“My Child” coming out documentary screening by the Kocaeli LGBTI Initiative

The screening of an LGBTI documentary called “My Child” brought hundreds of people together in the city of Kocaeli in Turkey.

Source: Buket Kaya, “Kocaeli’de Benim Çocuğum belgeseli salona sığmadı,” (Screening of My Child Documentary attracts hundreds of viewers,”), 16 November 2014,

Organized by the Kocaeli LGBTI Initiative, Women’s Labor Collective and Education and Science Workers’ Union (Egitim-Sen) Kocaeli Branch Office, the screening welcomed “Families of LGBTs in Istanbul” (LISTAG) as guest speakers on Saturday evening at Izmit Public Education and Culture Center.

The families held a dinner at Egitim-Sen before the screening and talked with the members of the Kocaeli LGBTI Initiative on LGBTI visibility in the city and families’ stance towards the issue. The families also distributed LISTAG brochures.

Hall for 400 people was not enough

The hall with capacity for 400 people, and additional seats were completely filled before the screening despite the adverse weather conditions. Some participants had to watch the documentary standing.

Nazli Ulutepe from Egitim-Sen Kocaeli Branch Office said that education in Turkey is getting more and more conservative and homophobic, underlining that Egitim-Sen will work towards fighting the situation.

Muserref Ubuz from Women’s Labor Collective emphasized that LGBTI and women struggles are in solidarity with each other and that they will resist all forms of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

“Time to take off the heteronormative masks!”

The most dramatic speech was given by a member of Kocaeli LGBTI Initiative who ascended the stage with a beard and make-up. The person told LGBTI people, forced to live with masks for years, to start throwing away these masks and to get involved in the fight to leave their oppressed lives.

Stating that not all babies, love, art and life are heterosexual, the person addressed the audience: “It is your turn to take off the heteronormative masks that the system forcefully put on you, it is your turn to fight discrimination hand in hand with us.”

After the speech, a minute of silence was dedicated to people excluded, pushed to commit suicide or murdered because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

A Q&A session with the families followed the screening. LISTAG families received a loud applause and expressed their gratitude. People with various occupations and students talked about the movie’s contribution to their lives and sought an answer to how they can fight discrimination in their fields of work. The event ended with participants clapping and cheering with slogans.

On The Skirts of The Ballerina: Trans X Istanbul

Source: Senem Aytaç, “Balerinanın Eteğinde: Trans x İstanbul” (“On the Skirts of the Ballerina: Trans x Istanbul”) Altyazı, 30 May 2014,

Maria Binder and Ebru Kırancı

Maria Binder and Ebru Kırancı

In Maria Binder’s Trans X Istanbul, her camera follows trans activist Ebru Kırancı and exposes the struggle for survival of trans individuals in Turkey who face exile, harassment, rape and murder.

Interview by Senem Aytaç

Photos by Bahar Gökten

Trans X Istanbul (2014) chose as its subject trans individuals’ struggle to hold onto their living spaces in Avcılar Meis Housing Complex, Tarlabaşı and Gezi Park. It was directed jointly by Maria Binder and her mother, both of whom had moved to Turkey from Germany. Its main focus is the activist, Ebru Kırancı. This very personal documentary follows Kırancı both in her political efforts and in her personal life. It depicts the impossibilities of living as a trans individual in Istanbul while also clearly describing the urban transformation that Istanbul is going through. Kırancı’s very strong presence on screen, her strong will and capability, as well as her connection with the audience, ensures that the documentary is fascinating and absorbing. The documentary, part of the multi-platform effort “Transxturkey” which aims to raise awareness and increase participation for equal rights of trans individuals, continues its journey at Documentarist Istanbul Documentary Days after being premiered at the Istanbul Film Festival.

We had a chance to chat with Maria Binder and Ebru Kırancı on various matters including how they met, how the film was made, and their personal story as part of the trans rights struggle in Turkey.