Trans activist Doğa Asi Çevik has passed away

Doğa Asi Çevik who said “Trans people are born twice; once from their mothers and once from themselves” has passed away due to complications after her gender reassignment surgery.

Source: Yıldız Tar, “Trans aktivist Doğa Asi Çevik hayatını kaybetti”, (“Trans activist Doğa Asi Çevik has passed away”), kaosGL.org, 21 January 2015, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=18541

Trans activist Doğa Asi Çevik, who provided peer consultations at the Trans Consultation Center Association (T-Der) passed away on 20 January 2015 due to complications after her gender reassignment surgery.

It was stated that Çevik contracted an “unidentified hospital microbe” and had difficulties breathing due to problems in her lungs after her operation in Antalya.

Çevik had recently left T-Der to complete her gender reassignment process. Lawyer Sinem Hun will follow the legal process in case of neglect in her death.


“Trans people are born twice”

T-Der activist Deniz Eren Mutlu wished condolences to everyone during a statement on Çevik’s death:

“I won’t use too many words. Yes, Doğa is no longer here. I can’t make sense of it. She used to say, “Trans people are born twice; once from their mothers and once from themselves”. But time did not let her be born twice. In her death, she got the body she wanted, that would complete her. This was the only thing that made her happy. This was her wish and she was very clear about that.”


“I Was Reborn”: New Publication by the Counselling Centre for Transgender People Association

T-Der, the Counselling Centre for Transgender People Association, published a new study on transgender individuals’ experiences in Turkey (PDF). The 55-page study, titled “I am Reborn,” focuses on transgender people and employs in-depth interviews in three major cities in Turkey to explore participants’ socialization in childhood and adolescence, their health-related experiences, their encounters with the law, and their expectations from LGBTI organizations and from the study in question. The study also emphasizes the importance of building social support networks for trans individuals in order to better tackle the problems that they encounter.

The full text of the study can be obtained by following this link (in English, PDF) or by emailing the Association via dernek[at]t-der{dot}org (available in English and in Turkish).


“Instead of a Separate Prison, Conditions in Current Ones Should Be Improved”

Source: “LGBTİ’lere Ayrı Cezaevi Yerine Koşulları İyileştirsinler” (“Instead of a Separate Prison, Conditions in Current Ones Should Be Improved”) Kaosgl.com, 20 April 2014, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=16376

The debate for “separate prisons” for LGBTI inmates continues. “Isolation is already a part of prison life. Their priority should be preventing harassment of inmates by correctional officers”, “Instead of a separate prison, conditions in existing ones should be improved.”

The public discussion on the project to build separate prisons for LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex) individuals still continues in the press.  A reporter from the daily “Milliyet”, Aydil Durgun, asked the organizations Kaos GL, Hêvî LGBTİ, T-Der and SPoD LGBT for their thoughts on the debate started by the Ministry of Justice.

“Isolation is already a part of prison life”

Hayriye KARA, Attorney at Law (Kaos GL): “In Turkish Prisons, LGBTI individuals are already segregated due to their sexual orientations and sexual identities. They are, in a way, re-imprisoned in the prison population. Especially trans inmates are segregated citing “security” concerns. They are isolated, shunned and deprived of social activities. They are also kept from working; thus, left without income for personal items during their sentence.  Besides, Turkey has already been condemned by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) for its present treatment of LGBTI inmates.”

“There is no mention of rights violations committed by correctional officers.”

“Planning a separate prison project for LGBTI inmates before even considering improving the existing conditions in prisons is only a step to further isolate LGBTI individuals from society. Instead of combating social prejudices and striving for the human rights of LGBTI individuals, the government plans to build a separate prison not unlike a concentration camp citing ‘the security of LGBTI people.’

There is no mention of rights violations by correctional officers or ways to fight these occurrences in the project description. This proves their sincerity on the so-called ‘security’ aspect. A separate LGBTI prison is only another way to isolate, brand, expose and discriminate. This application is brazenly in violation of human rights as well as local and international laws. It is the institutionalization of the discrimination against LGBTI individuals.”


Separate Prison for the LGBTI, Collective Isolation

Source: “LGBTİ’lere Ayrı Cezaevi, Toplu Tecrit,” (“Separate Prison for the LGBTI, Collective Isolation,”) kaosGL.org, 15 April 2014, http://www.kaosgl.com/sayfa.php?id=16329

LGBTI organizations, lawyers and MPs from Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Republican People’s Party (CHP) offer their assessment on the project for separate prisons for the LGBTI: “collective isolation,” “concentration camp,” “labelling,” “against the ECHR”

Bekir Bozdağ, the Minister of Justice, stated that plans were underway for the project to construct separate prisons for inmates with different sexual orientations and gender identities.

Bozdağ’s announcement triggered a public debate. According to the report by Ümran Avcı and Şerife Güzel from Habertürk, while some approve of the policy, LGBTI organizations have reacted and described the project as “isolation/quarantine” and “concentration camp.”

Here are some of the opinions expressed:

“This is actually collective isolation, total medieval mentality”

Murat Köylü, Kaos GL Foreign Affairs Coordinator:

We believe this exposes a very important reflex of this government. Not only with regards to the rights of gay and trans citizens, but also, in the context of national and international dynamics, its perspective on topics like human rights, the primacy of law and democratic criteria. We can see that a government that denies the existence of LGBT people when it comes to discrimination and protection from violence, can take special measures when it comes to imprisoning them. When you look at the issue from the perspective of human rights, democracy and the primacy of law, this is actually a collective quarantine. A medieval mentality. 1.5-2 years ago, Turkey was found guilty at the ECtHR in a case where a gay inmate in Izmir was placed in a separate prison for their “own safety.” Now they will be separating all the LGBT people “for their own safety.” Isolation is one of the heaviest penalties. This means, in effect, the institutionalization of social discrimination. LGBT people want to live like everybody else without being subjected to discrimination. What kind of reasoning are these policies based on? Most LGBT people have to hide their gender identity in the absence of a policy of protection. How are they going to protect those who do not want to be out in normal prisons?


Trans Individuals in the Elections – T-Der’s Press Statement

Source: “Seçimlerde Trans Bireyler – T-Der Basın Açıklaması,” (“Trans Individuals in the Elections – T-Der’s Press Statement”), Trans Danışma Merkezi Derneği, 18 March 2014

To the Press and Public

In order for the March 30 2014 local elections to occur in a democratic environment, special measures need to be taken for women, disabled, illiterate, elderly, lesbian, gay, bisexual, intersex – and especially transgender people – to be able to benefit from their right to vote in the same way as everyone else.

Some transgender people have a problem because their gender identity does not match the color of their ID and this is an issue we – The Trans Consultancy Center Association (T-Der) – wanted to draw to your attention to.

Most transgender individuals – who either started the gender transition process, as arranged by Article 40 of Turkish Civil Law, or those whose processes are still ongoing – are facing a variety of difficulties in public institutions because of the difference between their gender identity and the color of their ID.