LGBT in Turkey: Policies and Experiences
2. Historical Background
3. Current Status of the LGBT Population
Each society has its own moral values. Especially for our Turkish society, it is not possible for us to be together with the gay culture in Europe. It is also not possible to approve of this. How we have been brought up, our brand of morality, our views are a little different. I hope to God that in Turkey there will not be a gay and there should not be .
5.1. Political Parties’ Attitudes and Policies toward LGBT Individuals
|Party Name||Female Members||Male Members||Party Total|
They could not find a place for my child in this huge world,’ distinguished members of the parliament, these are the words of the mother of our citizen with a different sexual orientation who was murdered in September 2010 in Bursa. Today we are talking about opening a tiny space in this huge world to fit these parents’ children. Is there a tiny space for the ones who have been murdered by 12 stab wounds, 40 stab wounds, or for the ones whose bodies have been inflicted by wounds that will not heal, whose wounded hearts will not heal ?
(…)The world is changing. Taboos are breaking. A better, freer, and more equal world is possible. Unfortunately, Turkey is not moving forward in the same speed as the Western systems in regard to freedom of gender expression (…) As Republican People’s Party, we wish that in Turkey, we would not move with anger and hate. As we have also engaged in our election report; we are demanding the creation of a legal arrangement for the fight against discrimination and hate crimes as soon as possible. We want that, we hope that one day in the huge agenda of the assembly a tiny space and time will be created for hate crimes .
When we said, we are Kurds in Sisli and gays in Taksim during gay pride, media outlets propagandized against this said, “they are homos too”. In truth, it would not have matter even if I were; however, the issue here is to ask for protection of the rights of homosexuals even if one does not consider himself as one. The day we protect the rights of those who are not like us, then we are going to see a real change in this country (…). Otherwise, things will stay the same. You will continue to stone homosexuals, and in places where you cannot stone them, you will insult them and leave the assembly room .
Researches on this topic has been done previously in both in the US in 1972, and by the European psychological association in 1992. They found that what we consider an LGBT status is not normal behavior .
Affiliates of the JDP, regularly express valuing humans simply because they are humans, treating everyone equal under the law, loving every creature because of the creator. Social measures that are taken are not for a specific sexual orientation, it is for the benefit of all humanity. Nonetheless, these attributes cannot be used as a door opening to lifestyles that our society disapproves of or as an encouragement for the sort of behavior that triggers the degeneration of the population, and cannot be assessed as a criterion for democracy .
LGBTI individuals who are targeted, killed, repressed, or ostracized because of their sexual orientations and sexual identities are ignored by the system. LGBTIs’ mere existence is seen as a crime. Homophobia and transphobia are fed. “New Life” calls for equal citizenship rights for all sexual identities to live free and honorable lives in society without fear of discrimination .
5.2. Experiences of Transgender Individuals in Turkey
|Belgin||Transsexual woman||57||Turkish||Sex Worker/Activist|
|Buse||Trans-woman||Did not want to answer||Turkish||Sex Worker/Activist|
|Demet||Transsexual woman||50||Turkish||Ex-Sex worker/Activist|
|Demet Y.||Transwoman||Unknown||Turkish||Activist/Sex Worker|
|Deniz||Transwoman||28||Turkish||Activist/Part-time Sex Worker|
|Destina||Transsexual woman||Did not want to answer||Turkish||Sex Worker/Activist|
|Esmeray||Transsexual woman||38||Kurdish||Sex Worker/Actor/Activist|
|Eylul Cansin||Transwoman||24||Turkish||Sex Worker|
|Gani||Transwoman||40||Turkish||Sex Worker, Activist|
|Oyku||Transsexual woman||41||Turkish||Ex-sex worker/Activist|
|Selay||Transsexual Woman||Did not want to answer||Turkish/Kurdish||Sex Worker/Activist|
After I told my parents about my gender identity, the family assembly got together and agreed upon my death. I was chained to a twelve meter iron chain for 3 days. I was also terribly beaten. On the third day, my older brother unchained me and threw me out at the railroads and told me I had a better chance to survive there .
After I came out to my parents, my brother threatened to kill me. He cut my hair and I was chained to a radiator for eight months. The chain was only long enough to reach the toilet. I lived like that, without any human interaction. It was a very traumatic experience for me .
The thing we most want for our children is for them to be able to act with more freedom in this country we live in. We are fighting for our kids legal rights because all of our kids are victimized. We have children that are afraid to go outside because they are treated roughly in every step they take. We do not want our children to go through this .
All trans tell similar stories. I experienced a lot of work discrimination. I was fired from multiple jobs specifically because of my gender identity. I had no other choice but to participate in sex work. The good part is that I have united my body and soul. The bad part is I’m forced to do sex work and that’s horrible. Being a woman and having to be a sex worker tears me apart inside .
Even though I have been experiencing many types of discrimination as a result of my gender identity, I graduated from university and became a teacher. While I was on my fourth year of teaching in Mus, Ministry of Education began preliminary field investigation on behalf of me. My teaching location was changed multiple times. I loved my job, but because of the endless pressures I experienced, I resigned from my job crying. I knew my only other alternative would to be back to participating in sex work .
I was a commander in the state’s military at age 18. The youngest soldier was 21. There were other soldiers in lower ranks. At age 18, I was above so many people in this ridiculous way. They expected me to manage them, and be a harsh man. I was successful in terms of work. Because I worked as a gendarmerie, we dealt with judicial things such as traffic accidents and murders. I had all these badges. Even though I was so successful, when I came out as trans, all those certificates, praises, badges were zeroed .
I’ve been working in a variety of jobs since I was 14, including fast food chains, restaurants, hotels, etc. I remember a time when I worked for 20 hours and got paid 20 liras (about 13 dollars). But I’ve been a sex worker for the last two years and I’m making good money. I like this job since I earn what I deserve .
I’m a sex worker. This is what I’ve studied for the past fifteen years and that’s why I’m good at it. I respect others in this industry. Some are forced to do it. They cry and take drugs to tolerate it, but I’m proud of what I do and I can shout it out. So I want to keep doing my job but I want protection and a safety net because ultimately I am providing a service .
“Hate crimes control my life. I’ve been working as a sex worker for thirteen years, and each night before I go out, I take a last look at my house. Each night without exception I feel like I won’t be back. I put many of my flat mates and best friends underground. I buried them myself” .
The murderer can easily get off by saying “I visited this person thinking that it was a she but it turned out to be a he and I killed him”. And the judge takes that into account and extenuates the punishment. There are so many cases of this. But nowadays most cases go unclosed without even being investigated .
We live in a country where people murder trans-individuals and justify it by saying “I killed her because she was transgender” .
As long as it’s not obvious that I’m a trans, and that I refuse to identify my gender identity, I am safe as a part of the masculinity. But at the moment that I come out or my gender identity is revealed, I became subject to violence .
I was born in 1992. Now I must be 24 and I’m ending my 24 years. Kisses to everyone. I couldn’t. I couldn’t because people did not let me. I couldn’t work, I wanted to do stuff, I couldn’t…You get me? They impeded with me many times; they made me suffer a lot. I leave everyone alone with God and now I’m going to the Bosphorus Bridge. Kisses to all, God bless you .
Conflicts of Interest
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Engin, C. LGBT in Turkey: Policies and Experiences. Soc. Sci. 2015, 4, 838-858. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci4030838
Engin C. LGBT in Turkey: Policies and Experiences. Social Sciences. 2015; 4(3):838-858. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci4030838Chicago/Turabian Style
Engin, Ceylan. 2015. "LGBT in Turkey: Policies and Experiences" Social Sciences 4, no. 3: 838-858. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci4030838