Ebru Kırancı

“Conservatism” eviction for Istanbul LGBTI office

The property owner of Istanbul LGBTI Solidarity Association’s office on Beyoğlu’s Öğüt Street has asked the organization to vacate on the grounds that they do not condone their activities.

The activists said: “What you call ‘these kind of activities’ is the struggle for equality and freedom. Even if we are the only people left, we will not abandon this dream!”

Source: “Istanbul LGBTI’nin ofisine ‘muhafazakârlık’ tahliyesi!” (“‘Conservatism’ eviction for Istanbul LGBTI office”), September 29, 2016, T24, http://t24.com.tr/haber/Istanbul-LGBTInin-ofisine-muhafazakarlik-tahliyesi,362406

Speaking to Çiçek Tahaoğlu from Bianet, Kıvılcım Arat, association board member, said that they would not leave their flat, which they had newly renovated. Arat said the following:

“I link this situation [relates] to recent events. We have been using the same office since the day we were founded. Since the state of emergency [declared after the July 15 failed coup attempt] institutions doing alternative projects have been experiencing pressure. There is an attempt to remove us from the place [where] we have not experienced any problems in for seven years, with conservatism being used as an excuse.”

Kırancı: They were a good person

Association President Ebru Kırancı explained the situation as follows:

“The flat has two owners. One is a lawyer. The lawyer requested a meeting with us today. They were the one who gave us the flat, they are a good person.

“Today they said to us, ‘I am a lawyer, a democratic person. But my partner is conservative and definitely does not want you to stay here, wants you to leave.’

“In other words, the other property owner is uncomfortable because of our gender identity and sexual orientation, and the association’s employees. The lawyer on the other hand congratulated me for returning to my education and making it to the second class as a trans woman.”

“We are familiar with the justification: Conservatism”

In an announcement over Istanbul LGBTI’s social media accounts, these statements were made:

“As of today, we are being asked to leave our association office, from which we have carried out our activities for seven years. The justification is Conservatism, which we have become familiar with over the past 10 years or so. The property owner has stated that they will not give permission for these kind of activities in their own building.

“We are declaring this one more time! What you call ‘these kind of activities’ is the struggle for equality and freedom. And even if we are the only people left, we will not abandon this dream! We will continue the struggle until we eliminate fascism, racism and sexism!”

About Istanbul LGBTI

Founded in 2007 by trans activists, Istanbul LGBTI became an association in 2011.

The association, which concentrates on trans issues, provides psychological support and advice to trans people.

The association organized Turkey’s first Trans Pride March in 2010. The Trans Pride March has been repeated every year since then. 

Since 2013, the association has also carried out its Trans Home project, which opens its door to trans people without current housing and LGBTI refugees and migrants who are under the threat of violence in Northern Africa and the Middle East.

Sexual Harassment and Attack Against Trans Women at Bakırköy Women’s Prison

Sexual harassment and attacks against LGBTI activists visiting Bakırköy Women’s Prison continue.

Source:“Bakırköy Kadın Kapalı Cezaevinde Translara Cinsel Taciz ve Saldırı”, (“Sexual Harassment and Attack Against Trans Women at Bakırköy Women’s Prison”), Pembe Hayat, 18 July 2015, http://pembehayat.org/haberler.php?id=818

Yağmur Beyrut Afşar, an LGBTI activist who went to Bakırköy Women’s Prison to visit an inmate, was denied a security search by female guards due to her trans identity at the prison’s 2nd checkpoint. After being directed to the security line for male visitors, Afşar refused the search. Afşar argued with a male guard who harassed her by “sticking out his tongue” and left the room.

Not the first instance of hate against trans visitors

Last month, Kıvılcım Arat, the general secretary of Istanbul LGBTI Solidarity Association and an activist for the Democratic Women’s Movement, was subjected to a forced search by guards and organized harassment by soldiers.

Three-month visiting penalty

Last week, Arat visited the prison again and was told by the guards that her friend had received a three-month revocation of visiting privileges. Arat was shown a report that cited “insulting the officer on duty” as the reason of the penalty.

Ebru Kırancı: We will go to court if necessary

The president of the Istanbul LGBTI Solidarity Association Ebru Kırancı noted that the government’s prison practices are systematic: “They are trying to oppress the revolutionary women that they have incarcerated within the prison and by harassing and keeping away their visitors. Of course, we are dealing with the issue of transphobia in addition to the isolation that they impose on women. I think this is a practice to discourage trans women from visiting inmates. They hope that trans women will give up on visits because of the undignified searches and harassment carried out by male guards. Of course, they are forgetting that trans women won’t comply by pressure, brutality, or mistreatment. If these procedures were successful, the pressure from the state and society would have already changed things. We will take the transphobic attacks in prisons to court if necessary.

Turkish Bath owner, who did not let a trans woman in, receives a 3,000 TL fine for discrimination

The owner of a Turkish bath who did not let a trans woman enter the establishment was charged and fined for discrimination. Lawyer Eren Keskin stated that this is the first time a punishment was given under this article related to trans individuals and said “I think that this verdict will give confidence to trans individuals on this matter. If the Supreme Court approves this verdict, they may live life a bit easier.”

Source: İsmail Saymaz, “Trans kadını içeri almayan hamamcıya, ayrımcılık suçundan 3 bin TL ceza” (“Turkish Bath owner, who did not let a trans woman in, receives a 3 thousand TL fine for discrimination), Radikal, 30 January 2015, http://www.radikal.com.tr/turkiye/trans_kadini_iceri_almayan_hamamciya_ayrimcilik_sucundan_3_bin_tl_ceza-1282917

İpek [Ebru] Kırancı, a trans individual who was not let into the historical Galatasaray Bath in İstanbul, where she went with a female friend, filed a complaint about the owner who said “We do not let in trannies like you, go to a bath of your own!” The owner received a fine of 3,000 TL [1240 USD] for the charges of “discrimination” regulated in Article 122 of the Turkish Penal Law (TCK). Kırancı’s lawyer Eren Keskin noted that this was the first time a sentence was given under this article and said “I think that this verdict will give confidence to trans individuals on this matter. If the Supreme Court approves this verdict, they may live life a bit easier.”

İpek Kırancı, who lives in Istanbul and who changed her sex to be a woman years ago, allegedly went to the Galatasaray Bath on December 26, 2013, with her friend Helga Maria Margereta to take a bath. Ahmet Karagüney, who owns the bath, rejected Kırancı and her friend, saying “You absolutely cannot enter!” even though she showed her pink ID card. Thereupon Kırancı filed a complaint through her lawyer Eren Keskin. A lawsuit against Karagüney was opened, on the charges of “discrimination based on language, race, color, sex, political opinion, philosophical belief, religion, sect and similar reasons”  regulated by the Article 122 of the Turkish Penal Law, with a request of imprisonment from six months to a year.


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, http://www.altyazi.net/gozecarpanlar/balerinanin-eteginde-trans-x-istanbul/

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.


Supreme Election Committee: LGBTI Activist Çakmak Not Elected to the Beşiktaş Municipality Council

Source: Yıldız Tar, “YSK: LGBTİ Aktivisti Çakmak Beşiktaş’ta Meclis’e Giremedi,” (“Supreme Election Committee: LGBTI Activist Çakmak Not Elected to the Beşiktaş Municipality Council,”) kaosGL.org, 03 April 2014,  http://www.kaosgl.com/sayfa.php?id=16232

According to the Supreme Election Committee’s official results, LGBTI activist Sedef Çakmak was not elected to the municipality council in Beşiktaş.

The Supreme Election Committee (YSK) started to release the official results of the local elections. According to the official results, none of the LGBTI activists who were candidates in the local elections won membership to the municipality council.

Though the unofficial results had revealed that Sedef Çakmak won membership to the Beşiktaş Municipality Council, she had been left outside of the council. She was in the 27th position and 26 candidates from the Republican People’s Party won seats in the Beşiktaş council.

The result that Çakmak had won a seat in the council was reported to be due to miscalculations. This means that none of the LGBTI candidates entered councils.

Who were the LGBTI candidates?

Can Çavuşoğlu had declared his mayoral candidacy for Giresun’s Bulancak municipality. He then withdrew his candidacy.

Mersin 7 Colors LGBT member Tuna Şahin was a candidate for the Yenişehir Municipality Council from the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP). BDP did not pass the election threshold in Yenişehir.

The Republican People’s Party (CHP) lists included SPoD LGBT’s Sedef Çakmak at the 27th position in Beşiktaş and Çelik Özdemir at the 12th position in Beyoğlu. CHP placed 26 members in Beşiktaş and 10 members in Beyoğlu Municipality Councils. Therefore, neither of the candidates were elected.

Boysan Yakar, candidate in Şişli, was not shown as a candidate by the CHP and was put on the substitute list. Öykü Evren Özen was shown as a candidate for the CHP in Bursa Osmangazi. She was not elected either. Mersin Newspaper editor and LGBTI activist Baki Uguz was in the 2nd position for the Democratic Left Party (DSP) in Mezitli Municipality Council. DSP did not pass the election threshold.

5 LGBTI activists were candidates for municipality councils from the People’s Democratic Party (HDP). Trans activist Şevval Kılıç was in the 2nd position for Istanbul’s Şişli council, Hevi LGBTI trans activist Asya Elmas was in the 2nd position for Istanbul’s Kadıköy council, Istanbul LGBTT Association member Ebru Kırancı was in the 4th position for Istanbul’s Beyoğlu council, and trans activist Niler Albayrak, previously subjected to attacks in the Avcılar-Meis Housing Complex was in the 2nd position for Istanbul’s Avcılar council.

Pink Life LGBTT Association’s Abdülhalim Karaosmanoğlu was a candidate for Ankara’s Çankaya municipality council for the HDP. HDP could not pass the election threshold in these five places and none of the activists won seats in the councils.

Scarlett Rainbow activist Tunca Özlen was a candidate for Ankara’s Çankaya municipality council from the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP). TKP did not pass the election threshold.


Is society ready for homosexuals?

Source: Çiçek Tahaoğlu, “Toplum Eşcinsellere Hazır mı?” (“Is society ready for homosexuals?”) bianet.org, 16 January 2014, http://www.bianet.org/bianet/siyaset/152847-toplum-escinsellere-hazir-mi


“Sooner or later, a faggot will be president. Let’s give up resisting this progress.” “Society was ready for heterosexual politicians, look what happened!” “There is no division between society and homosexuals.”

LGBTI people have never been this visible in local elections before! Six LGBTI pre-candidates from Istanbul alone took action to be involved in the city councils of different political parties.

Okan Bayülgen once asked the mayor of Ankara, Melih Gökçek: “When will we have a homosexual mayor in Turkey?” He received the answer, “Never, I hope. There should not be one.”

LGBTI visibility in politics has always been discussed with arguments such as “Is society ready for homosexuals?”

bianet asked the pre-candidates: “Is society ready for homosexuals?”


Crisis at the Hammam

Source: Can Mumay, “Hamamda Kriz,” (“Crisis at the Hammam,”), Hürriyet, 8 January 2014,  http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/ekonomi/25517449.asp

Following the event when transsexual Ebru Kırancı was not allowed to go into the Galatasaray Hammam (bathhouse in Istanbul), a demonstration in front of the hammam drew attention to the venue. The venue owner Can Cenik says that the bathhouse clients are disturbed by transsexuals and that is why they do not allow them to enter the hammam.

A transsexual named Ebru Kırancı (53) went to the historical Galatasaray Hammam in Istanbul on the evening of 26 December about 6:30 PM.