LGBTI Health

Health issues for LGBTI in Turkey

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/

Suicide Resources

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.

IRC / Chatlines

Hotlines

Sexual Assault Resources

If you know of any other suicide resources where you live or work, please do let us know so that we can add them to our website. To contact us, email us at info@lgbtinewsturkey.com, or see https://lgbtinewsturkey.com/about/.

https://lgbtinewsturkey.com/2015/03/04/suicide-resources/

The European Court of Human Rights to announce verdict on Turkish gender reassignment law

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) will announce its final judgment on March 10 in the case of a trans man in Turkey who was not granted court permission needed for gender reassignment surgery.

Source: Ömer Akpınar, “AİHM trans geçiş sürecine ilişkin kararını 10 Mart’ta açıklayacak” (“ECtHR to announce verdict on Turkish gender reassignment law”), kaosGL.org, 24 February 2015, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=18827

The ECtHR will announce its final verdict on Y.Y. v Turkey case regarding Article 40* of the Turkish Civil Code on gender reassignment.

What does Article 40 require?

Article 40 of the Turkish Civil Code stipulates that a court permission must be obtained in order to undergo gender reassignment surgery. According to the article, the permission can only be given if the person is over 18 and unmarried and if the person has obtained official medical board reports to prove that the operation is psychologically needed and that the ability to reproduce is permanently lost.

Proof for being “unable to reproduce” brought a legal deadlock

The applicant who wants to be registered as male and to get permission for gender reassignment surgery applied to a Court of First Instance in 2005. The next year, he got two different psychiatric expert reports in February and April, stating that he must continue his life as a man. However, following a report in May stating that the person still has the ability to reproduce, the court ruled that the applicant does not fulfill the requirements of Article 40.

How can one fulfill Article 40’s requirements if the surgery for losing reproductive ability has not been permitted?

The Supreme Court of Appeals stated in a May 2007 verdict that the decision by the Court of First Instance is correct. It also rejected the applicant’s request for a correction in the ruling in October 2007.

Y.Y. v Turkey

The applicant took the case to the ECtHR in 2008, complaining about the content and the interpretation of the law. In the proceeding which started 2 years later, he underlined that the relevant requirement of the law can only be fulfilled by a surgery, leaving him in an inconclusive situation.

Although it was proven by medical reports that the applicant identifies as a man and his physiology does not fit his gender identity, it was not enough for the court. The applicant claims that his right to privacy, designated in Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, has been violated.

“If accepted, the case might lead to an amendment in the law”

The applicant’s lawyer, Ali Nezhet Bozlu, explained the possible outcomes of the case to kaosGL.org:

The legal impact depends on whether the ECtHR will accept the case and their justifications. If it is accepted, the Committee of the Ministers of the Council of Europe will monitor the implementation of the decision and perhaps mention the case in Turkey’s Progress Reports. This may lead to a discussion to amend the law, however, such amendments take time.

Article 40 of the Turkish Civil Code:

A person who wishes to change their gender may request permission to change their gender by applying in person to the court. However, for the permission to be granted, the applicant must be 18 years old and must be unmarried. The applicant must also be in a transsexual nature and must document the necessity to change their gender for their mental health and that they are permanently deprived of reproductive abilities through an official health committee report obtained from an education and research hospital. Depending on the permission granted, once the gender reassignment surgery fit for the aim and medical methods has been completed and verified by an official health committee report, the court decides to make the necessary changes in the population registry.

Free Health Support for Trans Guesthouse from Beşiktaş Municipality

Taking the lead, the Beşiktaş Municipality [in Istanbul] has begun offering free health service support to the Trans Guesthouse. As part of the support, trans women lodging at the guesthouse underwent a medical check-up on 30 January.

Source: Yıldız Tar, “Beşiktaş Belediyesi’nden Trans Misafirhanesi’ne ücretsiz sağlık desteği” (“Free Health Support for Trans Guesthouse from Beşiktaş Municipality”), KaosGL.org, 30 January 2015, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=18608

Additional support has come from the Beşiktaş Municipality for the Trans Guesthouse, which was opened by Istanbul LGBTI for trans women who are elderly or find themselves in difficult circumstances, and which in recent days has been expanded with the contribution of Trans Angels. [A solidarity group across Turkey] As part of the right to social service and health, the Beşiktaş Municipality began to offer free and anonymous health service to trans women lodging at the guesthouse. The first of the health screenings scheduled to be conducted periodically each month took place today. Municipal health personnel came to the guesthouse and gave the trans women medical check-ups. misafirhanesaglik Sedef Çakmak: Right to health and shelter are two key issues SPoD LGBTI activist Sedef Çakmak, one of the Beşiktaş Municipality mayoral consultants personally overseeing the health screening, made a statement about her work to KaosGL.org. Noting that as the Beşiktaş Municipality they would continue to support LGBTI people’s fight for equal citizenship, Çakmak continued her remarks as follows: “Health and shelter are one of the two most important issues for the LGBTI movement as well. In spite of the fact that Tarlabaşı is not within the borders of the Beşiktaş Municipality, the LGBTI issue inevitably encompasses all Istanbul. Since we have made progress on the way to becoming an LGBTI-friendly municipality, we will try to deliver health services to our friends who have needs in this area.” (more…)

Campaign against discrimination of LGBTI: Discriminatory Books and Practices Must Go

Numerous organizations in the fields of psychology, psychiatry, and sociology have started a major campaign against anti-LGBTI discrimination. Their first goal is to stop the sale of discriminatory books.

Source: “LGBTİ’lere ayrımcılığa karşı büyük kampanya” (“Major campaign against discrimination of LGBTI”) BirGün, 27 January 2015, http://www.birgun.net/news/view/lgbtilere-ayrimciliga-karsi-buyuk-kampanya/12683

Mental health workers have started a campaign opposing discrimination and prejudice against LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transexual, and intersex) persons. Noting that health organizations throughout the world have removed sexual orientation from classification as a disease since the 1970s, that in numerous countries legal measures have been taken to protect the rights of LGBTI persons, but that in Turkey there is a legal deficiency in this respect, the organizations have issued an appeal against books that promote discrimination. The appeal, signed by numerous associations and professional organizations such as the Association of Psychologists for Social Solidarity, the Turkish Psychologists Association, the Turkish Psychiatry Association, the Istanbul Chamber of Medicine, the Human Rights in Mental Health Initiative Association, the Psychological Consultants Association, the Trauma Studies Association, the Sociology Graduates Association, the Psychology Students Occupational Law Platform, and the Turkish Psychology Students Working Group, is as follows:

The printing and sale of books containing prejudice and discrimination in any form against LGBTI individuals and/or recommending “cures” for homosexuality/bisexuality should be halted immediately, and books of this kind found on bookstore shelves should be taken off the shelves.

In the area of mental health, all homophobic/transphobic practices and therapies which are administered under the name of “reparative therapy” or other names, which claim to “cure” homosexuality, and which, furthermore, give “patient” treatment to trans individuals, should be discontinued.

As institutions signatory to this text, we declare that we condemn these kinds of homophobic/transphobic books and practices, that we will publicly scandalise them and hold those responsible accountable, that we will take up legal action against these kinds of books and persons/institutions. We are determined to follow through with these actions. We invite all people and institutions, mental health workers, publishing houses, book stores, and schools to be aware of the situation in question and to support our campaign.