Sexual Harassment and Attack Against Trans Women at Bakırköy Women’s Prison

Sexual harassment and attacks against LGBTI activists visiting Bakırköy Women’s Prison continue.

Source:“Bakırköy Kadın Kapalı Cezaevinde Translara Cinsel Taciz ve Saldırı”, (“Sexual Harassment and Attack Against Trans Women at Bakırköy Women’s Prison”), Pembe Hayat, 18 July 2015, http://pembehayat.org/haberler.php?id=818

Yağmur Beyrut Afşar, an LGBTI activist who went to Bakırköy Women’s Prison to visit an inmate, was denied a security search by female guards due to her trans identity at the prison’s 2nd checkpoint. After being directed to the security line for male visitors, Afşar refused the search. Afşar argued with a male guard who harassed her by “sticking out his tongue” and left the room.

Not the first instance of hate against trans visitors

Last month, Kıvılcım Arat, the general secretary of Istanbul LGBTI Solidarity Association and an activist for the Democratic Women’s Movement, was subjected to a forced search by guards and organized harassment by soldiers.

Three-month visiting penalty

Last week, Arat visited the prison again and was told by the guards that her friend had received a three-month revocation of visiting privileges. Arat was shown a report that cited “insulting the officer on duty” as the reason of the penalty.

Ebru Kırancı: We will go to court if necessary

The president of the Istanbul LGBTI Solidarity Association Ebru Kırancı noted that the government’s prison practices are systematic: “They are trying to oppress the revolutionary women that they have incarcerated within the prison and by harassing and keeping away their visitors. Of course, we are dealing with the issue of transphobia in addition to the isolation that they impose on women. I think this is a practice to discourage trans women from visiting inmates. They hope that trans women will give up on visits because of the undignified searches and harassment carried out by male guards. Of course, they are forgetting that trans women won’t comply by pressure, brutality, or mistreatment. If these procedures were successful, the pressure from the state and society would have already changed things. We will take the transphobic attacks in prisons to court if necessary.

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