LGBTI Health

Health issues for LGBTI in Turkey

The constitutional court’s changes to Article 40 are now in effect

The Constitutional Court annulled a clause in the Turkish Civil Code’s Article 40 stating the requirement of “to be permanently deprived of the ability to reproduce” on Nov. 29, 2017. The decision is now in effect with its publication in the Official Gazette on March 20.

Source: Pembe Hayat, “AYM’nin Madde 40’taki Değişikliği Yürürlüğe Girdi”, 20 March 2018, http://www.pembehayat.org/haberler.php?id=1681

A trans man launched a case in 2014 at the Ankara 4th Court of First Instance for a name change as well as his gender transition process. He requested that the court investigate the Turkish Civil Code Article 40’s “mandatory sterilization” as being unconstitutional, that this surgery was not successfully performed in Turkish state hospitals and successful experts charged exorbitant amounts, that there was lasting irreversible damage after the operation affecting bodily integrity.

The Constitutional Court committee examined the file and annulled the requirement “to be permanently deprived of the ability to reproduce” from the Turkish Civil Code’s Article 40 on Nov. 29, 2017.

That change has been put into effect as of March 20.

No requirement for infertility anymore

The annulment of Article 40’s Clause 1 stating “to be permanently deprived of the ability to reproduce” means sterilization will not be required in gender transition operations. However, Article 40’s Clause 2 stating “the court will rule for the necessary changes in the population registry after an official health council confirms that the gender change surgery was conducted” remains in the law after the push for its annulment was rejected on Nov. 29.

“The effect of this annulment may be joint indemnity cases.”

Attorney Sinem Hun said she finds the decision to be positive and told Pink Life:

Though we don’t yet know the reason for the annulment, it may be a reflection of European Court of Human Rights A.P., Nicot and Garcon decision. The effect of this annulment may be joint indemnity cases as we have also seen in Sweden. Injured parties and associations may consider action as this practice lasted between 2002 and 2017. Of course the legal techniques should be evaluated and I reserve comments on the issue of techniques for now.

“This article was contrary to the Constitution’s Articles 17 and 20”

Pink Life’s lawyer Emrah Sahin said this incommensurable condition will no longer be sought in gender transition and added:

We see this decision as positive because this clause was contrary to the Constitution’s Articles 17 and 20. This decision also reveals that. With the annulment of this clause, the state will no longer seek “permanently deprived of the ability to reproduce” in gender transition.

Turkish Civil Code’s Article 40

Turkish Civil Code’s Article 40 regulates the “procedure” on “gender change.” The changed article is:

A person wanting to change their gender may apply to a court in person to request the allowance of gender change. However, in order to be allowed [to do so], the person needs to have passed the age of 18 and be unmarried, and document, via an official health council report from an education and research hospital, that they are of transsexual disposition, that it’s necessary to undergo gender change for their psychological health. The court will rule for the necessary changes in the population registry if an official health council confirms that the gender change surgery was conducted in line with the goal and medical procedures dependent on the granted permission.

 

 

 

LGBTI activist Kıvılcım Arat joins Diren Coskun’s death fast

Trans woman Diren Coşkun, incarcerated in Tekirdağ No.2 Prison, has been on a hunger strike for 13 days, asking for an end to rights violations in detention and for her right to surgery and treatment. Her friend Kıvılcım Arat, too, has announced her own hunger strike to help Coşkun’s voice be heard and to support her right to treatment.

This article was compiled from: ”Diren Coşkun 13 gündür ölüm orucunda, Kıvılcım Arat da aynı eyleme başladı”, Gazete Karınca, February 6, 2018, http://gazetekarinca.com/2018/02/diren-coskun-13-gundur-olum-orucunda-kivilcim-arat-da-ayni-eyleme-basladi/

Keskesor activist Diren Coskun, who was arrested in August 2017, has completed the 13th day of her hunger strike in Tekirdağ No.2 Prison.

Istanbul LGBTI Solidarity Association Board Member and spokesperson for Democratic Women Movement Kıvılcım Arat had announced that trans woman Coşkun has started a hunger strike against the prevention of her right to surgery and treatment, and the rights violations occurring in prison. Coşkun had declared her protest as follows:

“I’ve been subjected to many humiliating practices here. I lay my body to die, to gain my right to surgery and treatment, and to have this severe isolation abolished. I hereby declare to democratic public opinion that I have started a hunger strike as of January 25.”

As Coşkun’s death fast continues, Kıvılcım Arat announced that she has “started a death fast in order to reinforce Diren Coşkun’s voice and to make her demand for treatment heard”.

Kıvılcım Arat tweeted on February 6:

“In spite of our best efforts, we were not able to draw attention to Diren’s demand for access to treatment. Her trans identity cast a shadow over her protest and rendered it invisible. As of February 6 00:00, I have started a fast in order to reinforce Diren Coşkun’s voice and to make her demand for treatment heard.”

Arat stated that she will continue the fast until Diren Coşkun’s demands are met. Arat has criticized the LGBTI community for its lack of interest in Coşkun’s current situation and has emphasized that the oppression and violence against trans individuals remains invisible.

Anadolu: Turkish court annuls infertility requirement for gender change

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency reports the Constitutional Court ruled to annul a stipulation in the Turkish Civil Code “to be deprived of the ability to reproduce” to allow gender change. This is verbatim translation like all our translations.

Source: Aylin Sırıklı Dal, “Cinsiyet değiştirmede ‘üreme yeteneğinden yoksun olma’ şartı kalktı,” Anadolu Ajansı, Nov. 30, 2017, http://aa.com.tr/tr/turkiye/cinsiyet-degistirmede-ureme-yeteneginden-yoksun-olma-sarti-kalkti/985974

The Constitutional Court decided to annul the legal requirement “to be deprived of the ability to reproduce” to allow gender change.

According to information gathered by Anadolu Agency correspondent, a homosexual opened a case in the Ankara 4th Court of First Instance after being unable to change their identity card due to not having had gender change surgery.

The court petition asked the court to evaluate the claim that the Turkish Civil Code’s Article 40/2 mandating the requirement of gender change surgery to change one’s identity card violated the constitution.

Ankara 4th Court of First Instance found the petition to be serious and took the file to the Constitutional Court.

The General Council of the Constitutional Court discussed the basis of the petition at its meeting. The Council rejected the annulment Turkish Civil Code’s Article 40/2 with a majority of votes stating “the court can make the necessary changes in the population registry after an official health institution confirms the gender change surgery was realized.”  

Annulment of requirement to be deprived of reproduction ability

Another petition on this subject was made by the Edirne 1st Court of First Instance. The court applied to the Constitutional Court to annul the statement “….and to be permanently deprived of the ability to reproduce…” in the second sentence of Turkish Civil Code’s Article 40/1.  

The General Council of the Constitutional Court discussed the basis of the petition and made its decision.

The High Court found the requirement “to be permanently deprived of the ability to reproduce” to allow gender change to be contrary to the Constitution and annulled it with a majority of votes.

The first paragraph of the law used to state, “A person wanting to change their gender may apply to a court in person to request the allowance of gender change. However, in order to be allowed, the person needs to have passed the age of 18 and be unmarried, and document through an official health council’s report from an education and research hospital that they are of transsexual constitution, that it’s necessary to undergo gender change for their psychological health and be permanently deprived of the ability to reproduce.”

 

Kaos GL: LGBTI billboards on the streets of Cyprus once more!

LGBTI awareness billboards are once more on the streets of North Cyprus after the attacks of last year!

kuirkibrispanolar.jpg

Source: Kaos GL, “Kıbrıs’ta bir kez daha LGBTİ billboardları sokakta!” http://www.kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=24490 September 1, 2017

The LGBTI awareness billboard campaign we launched last year in North Cyprus was attacked. Kuir Kıbrıs (Queer Cyprus) Association filled the streets once more this year with billboards for equality and freedom in spite of the attacks.

The new billboard campaign prepared within the scope of “Unspoken Project” (“Konuşulmayan Projesi”) was launched in order to call attention to the need for everyone to live as a human, without being othered or discriminated against based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

The billboards bear explanations of sexual orientation and gender identities such as “lesbian”, “gay”, “heterosexual”, “transsexual” and “intersex”.

Transformation of prejudices such as homophobia, biphobia, transphobia is among the objectives of the campaign.

Attacks against last year’s campaign

Last year in November,  billboards which read “Brother Kamil, I’m lesbian” and “Auntie Mediha, I’m gay” were placed around Girne, Mağusa, Lefkoşa, İskele, Lefke ve Karpaz. However, the LGBTI awareness billboards  in the cities in North Cyprus were first attacked and then taken down by the municipality.

What’s the Unspoken/Konuşulamayan Project?

“Unspoken: Creating Dialogue on LGBTI Rights in the Turkish Cypriot Community” (“Konuşulmayan: Kıbrıs Türk Toplumunda LGBTİ Haklarıyla İlgili Diyaloğu Güçlendirmek Projesi”) aims to increase awareness of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex people in key sectors such as media, education, law and health; in order to struggle against the discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender, to create social change and [improve] public opinion and to ameliorate media representation in Turkish Cypriot communities.

Kuir Kıbrıs Association is a civil society movement conducting work struggling against discrimination agaınst sexuality, sexual expression, sexual orientation and gender identity. Kuir Kıbrıs actively works to support LGBTI rights in various fields such as law, education and psychology.

Trans woman commits suicide in Turkey

Azize Ömrüm, a sex worker who lived in İzmir, committed suicide due to not being able to stand social pressure. One of Azize Ömrüm’s closes friends, trans activist Öykü Ay said, “We are all responsible for this suicide.”

Source: “Trans Kadın İntihar Etti”, pembehayat.org, 22 August 2016, http://pembehayat.org/haberler.php?id=1210

azizeomrum

After the suicide of Azize Ömrüm, a sex worker trans woman, Öykü Ay was quoted as saying “Azize was different from all of us. She only loved once, but her lover’s parents broke them up. Azize could not stand that her lover got married by force with another person. She told her love to all of us. She was telling this so frequently, we could not understand her strong feelings. Then she found her solution by isolating herself.”

Ay also mentioned that Azize wanted to be a chef and not a sex worker. Ay stated “She used to cook very well. The only person whose bed she wanted to get in was that of her lover. But she had to be a sex worker because of her life condition. The system did not let her  work in another job. She could not handle the burden and was lonesome” and mentioned that the whole of society is responsible for Azize’s suicide, including her friends.  

As Pembe Hayat, we all offer our condolences to everyone in the trans community.

Protest for Azize in Ankara!

After Azize’s suicide, High School LGBTI in Ankara invited everyone to gather against transphobia. High School LGBTI stated “We are gathering in front of the Human Rights statue in order to not stay silent but to be the voice of Azize’s scream” and invited all anti-transphobic people to Yüksel Street at 7 pm.

 

Having suicidal thoughts? Please see our list of resources: https://lgbtinewsturkey.com/2015/03/04/suicide-resources/

Court Sentences Trans Woman who was Denied Access to Health Care

The trans woman, who was refused to be examined by a gynaecologist who told her “You are a man, I do not condone your situation”, has been sentenced to one year and two months of prison.

Source: “Doktor Muayene Etmedi, Üstüne Mahkeme Ceza Verdi”, (“Doctor Who Didn’t Examine Trans Woman, Court Punished Trans Woman”), bianet, 8 December 2015, http://bianet.org/bianet/saglik/169985-mahkeme-saglik-hakki-engellenen-trans-kadina-ceza-verdi

Trans woman H.Ç. has been sentenced to one year and two months in prison after gynaecologist F.H. refused to treat her because of her transsexuality and then filed a lawsuit claiming insult against her. The Ninth Istanbul Criminal Court of First Instance decided to delay the punishment.

H.Ç.’s application to the prosecutor’s office regarding the gynaecologist who refused to examine her was rejected because the governorate did not allow an investigation.

She said “you are a man” and did not examine trans woman

Last year, H.Ç. received her gender reassignment surgery in a private hospital and went to the General Surgery Department of Reşat Belger Göz Eğitim Araştırma Hastanesi (Eyesight Training and Research Hospital) in Beyoğlu, Istanbul on 31 March 2014 to get a prescription.

According to H.Ç., General Surgery directed her to the Maternity Ward Service. However, F.H. who worked in that service said, “It is not my specialty, I will not do the examination. You are a man, I do not condone your situation” and refused to examine H.Ç. H.Ç. told her that she’ll file a complaint against her and the doctor F.H. said, “Go complain wherever you want.”

H.Ç. went to the chief physician with her lawyer and filed a complaint. Dr. F.H. made a criminal complaint against H.Ç. for the claim of insult.

On 15 September, H.Ç. filed a complaint against the doctor for “discrimination, insult, preventing access to the right to medical treatment and negligence in medicine.” The governorate did not allow the investigation after the complaint.

Social Policies, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association (SPoD LGBTI) lawyer Rozerin Seda Kip objected to the governorate’s decision but her objection was denied by a majority of votes at the Istanbul Regional Administration Court.  

More on this case:

https://lgbtinewsturkey.com/2014/10/10/dr-fatma-hut/

https://lgbtinewsturkey.com/2014/10/10/dr-fatma-hut-update/

Summary Results of the Social and Economic Problems of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual (LGBT) Individuals in Turkey Research

Source: Yılmaz, V. and Göçmen, İ. (June, 2015), “Summary Results of the Social and Economic Problems of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual (LGBT) Individuals in Turkey Research”, Vol. IV, Issue 6, pp.97-105, Centre for Policy and Research on Turkey (ResearchTurkey), London, Research Turkey. (http://researchturkey.org/?p=9142)

Abstract

Social and Economic Problems of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) Individuals in Turkey Research offers insight to social and economic problems that LGBT individuals face due to the discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. Results of the research report diverse forms of discrimination that LGBT individuals encounter in various domains of social policies including employment, health, education, income poverty, housing, participation in the social life, family and ageing. While reporting different forms of discrimination from the perspective of LGBT individuals, the research also demonstrates that the legal system falls short of tackling these forms of discrimination again in the eyes of LGBT individuals.

Please see the full article here: http://researchturkey.org/summary-results-of-the-social-and-economic-problems-of-lesbian-gay-bisexual-and-transsexual-lgbt-individuals-in-turkey-research/