Trans men in Turkey

Discrimination From Public Bus Driver: Are You a Woman or a Man?

 

A bus driver working on the Kadikoy-Uskudar line in Istanbul tried to force a trans male, whose gender identity is recorded as female on his public transportation card, to get off the bus.

Source: “İETT Şöföründen Ayrımcılık: Kadın Mısın Erkek Misin?” (“Discrimination From Public Bus Driver: Are You a Woman or a Man?”) Sol Haber, 29 January 2016, http://haber.sol.org.tr/toplum/iett-soforunden-ayrimcilik-kadin-misin-erkek-misin-144232

Trans male Devrim, who, in the Kadikoy-Uskudar bus that he took today, faced the bus driver’s “Why are you not using your own (public transportation) card?” question. Devrim had to show his driver’s licence in order to have his public transportation card, which had been confiscated by the bus driver, returned to him.

When the driver’s license was shown, the driver said before all of the passengers “I do not take that [the driver’s licence -Trans.] into consideration, it reads on the screen here that you are a woman. Are you a woman or a man?” The driver had to give his licence back, as Devrim stated that he is in the trans transition period and is a judicial case.

Devrim, expressing that all the passengers were listening to them and it was very offensive, commented on this event to soL as follows:

“What we go through today or everyday relates to the binary sex system. We are divided into two, down to even public transportation cards, as per this binary sex system. We as trans people face the same things over and over. Even if we shrug these off individually, we will keep living them in the society. Even if I receive my blue [male] ID card today and have a gender which is consistent in all official records, a trans woman, for instance, will continue being subject to the same things when she receives her pink [female] ID card, just because of her appearance.”

The European Court of Human Rights to announce verdict on Turkish gender reassignment law

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) will announce its final judgment on March 10 in the case of a trans man in Turkey who was not granted court permission needed for gender reassignment surgery.

Source: Ömer Akpınar, “AİHM trans geçiş sürecine ilişkin kararını 10 Mart’ta açıklayacak” (“ECtHR to announce verdict on Turkish gender reassignment law”), kaosGL.org, 24 February 2015, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=18827

The ECtHR will announce its final verdict on Y.Y. v Turkey case regarding Article 40* of the Turkish Civil Code on gender reassignment.

What does Article 40 require?

Article 40 of the Turkish Civil Code stipulates that a court permission must be obtained in order to undergo gender reassignment surgery. According to the article, the permission can only be given if the person is over 18 and unmarried and if the person has obtained official medical board reports to prove that the operation is psychologically needed and that the ability to reproduce is permanently lost.

Proof for being “unable to reproduce” brought a legal deadlock

The applicant who wants to be registered as male and to get permission for gender reassignment surgery applied to a Court of First Instance in 2005. The next year, he got two different psychiatric expert reports in February and April, stating that he must continue his life as a man. However, following a report in May stating that the person still has the ability to reproduce, the court ruled that the applicant does not fulfill the requirements of Article 40.

How can one fulfill Article 40’s requirements if the surgery for losing reproductive ability has not been permitted?

The Supreme Court of Appeals stated in a May 2007 verdict that the decision by the Court of First Instance is correct. It also rejected the applicant’s request for a correction in the ruling in October 2007.

Y.Y. v Turkey

The applicant took the case to the ECtHR in 2008, complaining about the content and the interpretation of the law. In the proceeding which started 2 years later, he underlined that the relevant requirement of the law can only be fulfilled by a surgery, leaving him in an inconclusive situation.

Although it was proven by medical reports that the applicant identifies as a man and his physiology does not fit his gender identity, it was not enough for the court. The applicant claims that his right to privacy, designated in Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, has been violated.

“If accepted, the case might lead to an amendment in the law”

The applicant’s lawyer, Ali Nezhet Bozlu, explained the possible outcomes of the case to kaosGL.org:

The legal impact depends on whether the ECtHR will accept the case and their justifications. If it is accepted, the Committee of the Ministers of the Council of Europe will monitor the implementation of the decision and perhaps mention the case in Turkey’s Progress Reports. This may lead to a discussion to amend the law, however, such amendments take time.

Article 40 of the Turkish Civil Code:

A person who wishes to change their gender may request permission to change their gender by applying in person to the court. However, for the permission to be granted, the applicant must be 18 years old and must be unmarried. The applicant must also be in a transsexual nature and must document the necessity to change their gender for their mental health and that they are permanently deprived of reproductive abilities through an official health committee report obtained from an education and research hospital. Depending on the permission granted, once the gender reassignment surgery fit for the aim and medical methods has been completed and verified by an official health committee report, the court decides to make the necessary changes in the population registry.

Okyanus Özyavuz’s Girlfriend: “I can’t even go the funeral of the person I love”

Source: İpek, “Sevdiğim insanın cezanesine bile gidemiyorum,” (“I can’t even go the funeral of the person I love,”) kaosGL.org, 3 July 2014, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=17014

My name is Ipek. I was Mukaddes’ girlfriend for the last 8 months. I was his first girlfriend. You can see that he was a trans person. At the time, when we first met, he told me ‘I want to be a boy,’ which didn’t surprise me, since there was already no difference, I found this quite normal.

On that day while looking for a name for him, we came over the name ‘Okyanus.’ I told him, that this name would suit him. After this day I always called him Okyanus. You can not even imagine what a good and kind person he was. His dreams were as interesting as the rainbow, he was as eager as the sky. Today I wanted to go to the funeral with a rainbow flag but at midnight my family got a threatening phone call that said ‘tonight blood will be spilled’. My mum came instantly to Izmir to pick me up. Just four hours ago, I was testifying in the police station.

Anyway, the day he hanged himself, I met Okyanus in the morning. There was a red bruise on the top left side of his head, on his left hand on the side of the thumb there were 3 cuts. ‘Are you going to explain these to me?’ I said. ‘I will explain,’ he said. ‘Yesterday, after they picked me up with the car from your place, my dad, my mum, my sibling gave me a hard time, they were really pushing me. Do you know what my dad said to me? ‘Hang yourself, so we can finally get over it,’ he said. They pressured me so much, that I don’t even know how I’m still here,’ he started to explain. After ‘If something happens to me, they won’t be able to look Mira in the eye, right?’ (Mira: His only dream was a daughter named Mira who had eyes as beautiful as his own and I’m sure he loved the dream about Mira even more than me.) Later he asked ‘If I will go, will you come with me?’ ‘I can’t come,’ I said. After this we spoke for maximum 10 minutes more. ‘I will go home,’ he said. ‘Okay,’ I said. He didn’t even properly hug me. ‘Without properly hugging me, you can’t go,’ I said. I hugged him, he hugged me the same way as before. I kissed him. He left… You finally have to realize that the pressure, that lies on LGBT-people, leads them to commit suicide. When he died, he had two pieces of paper in his pocket on which I wrote the contents of the slides I was going to prepare for him. This morning he said ‘They took the phone but I won’t give these to them even if they killed me.’ What a pain, I cannot even go to the funeral of the person I loved.

 

To the Press and the Public: On the Suicide of Okyanus Özyavuz

Source: T-Kulüp, “Basına ve Kamuyonu: Okyanus Özyavuz,” (“To the Press and the Public: On Okyanus Özyavuz,”) 3 July 2014

We will be in front of Galatasaray High School today (July 3, 2014) at 19:00 to speak out for our trans male friend, Okyanus Özyavuz, who committed suicide in İzmir.

If you are not there, we will be missing so many.

Note: Through our correspondence with our trans male comrade’s girlfriend, we understand that his chosen name was not Efe but Okyanus and that he had created a different facebook account with the name Efe. He preferred to be called Okyanus and we have respected his wish in our statement.

We love you Okyanus!

“To the attention of the Press and Public,

On July 2, 2014, Okyanus Özyavuz, a trans male individual, ended his life. A successful athlete, Okyanus pointed out the reason behind his suicide via a note he shared on his social media account, ‘What’s the fucking use of being normal?”

As hundreds of trans individuals who understand what Okyanus was going through by his one remark, we would like to explain why he died: Close your eyes and imagine…. That you wake up in the morning in a body which you feel is not compatible with your sex, that you cannot tear it up the way you can a disappointing dress and that you are drowned in that flesh as well as the looks, remarks and the harassment of those that see you in that flesh.

Imagine nobody being able to see or understand who you really are… Imagine everyone you know pushing you and being hostile to you because that body is not compatible with you, and imagine being more drawn into yourself day by day. You can’t take it? Why not change? Make a choice between lying to yourself forever and taking on the whole world. Change, despite the possibility of being labeled ‘abnormal’ but to be yourself… Then imagine putting up with not being identified as ‘normal’ ever again.

Even if you do understand a part of what we are saying, we are sure that you will spread the news with a different name than that our friend chose and we insist on calling him ‘Okyanus.’ We pay more heed to his preferred male identity, expressed by his chosen name and his attire, than the female identity the government brands on us by only glancing at our crotches. And we accuse you! You killed Okyanus. You journalists, mothers, fathers, teachers, brothers, sisters or lovers! You, who do not know how to love unconditionally, kill a part of us every day with the constant repetition of the ‘normal – abnormal’ dichotomy.

We, trans individuals, live everyday and every moment struggling against you. You try to suppress us through pressures by society, family and government so that you can protect that wholly fictional, damned “normal.” Well, we are not suppressed! We will not apologize for existing! You disregard us and discriminate us by regulating everything from bathrooms to vocational schools according to your own “normal.” Still, we keep going and when we object to how we are treated and cry out for our human rights, you test us with every kind of violence, death and/or suicide and try to wipe us out. Well, we will not be wiped out!

Failing to add any clauses to the new Hate Crimes Law regarding the LGBTI means the government ignores us even under the threat of violence and that trans individuals’ right to life is not guaranteed in this country. The state’s insistence on being an accomplice in every event of discrimination through its police, teachers, doctors and law, its constant violation of our rights such as the rights to shelter, education and employment are just a few of the reasons providing a base for these suicides and murders. We announce here: The state is the perpetrator, the society is the perpetrator and the “normal” is the perpetrator!

You killed yet another pure and clean part of us, but we are still here! Our heads held high! We stand strong against you organized and in solidarity! Neither your ignorance, nor your violence, not even your slayings will be able to change this. You will see us wherever you turn your head. Get used to it, we are here and we are not going anywhere.”

T-Kulüp (Trans Male Culture Production Platform)

Voltrans


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/

 

17-year-old Trans Teen Commits Suicide in Turkey

Source: Kaos GL, “17-year-old trans teen commits suicide in Turkey,” kaosGL.org, 3 July 2014, http://kaosgl.org/page.php?id=17012

A 17-year-old trans teen named Okyanus Efe Özyavuz committed suicide in the western city of Izmir yesterday. Having won kick box championships both in Izmir and in the region, Özyavuz shared a note on his Facebook account which reads “What’s the fucking use of being normal?”
Noticing that Özyavuz hung himself from his apartment balcony, the neighbors broke in and cut the rope.
An autopsy will take place in Izmir Forensic Medical Institution. The police started an investigation about the suicide.

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/

 

Trans Men Whose Manhood is Unblessed

Source: Çiçek Tahaoğlu,“Erkekliği Kutsanmayan Trans Erkekler,”(“Trans Men Whose Manhood are Unblessed,”), 15 February 2014, Bianet.org, http://bianet.org/biamag/lgbtt/153490-erkekligi-kutsanmayan-trans-erkekler

“Of course FTM transition is not blessed. First of all, it is shameful in this country to not (be able) to fit the stereotypical gender roles. You are “a lesser man,” “a parvenu, an upstart” as it were, to put it crudely.”

With the Gezi resistance, society came out to LGBTI people and LGBTI people came out to society. The “get used to it, we are here” slogans worked to a great extent.

But the taboos, the confusion, and the meetings continue. For example in the issue of trans men, people say “How does that work?” “So you can transition from women to men?” “Are there really any trans men in Turkey?” “Even if there are, the numbers must be low and it must be a unique situation…”

Yes, there are trans men in Turkey. They even have a trans men’s information site called Transsick-o and it will soon mark its first year online.

The numbers are not as low as you think. The closed facebook user group called T Kulüp started out with 30 people but has now reached 215 and membership is increasing.

The group’s communication coordinator Berk said, “Twelve years ago there was There was a trans man activist but he was the only one. Voltrans was formed in 2008. T Kulüp is only a new beginning.” He goes on to say, “There is a feeling of ‘I think I am the only person like this in the world’ that every trans man goes through; it’s a terrible loneliness, one that cannot be understood without living through it.” This is how the group gets larger.

Berk says, “We share information and our troubles; there is friendship, solidarity, and support. There are people from all ages, social classes and beliefs. This solidarity entails everything from following each other’s hospital documents to supporting each other when feeling melancholic. We know if a surgeon operates badly, if a hospital undertakes any practices that are against the law. Solidarity and friendship are prioritized. We want to be active participants in the transformation of legal and medical procedures in order to make these practices better. We want our voices to be heard.”

So who are these trans men? What do they do? How does the gender reassignment process work? Are they open in their social lives? Is the transformation to being a man in Turkey a blessed thing or is it a cause for discrimination? What are the most common problems in their daily lives?

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Voltrans: Trans Men and Feminism Together

Source: Ömer Akpınar, “Voltrans: Trans Men and Feminism Together,” kaosGL.org, 31 January 2014, http://kaosgl.org/page.php?id=15733

Turkey’s very first trans men initiative, Voltrans, has a documentary now with the same name. The first screening of Voltrans took place in the 3rd KuirFest in Ankara between 16-23 January 2014. Özge Özgüner and P. Ulaş Dutlu, who made the movie, told their Voltrans journey to kaosGL.org.

voltrans1

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“The other men do not differ from the familiar ones”

Source: Işıl Cinmen, “Öteki erkekler”in beriki erkeklerden farkı yok!(“ the other men don’t differ from the familiar ones,”) 17 January 2014, http://www.haberturk.com/yasam/haber/913334-oteki-erkeklerin-beriki-erkeklerden-farki-yok

We are at the end.

After we talked this much, what I realized is this:

The “other men” do not differ from the familiar ones.

The “other women” also are no less than the familiar ones.

Then we should remove the term “other” and make them equal.

In our minds, in our hearts, on the streets, at work, in the Constitution to be equal.

913334_7ceea4e927a12be2691c9a551964aa60

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If the world can be transformed, so can I…

Source: Işıl Cinmen, “Dünya dönüyorsa ben de dönerim!”(“If the world can be transformed, so can I), Haberturk, 14 January 2014, http://www.haberturk.com/yasam/haber/912441-dunya-donuyorsa-ben-de-donerim-

What are you doing to become the person in your dreams?

Sports, botox, diets, plastic surgeries…

Regardless of what you have being doing, İnan has done more than that so far.

İnan was biologically born as a woman.

Yet he is a man now.

As a little girl, he sensed something had not gone right.

He has endured in order to break the endless taboo throughout his whole life.

Finally, he learned to love himself as he is and to combine his body and soul together in harmony.

He said to himself, “If the world can be transformed,  so can I. “

Trans men, also known as those who transition from female to male, are transsexuals less known by society.

Leave your biases at the door and pay attention to what İnan has to say!

912441_detay

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A Transsexual in Gaziantep University

Source: “Gaziantep Üniversitesi’nde Bir Transseksüel,” (“A Transsexual in Gaziantep University,”) Gaziantephaberler, 05 January 2014, http://www.gaziantephaberler.com/gaziantep-universitesinde-bir-transseksuel-haberi-29571.html

Taha Tufan, a student at Gaziantep University (GAUN) Physical Education and Sport Academy, disclosed that he is exposed to discrimination at the university because of his gender identity. Tufan said, “They feel uncomfortable towards the organization of LGBTs. They want to make sure that everyone is the same. They can’t tolerate different people.”

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Trans Men’s Right to Information Censored by the Presidency of Telecommunication

The Presidency of Telecommunication (TIB) had blocked access “trans men data bank” Sick-o (www.transsicko.blogspot.com) on 7 October 2013 through “administrative measure” on the grounds of TIB Decision No: 5651. Transsick-o is an online blog that aims to inform readers on female to male transition and answers questions about trans men. A written petition requesting information on which No: 5651 article the blog violated went unanswered and access to the blog was re-granted on 24 October 2013 as arbitrarily and as quietly as the moment of closure.

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Transsick-o: In this country, accessing information is the “shame”

Source: Ömer Akpınar, “Transsick-o: Bu Ülkede Bilgi Edinmenin Kendisi “Ayıp”,” (“Transsick-o: In this country, accessing information is the “shame”,”) Kaos GL, 11 October 2013, http://www.kaosgl.com/sayfa.php?id=14995

The Presidency of Telecommunication (TIB) blocked access to Transsick-o also known as “the trans men information site” on 7 October 2013 through “administrative measure.” Transsick-o petitioned the TIB on 11 October 2013 to find out the reason for closure. Volunteer lawyers will also follow the legal process. Berk İnan, the founder of the blog that answers hundreds of questions about the lives of trans people, transsexuality, and the mandatory medical and legal processes, talks to KaosGL.org about the censorship.

Who uses Transsick-o?

Transsick-o is a blog that Turkish speaking trans men, which does not only include trans men from Turkey but also dual citizens or Azeris, use for consultation. People from Azerbaijan and the United States ask questions. We are currently consulting a Syrian trans man refugee in Turkey. It’s actually difficult to see who makes use of the site since it is an open platform. So trans men who use Turkish as their native language (Turkey, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Azerbaijan, and Turkish speaking European Union residents and the rest of the world), their families, trans and LGBQI society, and the general public in Turkey benefit from it, I think.

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Trans Men Information Site Also Victim to “Administrative Measure”

Source: Kaos GL, “Trans Erkek Bilgi Bankası da “İdari Tedbir” Kurbanı!”, (“Trans Men Information Bank Also Victim to “Administrative Measure!””), 8 October 2013, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=14966

Transsick-o, an information blog on trans men, was censored by the Presidency of Telecommunication. An “administrative measure” was put in place against the blog that covers a broad range of topics on trans men issues and news that include health care, military, law, and coming out.

No longer accessible on the http://transsicko.blogspot.com address, the content was exported to http://transsicko.tumblr.com/ and to http://transsicko.blogspot.de/. Transsick-o admins announced that they will begin legal procedures regarding the administrative measure, which might have been initiated because of a complaint.

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Trans Men: Both Visible and Invisible

Source: İpek İzci, “Hem görünür hem görünmez: Trans erkekler,” (“Trans Men: Both Visible and Invisible,”) Radikal, 3 July 2013, http://www.radikal.com.tr/hayat/hem_gorunur_hem_gorunmez_trans_erkekler-1140133

LGBT activist Aras Güngör in his book The Other Men (Öteki Erkekler) conveys the experiences of trans men in family, education, health, hormone therapies and transgender reassignment surgeries.

In Turkey, it is obvious that when it comes to transsexuality, the first thing that comes to mind is male-to-female trans people. What about female-to-male trans people? “I will say that I am alive only when we get to live in a free world for real,” says Ersin. Is he more camouflaged compared to trans women, is his life easier? What does he try to tell us when he says, “Biologically I am in a female’s body; I am male in my brain”? What risks did he face in the identity reassignment process from pink (female) to blue (male) identity? Did he get support from his family or was he alienated?

In order to find answers to these questions, LGBT activist Aras Güngör published a book called The Other Men (Öteki Erkekler) with Sel Publishing. In The Other Men, which hit the shelves on July 1st, 2013, seven trans men; Ersin, Utku, Doğu, Uzay, Mete, Kamil and Tarık tell their experiences of their daily lives, families, education, health, hormone therapies, sex reassignment surgeries and legal processes. Güngör answers our questions and tells us that though trans men are not as visible as trans women, it would be wrong to think that this situation makes the lives of trans men any easier:

“At times, not being visible creates bigger problems. (Blue) (Un)Identity is a serious deal. Trans men have no access to vital needs such as employment, health care and housing: along with that, many trans men are subjected to police violence because of the color of their IDs. Our daily lives are under siege.”

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