Suicide

Turkish Psychologists Association: LGBTI suicides are always a social phenomenon

LGBTI suicides are always a social phenomenon because an LGBTI individual is directly or indirectly exposed to cultural, legal, physical and social discrimination and violence throughout her/his entire life. 

Source: Turkish Psychologists Association, “LGBTİ intiharları her zaman toplumsal bir olgudur”, (“LGBTI suicides are always a social phenomenon”), TPD, 06 January 2015, http://www.psikolog.org.tr/index.php?Detail=1201

We are deeply sorry for the suicide of the trans-individual Eylül Cansın.

We give our condolences to her relatives, friends and LGBTI Movement.

LGBTI suicides are always a social phenomenon

LGBTI suicides are always a social phenomenon because an LGBTI individual is directly or indirectly exposed to cultural, legal, physical and social discrimination and violence throughout her/his entire life.

The hopelessness and desperation of an LGBTI individual is linked to the discrimination and the violence she/he Is exposed to

The hopelessness and desperation that an LGBTI individual has to face, which sometimes results in depression in clinical levels, is the consequence of the discrimination and violence that she/he is exposed to. The available research points out that being exposed to discrimination and to violation of rights and being excluded from one’s family [and support networks] lead to health impairments such as depression, anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. It also raises the risk of tendency to suicidal thoughts, weakens the immune system and delays recovery. It is our responsibility to act in solidarity with LGBTI individuals in the context of cultural, legal, physical and social discrimination and violence, and to take a stand against homophobic and transphobic attitude and acts of society.

The responsibility of the media: The media must avoid broadcasts that may encourage suicide

In this context, the media shoulders an important responsibility. First of all, we want to repeat the previous warning: suicides, especially in the form of Eylül Cansın’s which occurred on 4 January 2015, have to be treated very carefully by the media, since they can pave the way for other suicides. This is a critical issue.

It is crucial not to share and broadcast the video with the suicide note in order to prevent it from becoming widespread. A detailed description of the suicide process may trigger and can become a role model, especially for adolescents, young adults, and people who are inclined to depression and suicide. It also raises the possibility of imitation. Many studies underline this possibility. For this reason, any type of suicidal incident should not be broadcast as the headline or as breaking news and it should be broadcasted without visuals and without dramatizing the incident. In news broadcasts, detailed depictions of the method of suicide must be avoided and media outlets must not broadcast the aftermath of the suicide.

Legal, psychological and social support available to LGBTI individuals must be emphasized

The support and treatment possibilities for the depression, which underlies the behavior of suicide, as well as the effectiveness of these possibilities on saving lives must be emphasized. Wide publicity must be given to the legal, psychological and social tools that LGBTI individuals can use. This publicity must also provide information on the organizations which they can join and the psychosocial support projects that they can benefit. The contact information of these organizations and foundations must be generalized.

As the TPD [Turkish Psychologists Association] LGBTI Studies Unit, we call on the media establishments to publicize the violence and discrimination LGBTI individuals face in every fields of their life and to act in solidarity with the LGBTI political movement.

 


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/

 

Mehmet Atif Ergun on Figen’s Death: Speaking of Suicide

Source: Mehmet Atif Ergun, “İntiharı konuşmaya dair (Speaking of suicide)”. Lambdaistanbul, August 26, 2014, http://www.lambdaistanbul.org/s/yasam/intihari-konusmaya-dair-mehmet-atif-ergun/

To offer suicide as if it were murder is to disperse and disarm counter-hegemonic discourses inside the one that is infused in violence.

I learned of Figen’s ordeal with police torture through that photograph, where she dared to expose her vulnerability over an Ataturk bust and the arm of a police officer; I learned of her ending her own life through a short yet searing sentence on Twitter. And I have come across an article by Halil Kandok, published both in Kaos GL and in Radikal while jointly translating a news article on her suicide with LGBTI News Turkey. In the article, Kandok asks:

Figen did not commit suicide out of nowhere. She committed suicide because of society’s normative pressures and because the state failed to protect her. That is, she was pushed to suicide, to death. Is this a suicide, or a murder committed by a secret weapon, the weapon of hatred?

What is suicide?  Who commits suicide?  For a nation where life and death are left to chance and violence is part of everyday life, answering these questions may be of significance. From what has been written on Figen’s deed, Figen did not end her life but was murdered. She was helpless and deedless, she was silenced, her existence erased. She was purged from society. Her very last moment was imbued with that “animal fear,” as the poet [Nazım Hikmet, 1961, “Straw-Blond”] says, that was created in her by her murderer, and not of her own thoughts, anxieties, her own self.

Yet, was it not those very soldiers, the ones who “had shoulder helmets on their shoulders but no heads / between their shoulders and their helmets nothing / they even had collars and necks but no heads” nor eyes, the ones “whose deaths are not mourned”, in whom “you could see their fear, animal fear”?  The ones with “arms, swastikas on their arms” –did we not already encounter them in Figen’s photograph?

Suicide is a deed realized by the person doing the deed, a sorts of a last-disobedience. It is an existential show of power: it is the expression of the argument that “my life is mine to take and no one else’s,” that is, of the claim to one’s right to live, through a radical deed. It is one of those moments where one takes away any power that the assailant might have had and where the assailant is left impotent. When we attribute this deed to the person whose aim it was, in the first place, to erase this other, to expunge her very existence from society, are we not participating in the fantasy mounted by that person by way of our framing of the debate and of the tongue?

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Halil Kandok on Figen’s death: “Alert alert, another trans committed suicide”

Source: Halil Kandok, “Dikkat dikkat, bir trans daha intihar etti! (“Alert alert, another trans committed suicide”), Kaos GL, August 25, 2014, http://www.kaosgl.com/sayfa.php?id=17383

Is this a suicide, or a hate murder committed with a secret weapon, a weapon of hatred? To remain silent in the face of discrimination is a weapon that kills gay and trans people.

News about trans activist Figen’s suicide dropped on one of the LGBTI news websites. Yes, just the news of it; did we take any other action? Everyone continued with their everyday life. Let alone the heterosexual world, even the LGBTIs did not care. Today I witnessed a speech that fails to act on the discrimination and murders that LGBTIs face. “They should not openly behave in a way to disturb the social order,” it said. This sentence was the expression of the universal approach towards gays, lesbians, and transsexuals. What this conveys is that LGBTIs do not have the right to live as self-defined selves. They can breath only in a manner that will not discomfort the heterosexual world. If they cross those boundaries, they deserve all forms of discrimination and hateful attacks they are subjected to.

Can LGBTIs, who are deprived of their right to life, tolerate this vegetative state, and if so, for how much longer? Always on pins and needles, always the target of lovelessness and hatred, deprived of the right to work, the right to socialize, the right to become part of the social environment… If we are able to live despite homophobia and transphobia, this is a great success. Because LGBTIs are supported neither by the institution of the family, nor by the state, nor by any other unit. No one cares about the LGBTIs who die. For instance, lately, everyone has been taking the ALS ice bucket challenge. Yet, the diversity of sexual orientation and of trans gender identity are not illnesses; they are the dispossession of healthy individuals’ right to life by heterosexism. So, why are people not trying to draw attention to this? Even LGBTIs make themselves shiver with ice water to raise awareness of ALS, yet they remain apathetic to their own sexual identity.

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Trans activist Figen commits suicide

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.

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/

 

To the Press and the Public: On the Suicide of Okyanus Özyavuz

Source: T-Kulüp, “Basına ve Kamuyonu: Okyanus Özyavuz,” (“To the Press and the Public: On Okyanus Özyavuz,”) 3 July 2014

We will be in front of Galatasaray High School today (July 3, 2014) at 19:00 to speak out for our trans male friend, Okyanus Özyavuz, who committed suicide in İzmir.

If you are not there, we will be missing so many.

Note: Through our correspondence with our trans male comrade’s girlfriend, we understand that his chosen name was not Efe but Okyanus and that he had created a different facebook account with the name Efe. He preferred to be called Okyanus and we have respected his wish in our statement.

We love you Okyanus!

“To the attention of the Press and Public,

On July 2, 2014, Okyanus Özyavuz, a trans male individual, ended his life. A successful athlete, Okyanus pointed out the reason behind his suicide via a note he shared on his social media account, ‘What’s the fucking use of being normal?”

As hundreds of trans individuals who understand what Okyanus was going through by his one remark, we would like to explain why he died: Close your eyes and imagine…. That you wake up in the morning in a body which you feel is not compatible with your sex, that you cannot tear it up the way you can a disappointing dress and that you are drowned in that flesh as well as the looks, remarks and the harassment of those that see you in that flesh.

Imagine nobody being able to see or understand who you really are… Imagine everyone you know pushing you and being hostile to you because that body is not compatible with you, and imagine being more drawn into yourself day by day. You can’t take it? Why not change? Make a choice between lying to yourself forever and taking on the whole world. Change, despite the possibility of being labeled ‘abnormal’ but to be yourself… Then imagine putting up with not being identified as ‘normal’ ever again.

Even if you do understand a part of what we are saying, we are sure that you will spread the news with a different name than that our friend chose and we insist on calling him ‘Okyanus.’ We pay more heed to his preferred male identity, expressed by his chosen name and his attire, than the female identity the government brands on us by only glancing at our crotches. And we accuse you! You killed Okyanus. You journalists, mothers, fathers, teachers, brothers, sisters or lovers! You, who do not know how to love unconditionally, kill a part of us every day with the constant repetition of the ‘normal – abnormal’ dichotomy.

We, trans individuals, live everyday and every moment struggling against you. You try to suppress us through pressures by society, family and government so that you can protect that wholly fictional, damned “normal.” Well, we are not suppressed! We will not apologize for existing! You disregard us and discriminate us by regulating everything from bathrooms to vocational schools according to your own “normal.” Still, we keep going and when we object to how we are treated and cry out for our human rights, you test us with every kind of violence, death and/or suicide and try to wipe us out. Well, we will not be wiped out!

Failing to add any clauses to the new Hate Crimes Law regarding the LGBTI means the government ignores us even under the threat of violence and that trans individuals’ right to life is not guaranteed in this country. The state’s insistence on being an accomplice in every event of discrimination through its police, teachers, doctors and law, its constant violation of our rights such as the rights to shelter, education and employment are just a few of the reasons providing a base for these suicides and murders. We announce here: The state is the perpetrator, the society is the perpetrator and the “normal” is the perpetrator!

You killed yet another pure and clean part of us, but we are still here! Our heads held high! We stand strong against you organized and in solidarity! Neither your ignorance, nor your violence, not even your slayings will be able to change this. You will see us wherever you turn your head. Get used to it, we are here and we are not going anywhere.”

T-Kulüp (Trans Male Culture Production Platform)

Voltrans


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/

 

17-year-old Trans Teen Commits Suicide in Turkey

Source: Kaos GL, “17-year-old trans teen commits suicide in Turkey,” kaosGL.org, 3 July 2014, http://kaosgl.org/page.php?id=17012

A 17-year-old trans teen named Okyanus Efe Özyavuz committed suicide in the western city of Izmir yesterday. Having won kick box championships both in Izmir and in the region, Özyavuz shared a note on his Facebook account which reads “What’s the fucking use of being normal?”
Noticing that Özyavuz hung himself from his apartment balcony, the neighbors broke in and cut the rope.
An autopsy will take place in Izmir Forensic Medical Institution. The police started an investigation about the suicide.

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/

 

I Attempted Suicide

Source: Burcu Karakaş, “İntihara teşebbüs ettim,” (“I Attempted Suicide,”) milliyet, 02 March 2014, http://gundem.milliyet.com.tr/-intihara-tesebbus-ettim-/gundem/detay/1845217/default.htm?ref=OtherNews

I attempted suicide

A homosexual police officer in Gaziantep was fired due to being charged with the crime of “unchastity.” The police officer applied to the Administrative Court for the annulment of the decision but was rejected. He said, “I went through a huge trauma. I attempted suicide. The judges decide according to their own moral rules. According to them, we do not even have the right to life.”

A homosexual police officer’s life has changed when the Morality Desk raided his friend’s house in Gaziantep. The officer was taking food to his friend. After an unidentified person’s tip-off, the police officer, who chose to remain anonymous, and his friend were obliged to go with the officers from the Morality Desk to the police department and to give their statements.

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