Trans Angels, a solidarity group among trans women in Turkey, took action following the death of two trans women in last two weeks. Hande Öncü, who left Turkey for Vienna because of transphobia, was killed in a hate crime on January 19. Another trans woman, Madonna, lost her life due to ill-health in the western city of Izmir on February 5. Öykü Ay, the leading figure of Trans Angels, told kaosGL.org how they claimed the funerals and stood together.
Source: Ömer Akpınar, “İki aile, iki cenaze: “Yaralarımızı kendi ellerimizle sarmayı öğrendik”,” (“Two families, two funerals: We learned to heal our own wounds,”) KaosGL.org, 10 February 2015, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=18696
Öykü Ay became a well-known figure among trans women after she organized Turkey’s first trans fashion show in November to raise up money for a trans shelter in Istanbul named the Trans Guesthouse, which was founded by Istanbul LGBTI Solidarity Association. Based upon the free health care support provided by the Beşiktaş Municipality to the shelter, she has all the reasons to feel proud of her work.
Her Facebook videos, which always start with “Hello friends, my name is Öykü Ay”, is an inspiring example of how social media can be used to mobilize a vulnerable community. Ay, who was awarded the Prize for Fighting Hate Crimes by Ankara-based Pink Life Association during a series of events to mark Trans Day of Remembrance (TDoR) in November, feels bewildered by the differing reactions to the death of their trans child.
“Two different cultures, two different funerals, two different worlds…” are the first words that come out of Öykü Ay’s mouth. Having attended two funerals the last two consecutive Fridays, she is full of emotions.