Ismail Saymaz from the Radikal newspaper and Yıldız Tar from Kaos GL participated in the “Hate Crimes” panel, on “Hrant Dink and Zirve Publishing House Assassinations” and “Sexual Orientation- and Gender Identity-based Hate Crimes,” at Mersin University. The panel was moved to a larger lecture hall due to high turnout.
Source: İpek Yezdani, “Eşcinsel Haftası Konsolosluktan,” (“Homosexual Week from the Consulate,”) Hürriyet, 28 June 2014, http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/gundem/26700350.asp
American and Turkish LGBTI university students met at a panel hosted by the Consulate General of the United States of America within the scope of the “Istanbul 2014 LGBTI Pride Week”. The students shared their stories and their difficulties.
American and Turkish LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and intersex) university students discussed their experiences in university campuses and dorms as well as the homophobic attitudes they are exposed to.
“I Became Ela in Istanbul”
At the panel hosted by the Consulate General of the United States of America in Istanbul at Tophane Studio X, Marvin Alfaro from New York University, Öktem Usumi from Boğaziçi University, Tuğkan Gündoğdu from Istanbul University, and Ela Kaçar (trans) from Bilgi University shared their experiences. Kaçar said, “I was born in Samsun, I went through terrible thing during middle school, I came out to my mom at age 16. Then I became Ela in Istanbul. I started my university life with my identity as Ela and I was very happy in the first years because I could be there in my real identity that is my female identity. However, a few years later, it was revealed that I had become a woman through surgery and my friends’ behaviors towards me changed. They started calling me a convert (dönme) behind my back. I went through huge traumas. Then I joined the LGBTI movement and became an activist.”
The Consul General of the United States of America Charles Hunter emphasized the importance of the panel and explained the personal importance of the issue by saying, “I felt obligated because of my personal connections. I am gay and I do not hesitate to say this.”
Source: Gülden Aydın, “Hermafrodit Bülent’in Çilesi” (“The Suffering of Bülent the Hermaphrodite”), Hürriyet, 23 May 2014, http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/gundem/26470090.asp
*Translator’s Note: While our project aims to offer verbatim translations of our original sources, certain linguistic differences between Turkish and English present challenges. Because Turkish does not have gender-specific pronouns and if the subject does not identify within the male-female binary, we translate the pronouns as “they.” Please note that words such as “hermaphrodite” and “dual-sexed” are direct translations of the original source, which are used for the term “intersex.”
Bülent Coşkun is a hermaphrodite (dual-sexed), who lives in Cumayeri, Düzce. They cannot go out in public. They are constantly pointed at, made fun of and constantly harassed. As if that is not enough, people want to stone and burn Bülent’s house. Bülent is a victim of hate crimes.
Bülent Coşkun (34) was almost screaming on the phone. They were saying that society was punishing them for being a dual-sexed individual and was asking assistance. When we met in Düzce town center, all eyes were immediately set on Bülent who has elements of both man and woman in their body and clothes. Cars in traffic were stopping; people were pointing, laughing and looking at the “freak.” Where Bülent was verging on tears, we were almost choking. It was impossible to sit in a café and conduct the interview there; we had to go to their cottage.
A MAN AFTER SIX SURGERIES
Bülent comes from a family of farmers. Their parents are cousins. They were born dual-sexed following the birth of their two elder sisters. Their father was determined to make Bülent into a man, so they made Bülent go through six separate and painful surgeries in which Bülent’s vagina was sealed and their urinary tract connected to the penis. However, the surgeries were not successful. They ran away after the same doctor told them that 8 more surgeries had to be performed. Bülent’s life was a living hell due to the botched surgeries performed on them until 2012. Although, they could not urinate for 15 hours, Bülent was supposedly a man.
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.
Abbreviations: Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Justice and Development Party (AKP), Republican People’s Party (CHP), Peace and Democracy Party (BDP)
Source: Bülent Sarıoğlu, “Kahvede çoklu seks izletiyor,” (“They are showing orgies at coffeehouses,”) Hürriyet, 3 December 2013, http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/gundem/25264344.asp
The Constitutional Reconciliation Commission’s 25-month work has finally ended. The “colorful” bickerings of the Parliamentarians regarding education in native language, citizenship, the characteristics of the Republic, rights of sovereignty, general morality, honor, gay marriage, and FEMEN have been documented in the records. Some quotes from the records: