7 Renk Mersin LGBT

Trans Woman Attacked with “Allahu Akbar” Chants in Mersin

 

Two assailants in Mersin’s Pozcu district attacked a trans woman with a knife and iron rod, shouting “Allahu Akbar”  [“God is Great”]. It was learned that the police did not take action regarding the two people who attacked the trans woman saying “We’re going to kill all of you.”

Source: “Mersin’de trans kadına tekbirli saldırı” (“‘Allahu Akbar’ Heard During Attack on Trans Woman in Mersin”), T24, 6 August 2016, http://m.t24.com.tr/haber/mersinde-trans-kadina-tekbirli-saldiri,353607

Following the attack, the trans woman who had gone to the hospital was discharged without being given a report.

Two assailants attacked a trans woman with an iron rod around 03:00 on 6 August at the Topçular bus stop in Mersin’s Pozcu district.

According to Cumhuriyet’s story, the trans woman called the police to report the assailants, but the police who came to the scene distanced the assailants by taking the knife from their hands and tossing it down the storm drain, and then left the scene saying “You leave, we’ll do what needs to be done.”

After the police left the scene, the assailants this time attacked the trans woman, Melisa, with iron rods. Melisa alleged that the assailants, shouting “Allahu Akbar,” said, “We’re going to kill all of you,” and that the police who came back to the scene took no action.

7 Colors LGBTI Association: We’re going to start the judicial process

Melisa, who went to the Mersin State Hospital through her own efforts, was sent home after her wounds were dressed without being given a report.

The Mersin 7 Colors LGBTI Association for its part expressed that they were going to start the judicial process against this hate crime, which they announced through their social media accounts.

 

Homophobic Attack in Datça

Yasin Keskin of Vegisso Kitchen suffered a homophobic attack in Datça. Another person alleged to be a plain-clothes police officer participated in the attack. The police who responded to the attack then mocked Keskin rather than catching the attacker.

Source: Yıldız Tar, “Datça’da Homofobik Saldırı” (“Homophobic Attack in Datça”), KaosGL.org, 17 August 2015, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=20030

On the night of Saturday, August 15th, Vegan LGBTI activist Yasin Keskin suffered a homophobic hate crime in the town of Datça in Muğla province. Keskin, who first encountered disconcerting looks while dancing at the bar he went to have fun, later took a punch from an unknown person as he left the bar. Following this, a person alleged to be a plain-clothes police officer attacked Keskin with a pipe.

They saw him inside the bar and attacked outside

Keskin explained his experiences to KaosGL.org:

“We went to Datça for a one-day holiday as three friends. In the evening we went out to have fun and were dancing. While there I noticed that a group of men was giving us dirty looks. At the end of the night we came across a fight outside. A group of men was fighting.”

“At that point, although we had nothing to do with the fight one of the people from inside who had been giving us bad looks suddenly came up to me and smacked me. The area under my eye is still deep purple. After being hit I started yelling. The person who hit me ran away but then someone else started to attack me, this time with a pipe. Later the people around us said that the second attack was by an undercover police officer. And the bar owner, rather than helping us, threw us outside.”

Homophobic Discrimination from the Police

Immediately after the attack, Kesin called the police. He then recounted the attack to the police squad that came, but the officers laughed at him instead of taking his statement:

“The police came a while after I called them. I ran to the police car right away, but they didn’t pay attention to me. When I explained what had happened, the police and other people there laughed at me. I experienced violence, but they were preoccupied with making fun of me, probably because they were thinking, ‘What are we going to do with a fag?’” I said for them to take me to the police station and take my statement but they would not take me. They refused to carry out the procedure.”

Keskin reminded us that while he was living in Istanbul, he had faced violence from the police because of his homosexuality, and that following the homophobic attacks he has suffered in the past he again encountered discrimination at the police station and in the justice system. “Both because they laughed at me and because of my previous experiences, I distanced myself from the police,” he said.

“They were already watching you…”

While Kesin and his friends were trying to get away from Datça, two motorcyclists began following them. According to what Keskin explained, the motorcyclists’ words summarize the events of the night:

“The people inside were already watching you all. Be careful and get out of Datça. They will lynch you here. They are dangerous.”

Tolga Yalçın On Figen’s Death: What if She Called?

Source: Tolga Yalçın, “Ya aradıysa?”, (“What if she called?”), kaosGL.org, 6 September 2014, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=17469

What if she called?

She was my friend. She had told me so. “You are my friend,” she had said. I was interning at [LGBTI association] Kaos. I was excited. A little nervous as well. I had been sent to [LGBTT association] Pink Life, with the words, “Go, have a look, let me know what you find” to follow up on Umut G.’s Case.* (Case? Is that a social service term? Would that make me a case worker? I was actually Umut’s friend) We arranged meetings that lasted hours. She felt helpless. So much so that she was ready to like even the pigeons on that balcony. She was in shock. I am in shock now. The colonel-militarism had abducted her love, we knew this, we knew this, we knew this, but no one would listen. The colonel had abducted her Umut from her, the colonel had abducted the man she loved.

“I love him very much, I cannot bear him gone,” she had told me, on that balcony. She used to smoke long Marlboros. She would offer me those cigarettes of hers’ too. I wouldn’t accept, for she would smoke a lot and I feared that she would run out if I did. I wish now that her pack hadn’t run out. I was hungry then. Unemployed, or at any rate, about to be unemployed in a few months. I was in love, as deeply as she was in love with her Umut. Her lover had been abducted by his colonel father, heterosexism had claimed mine. “You will recover, you are my friend, I am here for you,” she told me then. I had smiled. This woman, who was undergoing great tumult herself, smoking long Marlboros to calm herself, was able to concern herself with my lover. But she was telling me that it would pass, looking at the pigeons. I came to know her then.

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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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Shut Up Transphobia!

Source: Kaos GL, “Kes Sesini Transfobi!” (“Shut Up Transphobia!”), 26 December 2013, http://www.kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=15487

The Mersin 7 Colors LGBT Association protested the transphobic hate crime committed against trans sex worker Deniz in the southern city of Mersin on Monday, 23 December 2013, with a press statement.

The demonstration took place in front of the Pozcu Akbank branch where the attack happened and the 7 Colors Mersin LGBT Association was also supported by some political parties and NGOs. After the press release, slogans were shouted against transphobic hate attacks and murders. After that, members of the 7 Colors Mersin LGBT Association held a short sit-in.

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SPoD’s Result Declaration on the School of Local Politics

Source: SPoD,  “SPoD Yerel Yönetimler Siyaset Okulu Sonuç Bildirgesi,” (“SPoD’s Result Declaration on the School of Local Politics,”) 16 December 2013, http://www.spod.org.tr/siyasi-temsil-calismalari/?p=35

We, LGBTI rights activists from Adana, Ankara, Antalya, Dersim, Diyarbakır, Eskişehir, Gaziantep, İstanbul, İzmir, and Mersin got together at the School of Local Politics, organized by Social Policies, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association (SPoD) between November 11 and 17, 2013. For 6 days, we thought about and discussed how to use tools of local politics to secure equal rights and protections for LGBTI people, to jointly develop the demands to make our cities livable for LGBTI people, and to take the first steps to monitor local elections and local administrations.

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