discrimination in Turkey

Discrimination From Public Bus Driver: Are You a Woman or a Man?


A bus driver working on the Kadikoy-Uskudar line in Istanbul tried to force a trans male, whose gender identity is recorded as female on his public transportation card, to get off the bus.

Source: “İETT Şöföründen Ayrımcılık: Kadın Mısın Erkek Misin?” (“Discrimination From Public Bus Driver: Are You a Woman or a Man?”) Sol Haber, 29 January 2016, http://haber.sol.org.tr/toplum/iett-soforunden-ayrimcilik-kadin-misin-erkek-misin-144232

Trans male Devrim, who, in the Kadikoy-Uskudar bus that he took today, faced the bus driver’s “Why are you not using your own (public transportation) card?” question. Devrim had to show his driver’s licence in order to have his public transportation card, which had been confiscated by the bus driver, returned to him.

When the driver’s license was shown, the driver said before all of the passengers “I do not take that [the driver’s licence -Trans.] into consideration, it reads on the screen here that you are a woman. Are you a woman or a man?” The driver had to give his licence back, as Devrim stated that he is in the trans transition period and is a judicial case.

Devrim, expressing that all the passengers were listening to them and it was very offensive, commented on this event to soL as follows:

“What we go through today or everyday relates to the binary sex system. We are divided into two, down to even public transportation cards, as per this binary sex system. We as trans people face the same things over and over. Even if we shrug these off individually, we will keep living them in the society. Even if I receive my blue [male] ID card today and have a gender which is consistent in all official records, a trans woman, for instance, will continue being subject to the same things when she receives her pink [female] ID card, just because of her appearance.”

The Website ‘I Have Been Discriminated Against’ is Now Online

The “I Have Been Discriminated Against” website, where those who have been subjected to discrimination can seek assistance, is now online.

Source: “‘Ayrımcılığa Uğradım’ websitesi yayında”, (“The Website ‘I Have Been Discriminated Against’ is online”, KaosGL.org, 14 January 2015, http://www.kaosgl.com/sayfa.php?id=18493

As part of the “Diversity and Strategic Litigation Network” project, jointly conducted by the Kaos GL Association and the Foundation for Society and Legal Studies (TOHAV), the “I Have Been Discriminated Against” website has begun its service.

Through the website, which includes information on legal regulations, regulations concerning discrimination, as well as citizens’ rights, people who have been subjected to discrimination can seek assistance in Turkish, Kurdish, Arabic, and English.

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What is the Diversity and Strategic Litigation Network?

The Diversity and Strategic Litigation Network aims to explore ways of uniting non-governmental organizations and civil society activists in a joint effort against discrimination, to be conducted in cooperation and solidarity.

Within the framework of the project, skills and experiences will be shared in the area of human rights safeguarding mechanisms such as legal aid, strategic litigation, and the pursuit of rights.  In parallel to this, the communications capability with victims and injured parties who have difficulty in reaching non-governmental organizations will be increased. Their capacity will be strengthened with regard to access to judicial and other advocacy mechanisms. Finally, the cases of those whose rights are violated on multiple grounds of discrimination, who are extremely marginalized, and whose issues are insufficiently dealt with within the traditional human rights agenda will be given visibility throughout the duration of the project.

What does the project aim?

  • Administrative board meetings to be conducted with participants
  • The sharing of skills, experiences, and strengths; and, as a result of this, cooperation and the joint organization of workshops for the empowerment of civil society
  • Social media campaigns, activities, and forums for the purpose of coping successfully with the current situation of polarized thinking, with a focus on the most stigmatized groups, such as women, people living with HIV, psychologically diverse individuals, former convicts, and LGBTI individuals
  • A Human Rights Strategic Litigation process that is to be coordinated for cases involving marginalized individuals and vulnerable groups
  • The development of a legal assistance mechanism that will support those who are most deprived of their rights and the most vulnerable individuals and groups in defending their human rights and accessing justice
  • The monitoring of human rights violations and discriminatory actions on various political, regional, and social levels by way of new target filters and sources of information

What will be the results at the end of the project?

  • A strategic litigation process for cases involving marginalized and vulnerable groups like women, LGBT individuals, people living with HIV, former convicts, and people with psychological differences, as well as a catalog in which this process is analyzed
  • A diversity and strategic litigation platform
  • A website where online applications for legal assistance and direction are accepted, and where national and international regulations and application mechanisms are explained
  • Reports on legal consultation and direction obtained through online applications
  • Social media campaigns

The “Diversity and Strategic Litigation Network” project is being carried out under the auspices of the Civic Thought Program (Sivil Düşün) of the European Union Delegation