Istanbul LGBTT Solidarity Association

Trans Pride Press Statement

Source: Kaos GL, “Polis saldırısı nedeniyle okunamayan Trans Onur Yürüyüşü açıklaması”,

We are publishing the Trans Pride March press statement by Istanbul LGBTI Solidarity Association that could not be publicly read due to police intervention. 

The press release of the 7th Trans Pride March is as follows:

The 7th Trans Pride March that we have organized has begun in sadness and anger in the wake of the Orlando massacre. The discussions that began before we had even mourned the Orlando massacre exhibit the magnitude of the hate culture that is created in society. The calls to massacre by the jihadists and Salafist groups in the media and on social media complemented the decision of the Governor’s Office to forbid the march and exposed the coalition amongst these groups. State officials who did not initiate processes of persecution supported these massacring groups who made calls for [a] massacre and bans with threatening statements and targeted people who wanted to exercise their constitutional rights to join the march.

We Know of this collaboration from Sivas, from Maraş!

We know of this collaboration from Suruç, from Amed [Diyarbakır], from Ankara!

We know of this collaboration from Trans murders and the selfies taken with murderers!

The Trans Pride March, organized 6 years in a row without any problems posed to public order, was terrorized by both the state and the puritanical groups, targeting our friends who participated in the organization of this week. The hateful culture created in society provided the basis for the attacks and, through the media, LGBTIs were turned into open targets.

We declare here once again! The parties responsible for all the attacks that will occur due to this hate culture are Istanbul Mayor Vasıp Şahin, Istanbul Police Chief Mustafa Çalışkan, Minister of Interior Efkan Ala and the AKP government, who disregard and encourage this.

This argument that began with the excuse of disrespect for the month of Ramadan shows us where those who are not Turkish, Muslim, Sunni, and male will stand in this nonsensical New Turkey. This sensibility that imposes their own norm on the totality of society and target those who do not abide by this norm will bring nothing but a massacre for the Kurds, Alevis, Armenians, Greeks, Roma, LGBTIs, women, laborers and workers.

While every critical opinion about the President expressed on Twitter draws house raids, arrests, and detention, open calls to attack are disregarded and the complaints of rights defenders remain unprocessed. None of us are safe in a country where jihadist terrorist groups move freely, where borders are opened from one end to the other, where militants are treated in hospitals and sent back to the war zone.

Within this reality, the situation of trans society is in an even worse state. Trans individuals who cannot camouflage themselves in social life are turned into targets and are deprived of all their fundamental rights.

The Republic of Turkey, which defines itself as a social state, usurps our right to life, housing, education, health, and movement, forcing us to live in oppression that has not been seen before.

We, the children of the rainbow, shout out once again:

We are the owners of these lands and the guarantors of a bright future!

We will continue to fight for an equal, free, and democratic world.

We bow with respect to the memory of our friends massacred in Orlando and promise a world without homophobia and transphobia!

Don’t forget Orlando, don’t let anyone forget!

Despite hate, hooray life!

Hate crimes are political!

Istanbul LGBTI Solidarity Association


Another Transphobic Murder in Istanbul


On the evening of 2 December at approximately 20:30 in the Avcılar district of Istanbul, a trans woman was stabbed in the heart and killed on the street she worked.

Source: “İstanbul’da Yine Transfobik Cinayet!”, (“Another Transphobic Murder in Istanbul”),, 2 December 2015,

The trans woman, Alev, lost her life as a result of being stabbed through the heart by a man who approached her as a customer while she was working on the street.

While Alev died at the crime seen as a result of the transphobic hate crime that occurred around 20:30 today (02.12.2015), her friends rushed to the police station. The Avcılar police department also brought in Alev’s trans woman friends for questioning about the murder, which occurred in the Haramidere neighborhood.

Alev’s friends said that the murder was carried out by a man who approached her like a customer.

While the investigation about the crime is still ongoing, the murder suspect has yet to be caught.  

In the past ten days in Istanbul there have been two back to back transphobic hate crime murders. On the afternoon of November 23rd, a woman named Nilay was stabbed in front of her own home in Maltepe and then strangled with the sash of her robe. Following this, Alev lost her life as a result of a knife attack.

Following the lynching attempts at the Meis apartment complex, which began in 2012, many trans women in Avcılar have become a target for hate crimes.

Previously, a mob gathered in front of the homes of the many trans women who live in the Meis complex hurled threats at the women with torches in hand, and shot bullets into their houses. A lawsuit filed about the Meis complex attacks on the premise that they interfered with the right to housing is still ongoing.

Transphobic discrimination from the police

The Istanbul LGBTI Solidarity Association, which accompanied a lawyer to the police station after the murder, criticized the police officers’ disinterested, discriminatory and transphobic attitudes through a post on their social media. Istanbul LGBTI shared that while waiting with the lawyer, they heard the police officers say “There are so many fags, friend:”

“Alev gets stabbed in the neck with a knife in the area she works. She runs to the truck lot located in the area behind it and asks for help. But because her carotid artery was severed, she collapses to the ground before an ambulance can even be called.

“The murderer is among us right now. He could be sitting next to us on public transportation. Or he could be walking right behind us when we walk home.

“The police are saying, ‘There are so many fags.’ Now, let’s sit and think about this. Is the murderer only the person who pulled the knife on Alev? Of course not! The murderer is also the police and the state who say, ‘There are so many fags’ and take no notice of our right to life, instead of finding the perpetrator!

“Trans murders are political!”

The attack will be protested in Ankara

Following the transphobic murders that have occurred recently, the Ankara LGBTI organizations Pink Life, High School LGBTI, and Kaos GL have sprung into action. On 3 December at 18:30 there will be a press release to protest these hate crimes in front of the Yüksel Human Rights Monument.


Trans Support Line Set Up; Victims of Violence Will Not be Left Alone

The project carried out by the Istanbul LGBTTI Solidarity Association and supported by the Open Society Foundation aims to provide legal assistance to trans individuals and protect victims of violence. Work for the Istanbul LGBTTI Trans* Rights project began on 10 November 2015. 

Source: “Trans Destek Hattı kuruldu; şiddete maruz kalanlar yalnız bırakılmayacak” (“Trans Support Line set up; victims of violence will not be left alone”) Pembe Hayat, 30 November 2015,

The project aims to prevent rights violations.

In tandem with the initiated  project, trans individuals in need of a lawyer will be able to use this help line in the event that they are victims of acts such as robbery, bodily injury, police violence, home invasions, or attempted murder. As this project is to be carried out in Istanbul, there will be a lawyer reachable 24/7 on both the European and the Asian sides of the city.

The General Secretary of the Istanbul LGBTTI Solidarity Association, Kıvılcım Arat, states that the aim of this project is to have the unrecorded trans-targeted violence, which therefore have no legal proceedings initiated, reported and brought to justice. Arat further noted, “We would like to bring the physical attacks to justice at the end of the year by reporting and recording them. Accordingly, we want to put pressure with lawyers in order to eradicate impunity in cases of violence targeting trans individuals.”

Arat, expressing that violence has become a mundane part of the lives of trans women sex workers, further stated, “Trans individuals put on their make-ups and continue working, right after being victims of violence, and they keep living as if it is an ordinary matter. The violence they suffer is not prosecuted even if they go to hospitals or to the police. We want to put an end to the cooperation of the police, the judicial system, and the state against trans individuals. Nothing is recorded when trans women who have undergone violence go to the police. We will prevent this violation of rights.”

*The word “trans” is used as an umbrella term. Anyone who defines themselves as a trans woman or man, transgender, transvestite, drag queen, or cross-dresser can ask for assistance in the event that they find themselves in a similar situation.

The phone number that trans individuals may call in the event they need a lawyer is 0538 560 32 22


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.


Turkey’s first guesthouse for trans people

Source: Çağla Ağırgöl, ”Türkiye’nin İlk Trans Misafirhanesi,” (“Turkey’s First Guesthouse for Trans People,”) Birgün, 23 October 2013,–ilk-trans-misafirhanesi-5616.html

Turkey’s first guest house for trans people opened in Dolapdere, İstanbul. Its founders say, “we have to maintain this guest house because we have no other choice but to live together.”

Melisa Karam (33) is a make-up artist from Lebanon. She ran away from the internal disorder of her country and from transphobic violence and took refuge in Turkey. Melisa Karam, who has been living in Turkey for the past 9 months, applied to the UN for asylum in order to go to Canada. Karam who stayed in a hotel for 6 months and in the streets when she ran out of money does not have a work permit so she asked for İstanbul LGBTT Solidarity Association’s help. She is the first immigrant at the recently founded trans women’s guest house. Karam stated that she was not accepted to hotels when she first came to Turkey and she had problems because of her male identification cards. Karam, “I have been staying in the Trans Women Guesthouse for three months. The guest house is a two-room apartment in Dolapdere. There are three of us and I am comfortable. The rent, electric and water bills of the house are paid for. We have to pay for some necessities such as food. I cannot work because I do not have a work permit and because I am trans nobody hires me. I cannot eat or even get out of the house because I do not have any money, that is why I do not even have a social life. I have to go to Kumkapı Foreigners Police Station to give my signature on foot because I do not have money to take the bus.”

“The UN discriminates”

Karam states that her permit to stay in the country will expire in four months. She also states that the UN and other organizations do not help her; the only establishment that supports her is İstanbul LGBTT. “The UN has a lot of money but they do not help. They also discriminate. While they are supporting other immigrants financially I cannot get any money because of my trans identity. They show me the streets in order for me to make money. They tell me to be a sex-worker. I do not accept that.”

“LGBT associations gave their support”

One of the founders of İstanbul LGBTT, Ebru Kırancı, stated that a friend of theirs named Gülşah who was 52 and working as a sex worker was really sick. “She had serious health problems because she had nowhere to stay, she was living in the streets or sleeping in front of the association’s door. When we opened in the morning she would come inside, have something warm to drink and sleep there. Because she was homeless and had serious problems concerning her health we decided to establish the guest house.” She also stated that the guesthouse was supported by a lot of different LGBT organizations and that they were able to maintain it because of the help they receive. She talked about the creation process of the house:

“The trans guesthouse in Dolapdere, which we rent for 800 TL, is maintained thanks to charities. We have furnished the guest house with things like sofas, fridges, etc that came from many different people. We can afford the electricity, water bills and the rent. Our friends who are staying in the house provide the other basic needs. The guesthouse has been in service since January and there are three trans friends staying there. A guest house for trans people is needed in other cities as well but because of financial impossibilities they cannot be established. The trans guesthouse we have established in Dolapdere is a first in Turkey and I guess it is a first in the world also. Because visitors from foreign countries state that there is no such establishment in Europe. This idea of establishing a trans guesthouse existed for a long time. However, when we were looking for houses to rent, people did not rent their houses to us at all or gave higher prices when they heard the word “trans.” Never mind renting, they do not even sell us houses because of our trans identity. Discrimination against us happens everywhere. We encounter transphobia as soon as we step out. On streets, in markets; people’s stares and behaviors disturb us.“

“We are getting fined”

One of the founders of the association, İlker Çakmak, mentioned that trans people’s lives are getting harder in every field and said, “The state does not do anything even for healthy LGBT people so it is pointless to expect them to do anything for sick, old and immigrant LGBTs. Our lives are hard in every way. When we go out, go to the grocery store, the police fine us 83 TL under the terms of the Misdemeanor Law and if we do not pay we are sentenced to imprisonment. In fact, lots of our friends are imprisoned because they did not pay the fine. This implementation started with Hüseyin Çapkın in 2009. It is easier for the police to fine trans people rather than chasing thieves. They earn money by collecting bonus points and when they are promoted it is according to these points.”

“We have to maintain the guesthouse”

Çakmak states that a lot of trans people come to Turkey from Syria and the Middle East and he adds, “Refugees who take shelter in Turkey because of the problems in their country, and the violence they are subjected to because of their trans identities, go to other countries from Turkey. Also trans people coming from Syria are told to go to the refugee camps. They already have problems with people from their country. Living with Syrians in those tiny camps would bring along lots of problems.”

“Nobody raises their voices against deaths”

Çîrûsk, another one of the founders of the İstanbul LGBTT, said that they do not have any expectations from the state and added, “Our friends who stay in the guesthouse leave when they get themselves together. We host trans people who are really sick, old, unable to work and who are immigrants.” Çîrûsk said that a succession of massacres have taken place in this land creating “others” who in turn draw the social opposition movements to their side, protecting themselves and creating a fighting space. In this country, there are opposition movements concerning various minorities, ethnicities, identities. However, in this country, about 20 LGBT people are slaughtered each year. These are not ordinary deaths. We receive bodies that are stabbed 40-50 times or bodies with their throats cut. Social opposition movements including the socialists do not raise their voices against these murders.

The trans guesthouse has a particular importance against this opposition movement and against these social conditions: we are not alone, deserted or unattended. A mechanism to protect an LGBT individual when they are imprisoned, slaughtered, or when they get old does not exist. And we cannot demand that from the state, from the opposition movement or from an NGO- when we do, we do not get any response. We are planning to transform our guesthouse to an institutional nursing home that stands on firm ground. In order for trans people to not have to stay on the streets, we want to increase the capacity and build a mechanism to provide sociologists, attorneys, cooks and medical care. This will be a great source of confidence for LGBT people; many of us have concerns regarding our future. The guesthouse stands at an important point for LGBTs. We have to maintain this guesthouse; therefore we are waiting for help.”

What is the legal basis of police violence against trans people?

Source: Kaos GL, “Polisin Translara Uyguladığı Şiddetin Yasal Dayanağı Ne?” (“What is the legal basis of police violence against trans people?”) 02 November 2013,

People against transphobia protested police violence in front of the Istanbul Şişli Police Station by responding to the Istanbul LGBTT Solidarity Association’s call.

A press statement was read at 04:00 PM in front of the Şişli Police Station to support trans sex workers who have been repeatedly attacked for the last 15 days in Şişli and to expose this police violence.

“What is the legal basis of police violence against trans people?”

Ebru Kırancı from the Istanbul LGBTT Solidarity Association read the statement on behalf of the group who held banners that said, “Our right to employment and housing cannot be restricted.”

Kırancı, who stated that trans women have been subjected to violence in Şişli recently, also remarked that “the police attack with bats in their hands as if they are on a witch hunt.”