Mersin 7 Renk

2nd Mersin Pride: “Being a Man a Secret, a Woman an Enigma”

Hundreds of people got together in Mersin for the 2nd Pride March after Pride Week. 

Source: Aylin Keser, “Mersin’de ‘erkeklik sır kadınlık muamma’ydı!”, KaosGL.org, 6 June 2016, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=21803

Mersin 7 Colors LGBT Association and numerous civil society organizations completed Pride Week on 5 June with Pride March.

Pride Week events were organized around the theme “Enigma” and included photography exhibitions, film screenings, and panels for a week, hosting many guests.

On 5 June, the crowd gathered around Forum fountain with their colorful costumes and marched with slogans. People of all sexual orientations joined the highly-attended events and voiced their demands, songs, and slogans. The slogans included “The state will be led by a fag”, “queers coming with lollipops”, “we are trans but not transforming from this road”, “Ivana Hoffman lives in our love”, “Revolution’s martyrs are eternal”. Ivana Hoffman, a lesbian internationalist fighter who died in Rojava fighting ISIS was remembered.

Some onlookers insulted and screamed “fag” at the crowd that had started the march with great excitement from Forum Shopping Mall. But the crowd shouted back saying, “So what if we are fags, get used to it, we are everywhere”.

After the enthusiastic march, the group walked to the shore and ended the march there.

More pictures here.

Trans activist Figen commits suicide

Source: Yıldız Tar, “Trans activist Figen yaşamına son verdi”, (“Trans activist Figen commits suicide”), Kaos GL, August 24, 2014, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=17381.

Trans activist had been tortured by the police on a Mersin street in the recent past.

Trans activist Figen, a member of the Mersin 7 Renk [“7 Colors”] LGBT group and formerly on the board of directors of Pembe Hayat, committed suicide today (August 24th) evening by drowning herself in the sea off Mersin.

Trans women, routinely subjected to transphobic violence by both the Turkish police and local gangs, are trying to survive under harsh conditions. A recent escalation in transphobic attacks is destroying their living spaces.

Torture in the middle of the street!

As reported by the media, Figen and other trans women had been tortured in public by the police on July 22. Seated at a bus stop, the women were approached by a group of police officers who yelling, “Get the hell out of here. You are disturbing people in the vicinity”, attacked them with batons and tear gas. They were then taken to the police station by force.

Not only did the police not process them at the station, but their request to file a complaint was also denied. Both Mersin 7 Renk and Pembe Hayat called the police station following the attack. The police lied in order to cover up the event, saying, “There is no report of such an incident. How did you come up with this stuff?”

At the time, Figen was dealing not only with police abuse but also with the loss of her older brother in the Soma mine massacre. She was unable to attend her brother’s funeral due to family pressure.

LGBTI organizations will claim the remains

Officials from Mersin 7 Renk, Pembe Hayat, and Kaos GL are trying to reach her family in order for them to claim the remains. Evren Çakmak from Kaos GL, and Buse Kılıçkaya and Gani Met from Pembe Hayat have arrived in Mersin to claim the remains, in case the family fails to do so themselves.

Chanting “Murderous State” will work only to relieve ourselves

Umut Güner from the Kaos GL provided the following assessment regarding LGBTI suicides:

“It is not just the violence, but the very heterosexist culture and its social structure that renders life unlivable. There is no truth to claims such as ‘I am not homophobic, I am not transphobic!’ Even LGBTIs can be homophobic and transphobic. Projects such as awareness raising campaigns are no longer enough. We have to organize for and build alternative living networks. The ‘Murderous State’ chants will work only to relieve ourselves. I cannot say ‘rest in peace’ to Figen. I witnessed what she lived through over the past two years. She did not live in peace, how is she to rest in peace?”


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/

 

Public Abuse of Trans Individuals by Police

Source: Yıldız Tar, “Mersin’de Polisten Translara Sokakta İşkence!” (“Public Abuse of Trans Individuals by Police!”) KaosGl.org, 22 July 2014, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=17153.

 

In Mersin, police officers attacked trans women in public, shouting “Get out of here” and assaulting them with batons.

The violent treatment of trans women by the police has gone unstopped. Citing a misdemeanor law, the police attacked and publicly abused 7 trans women.

Police used tear gas on the trans women while violently attacking them. Among them were activists from the solidarity group, “7 Renk” (“7 Colors”). A 7 Renk activist, Ece Yiğit, recounted the events to KaosGL.org.

Beating for Disturbing the Peace!

“We were hanging out last night on İsmet İnönü Boulevard with the other girls. There were seven of us and we were only chatting. There was also a man next to us sipping beer. Then the police came out of nowhere and said: ‘Get the hell out of here. You are disturbing people in the vicinity.’ Honestly, we did not understand what was going on. We were not making any noise. The man next to us reacted to the police, ‘what is the harm of these people to you? They are just sitting here.’ Police attacked him first with batons. Then, they started pepper spraying us. After we protested, they assaulted us with batons.”

Police denies the events!

The trans women were later taken to the police station. No legal proceedings took place at the station. The police also declined the trans women’s request to file a report. According to the members of the LGBTI solidarity organizations, Mersin 7 Renk and Pembe Hayat (“Pink Life”), police denied the events, claiming: “There is no report of such an incident. How do you come up with this stuff?”

After no legal proceedings took place, the trans women left the station. Now they are demanding that the abuse be investigated through footage to be obtained from the security cameras.

Perpetrators of Hate Murders are unpunished!

A trans woman named Cansu was attacked in Mersin, on May 25th in an attack alluding to Miraç Kandili[1]. In December, a trans sex worker called Deniz was attacked with sticks and knives in Pozcu. Four transphobic hate murders have been committed in Mersin since 2006. However, these murders are not recorded as hate crimes and the perpetrators are not handed down the appropriate sentence.

[1] Lailat al Miraj – A religious day commemorating Prophet Muhammad’s ascent to heaven –trans.

A transphobic assault in Mersin: “What are You Doing Out on a Holy Evening?”

Source: Yıldız Tar, “‘Mersin’de Transfobik Saldırı: “Kandilde Sokakta Ne İşin Var?’” (“A transphobic assault in Mersin: ‘What are You Doing Out on a Holy Evening?’”) Kaos GL, 26 May 2014, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=16683

A trans woman, Cansu, was assaulted with a bat in Mersin. The attackers’ excuse was the holy day [commemorating Prophet Muhammad’s ascent to heaven]: “What are you doing out on a holy evening?” And transphobia continued in the hospital too…

The most recent addition to hate crimes against trans people took place last night (25 May). A trans sex worker by the name of Cansu was attacked in Mersin, by a group of people, armed with a bat. The group’s excuse was the holy day commemorating Prophet Muhammad’s ascent to heaven. They attacked Cansu saying, “We will not allow you all to survive here.”

“What are you doing out on a holy evening?”

Cansu recounts her experiences as follows: “Three or four people got out of a car with bats in their hands. The license plate read 27. They attacked me saying, ‘Are you out on a holy evening too? What are you doing out on a holy evening? We will not allow you all to survive here. Get out. We will clean up our streets.’”

Police attitude following the attack was as usual. Instead of investigating the issue, they chose to ignore it. Yağmur Arıcan, president of the Mersin Seven Colors LGBT Association describes the police’s attitude for kaosGL.org:

“The police is trying to cover up the incident”

“The police is trying to cover up the incident. The first police squad that arrived after the assault did not even attend to the issue. They received the announcement, “a woman has been assaulted.” They came to check out what happened. When they saw that the assaulted person was a trans woman, they did not even care. Cansu was insistently reporting the license plate number and describing the direction to which they escaped but the police did not listen. They said, “You must be mistaken in what you saw.”

Transphobia continued at the hospital

The police did not even call an ambulance. Cansu’s friends took her to the hospital and transphobia continued there as well. The health personnel did not want to attend to Cansu upon realizing that she was a trans individual. When their attitude was met with negative reactions, they began to treat Cansu.

Cansu, who was suffering from multiple broken bones in her skull, was also subjected to transphobia on the part of other patients. Cansu recounts her experience in the hospital as follows: “They looked at me and they laughed. They kept pointing their fingers at me.”

Cansu was supposed to be kept under supervision overnight. However, due to the indifferent attitudes of the health personnel and transphobia in the hospital environment, she left. She was half-conscious when she arrived home. Cansu rested at home, suffering from nausea and the risk of internal bleeding…

Yağmur Arıcan explains that as the Mersin Seven Colors LGBT Association, they will follow up on this issue and go to the court. They will request MOBESE [city surveillance cameras] records from the police but it is doubtful whether the records will be shared or not.

“We will follow up on these assaults!”

This is not the first hate crime that took place in Mersin. Arıcan explains the situation in Mersin:

“Transphobia does not give us a break. Transphobia was resurrected in Mersin. They are trying to wipe us off of the streets. It just does not end. There have been assaults in Pozcu before. Trans people are constantly under attack. These are only incidents that are known to us. Many trans women are afraid of the police and so they do not report the incidents. Some believe that nothing will change if they sue. We will follow up on this issue and make sure that it is recorded as a hate crime. It must be accepted that this was a hate crime.”

Four hate murders in Mersin!

One of the assaults that Arıcan referred to had taken place in December. Sex worker Deniz had been attacked in Pozcu with bats and knives. Four trans murders have been committed in Mersin since 2006. None of them were recorded as hate murders and their perpetrators were not convicted as they should have been.