Gender identity

IMC TV Statement on Demishevich’s Firing

Source: “İMC TV’den açıklama” (“IMC TV Statement”), IMC TV, September 16, 2014. http://www.imctv.com.tr/2014/09/16/imc-tvden-aciklama

Given the claims circulating in certain news sites and social media upon our parting ways with Michelle Demishevich, we feel the need to clarify the issue.

Our decision to stop working with Michelle Demishevich has nothing to do with “red lipstick and inappropriate attire” as is claimed. Demishevich’s claim that she has not been sent out to the field with assignments for the past 7 months is not true. She has regularly been given assignments since she began working with us.

The main reason that has led to her departure is her failure to abide by the work discipline and her continuing to do so despite being warned. We have received many complaints from people who have acted as sources for her news reports about quarrels they have had with her. These complaints have been relayed to her and she has been warned as an IMC TV employee not to argue with news sources and cause tension and quarrels. During her final assignment where she was asked to observe the Saturday Mothers[1] protest on September 13, Demischevich argued with the representatives of the Saturday Mothers and uttered inappropriate words to one Saturday mother. This has been the final straw for us. As IMC TV, our sensitivity about the kind of responsibility journalists must apply to everyone regardless of identity and gender.

It is also not true that Michelle Demishevich has been warned about her attire and behavior in the institution. We expected her to show responsibility and integrity while she worked for us and we expect her to do so after her departure from IMC TV.

Footnotes:

[1] Reportedly inspired by the Mothers’ of the Plaza de Mayo in Argentina, Saturday Mothers are a group of mothers who have been protesting disappearances in custody and political murders every saturday in the Galatasaray Square of Istanbul since 1990s. (Sources: a, b)

‘Red lipstick’ crisis at IMC TV

Source: “İMC TV’de ‘kırmızı ruj’ krizi” (“‘Red lipstick’ crisis at IMC TV”), Pembe Hayat, 16 September 2014, http://pembehayat.org/haberler.php?id=505

A trans employee of IMC TV, known for the news she covers on LGBT issues, has been sacked by her boss. The ‘red lipstick’ crisis, which had led to a protest by Turkish Airlines flight attendants, was cited among the reasons for the termination of Michelle Demishevich Kurt’s employment contract. Along with Michelle’s attire, her “attitude and conduct” constituted justification for her getting the axe.

miche

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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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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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Okyanus Özyavuz’s Girlfriend: “I can’t even go the funeral of the person I love”

Source: İpek, “Sevdiğim insanın cezanesine bile gidemiyorum,” (“I can’t even go the funeral of the person I love,”) kaosGL.org, 3 July 2014, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=17014

My name is Ipek. I was Mukaddes’ girlfriend for the last 8 months. I was his first girlfriend. You can see that he was a trans person. At the time, when we first met, he told me ‘I want to be a boy,’ which didn’t surprise me, since there was already no difference, I found this quite normal.

On that day while looking for a name for him, we came over the name ‘Okyanus.’ I told him, that this name would suit him. After this day I always called him Okyanus. You can not even imagine what a good and kind person he was. His dreams were as interesting as the rainbow, he was as eager as the sky. Today I wanted to go to the funeral with a rainbow flag but at midnight my family got a threatening phone call that said ‘tonight blood will be spilled’. My mum came instantly to Izmir to pick me up. Just four hours ago, I was testifying in the police station.

Anyway, the day he hanged himself, I met Okyanus in the morning. There was a red bruise on the top left side of his head, on his left hand on the side of the thumb there were 3 cuts. ‘Are you going to explain these to me?’ I said. ‘I will explain,’ he said. ‘Yesterday, after they picked me up with the car from your place, my dad, my mum, my sibling gave me a hard time, they were really pushing me. Do you know what my dad said to me? ‘Hang yourself, so we can finally get over it,’ he said. They pressured me so much, that I don’t even know how I’m still here,’ he started to explain. After ‘If something happens to me, they won’t be able to look Mira in the eye, right?’ (Mira: His only dream was a daughter named Mira who had eyes as beautiful as his own and I’m sure he loved the dream about Mira even more than me.) Later he asked ‘If I will go, will you come with me?’ ‘I can’t come,’ I said. After this we spoke for maximum 10 minutes more. ‘I will go home,’ he said. ‘Okay,’ I said. He didn’t even properly hug me. ‘Without properly hugging me, you can’t go,’ I said. I hugged him, he hugged me the same way as before. I kissed him. He left… You finally have to realize that the pressure, that lies on LGBT-people, leads them to commit suicide. When he died, he had two pieces of paper in his pocket on which I wrote the contents of the slides I was going to prepare for him. This morning he said ‘They took the phone but I won’t give these to them even if they killed me.’ What a pain, I cannot even go to the funeral of the person I loved.

 

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/