asked her. ‘I am walking Şila [her dog]’ she replied. I asked her ‘Did you have breakfast?’ We just had some casual conversation. In the afternoon, she called me again. She loved watching series. She asked me which series was on that night. She really liked watching War of the Roses, In Pieces, Vengeance of the Snakes and This Is My Style. She even watched reruns of This Is My Style. That night, on the phone she said to me ‘Mommy, only a little time to wait. I will have the surgery and then I will receive my father’s pension and we will benefit from other social rights related to that too.’
She even asked me ‘When are you coming to visit, mom?’ So I told her that my husband receives his salary between the 20th and 25th of every month and that I can only go see her then. Eylül then said to me ‘Mom, whenever you want to come, I’ll buy your ticket.’ She said ‘Mom, you are very precious for me. I live for you. I would never be able to pay for all that you have done for me’ on the phone. My child had dreams. She wasn’t a child who would commit suicide. And she didn’t go out to commit suicide that night. A person intending to commit suicide wouldn’t buy fresh bread the very same day.”
Nurcan Zengin Bala reported that on the day Eylül Cansın committed suicide, she came to Istanbul after hearing from friends and family. Bala said “They told me that my sister wasn’t well and that she had been hospitalized. When I came to the hospital in Istanbul, I learned that my daughter had passed away.”
“If I were to live a second time around, I would choose Eylül again!”
Nurcan Zengin Bala ended her thoughts with the following:
“The gender of a child doesn’t matter. A child is a child. If I were to come to this world a second time around, I would choose Eylül again. I was never ashamed of my daughter. I always held her hand wherever she went. People outside would look strangely at us. I never cared about those people. I never regretted giving birth to my daughter. My daughter loved me very much. She used to kiss me on the lips. Eylül was the only thing that kept me alive. I was living for Eylül. She wouldn’t leave me alone and go like this. We have suffered through a lot of things. My daughter did not commit suicide. She was dragged into suicide by the trans gang. They found my daughter’s location that night and they threatened her. She is a child who thinks about her dog on the way to her death, is it even possible for her not to think about her mother? Would she leave me alone in this life? My child had dreams. I was always a part of her dreams. She always dreamt about me. She would always say ‘I will buy you a beautiful house mom, we will have great days’.”
When asked whether she would take this case to the court, she replied “We started the legal procedure. Eren Keskin, attorney at law is representing the case via the LGBTI Association of Istanbul.”
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.