• The Turkish government accuses transsexuals and gays of being immoral and terrorists in their country, in a growing homophobic rhetoric

  • Transsexual women live without any protection, with a constant threat of being assaulted, raped or murdered with total impunity

Kesken came out of one discotheque to go to another, in the center of istanbulwhen it all happened. was the past May 4that two in the morning, with the good weather starting in the city, and she and her friends wanted to celebrate.

A policeman he stopped the group in the street. She, Kesken, was the only transsexual. They started calling her “bitch”. to grab her They took her. In Police stationThey put her in a separate room. “I was touched everywhere. they hit me with a stick in the face. A policeman took me to the bathroom. He filled a dirty garbage bag with water. He hit me on the back. One rubbed me on the floor. Blood. I they broke their nose. they touched me They told me that they apologize. I refused, I screamed. She hadn’t done anything. They only let me leave when I apologized & rdquor ;, explains Kesken between sobs, searching every word of a background that he does not want to revisit, recent, still alive in his head.

“Since then I have scared when i go out. I can’t walk alone. I walk with a pepper spray in the hand. If someone touches me I tremble. I look at my back constantly. It is very hard. Saying it is easy. My friends support me, but they will never understand all that I suffer & rdquor ;, says Kesken.

Kesken has 25 yearsshe is beautiful, tall, a little less than a year ago she changed sex and she is one of the few Turkish transsexuals who is lucky: her family, she explains, was sad, she cried, now they see her as a stranger, but his mother no longer calls him son but daughter; her nephew, aunt, and she is proud. “I love my country, Turkey. I respect her. But this society rejects us. It is very hard to have to live in your own country as if you were a refugee”, says Kesken, who assures that the great fault of everything that happens is the government, which directs society where it wants. And they, the transsexuals —also the homosexuals— pay the consequences.

change of course

everything started to change in 2016. Until that year, every June, Istanbul dressed in rainbows to celebrate pride monthand the executive of the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoganwas shown to the world as a government conservative and islamistyes, but tolerant.

That year, however, Erdogan’s party allied itself with a ultranationalist formation. The repression against opponents and opponents increased; the space for public complaint started to shrink.

That alliance continues, and where Erdogan, a few decades ago, said that homosexuals had as many rights as everyone else, now his government speaks of them as “terrorists”, “immoral” and “rotten”. A few days ago, the Turkish Interior Minister complained that Western embassies are trying “take off our genders and become LGBT”.

“In this country, if someone doesn’t think like them, they’re a terrorist. For the love of God. Where is the terrorism in wanting fight for equality between people? Someone explain it to me! & rdquor ;, he says ecea transsexual in her fifties who is dedicated to wrestling in defense of rights of transsexuals in Turkey.

“We are cut off access to work. All doors are closed to us, and the vast majority of us end up having to prostitute ourselves against our will. I was forced to do it. I lived four years on the street. I had to do it. She had to survive. I sold my body to survive & rdquor ;, explains Ece.

Without alternatives

Kesken, she says, is forced to do the same: she works as escort even though it has studies, who has taken job courses, who has knocked on all possible doors. They all close in his face.

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“It is very difficult for us to get a normal job because we are transsexuals, and it is something that can be seen. This leads to problems a society in which we are not acceptedin which, as I say, we are refugees, and where we are always exposed to abuse. And if a problem arises, the ones to blame for what happened before the police will always be us. we are always lower in the eyes of society. This, of course, also happens to women, not just transsexual women & rdquor ;, explains Kesken.

“In the end, my only goal is that in my identity card is the k of kadin (woman In turkish). This is my dream, and marry a man who loves me. It’s the only thing I want & rdquor ;, says Kesken.


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