We had a very special interview with transgender woman Oyku.
When and how did you know that you were a transgender individual?
In fact, as soon as we enter puberty, we begin to understand the differences in us. But it takes time to put a description of it. In the past, homosexuality and transsexuality were not much talked about. We are the people of a period that started to explore homosexuality with Zeki Müren and transsexuality with Bülent Ersoy. Now thanks to technology LGBTI it doesn’t take much time for individuals to discover themselves. Of course, this is the door for them to be able to do the transformation at an early age. We were forced to notice ourselves, but I was still lucky for many of my friends. I started to discover myself during the secondary school period, I could say that I am a trans woman in the university period.
Did your family have any support?
-Turkey get the family support in not easy conditions. At first, I had a hard time expressing myself to my family. But I was lucky that I had a family trying to understand me. And they’ve always been there for me. I’m one of the lucky trans people in the family. I still have strong ties with my family.
When, why and how did you start LGBTI activism?
– My injustices were so painful! And the injustices experienced by my trans friends around me were so great! The urge to resist, the urge to stop injustice triggers you, and it blossoms from somewhere. We first got a magazine called Spartacus in Bursa. But as a result of the prints did not last long. Of course, during these periods, I participated in LGBTI organizations in Istanbul and Ankara. In this period, the violence of the police and the violence of the people in the streets were extremely rare. Our friends were beaten and subjected to violence. And now it was so intolerable that something had to be done. In this process, we have done our first collective action by leading my friends, in front of the Police and with the first press release. Then the first Transgender activism by building on 20th March, 2006 in Turkey and addressing the Bursa Rainbow Association Transgender LGBT rights on legal step I took.
In Bursa, you established the first LGBTI association in Bursa and what kind of activities did you conduct in this association? Which projects did you implement?
-BURSA LGBT Rainbow Association is seen as completely minorities when setting up our goal, we have established with the aim to fight for the rights of Turkey completely legal according to the laws of our association floors. Of course we establish our association in Bursa, and then we find a place with a constant sense of right action always with continuous sitting on Turkey’s agenda as a result of close dialogue. For example, we applied to İŞKUR against the statement of the state administrators who said that they should not make sex work for trans women like every human being. We gathered money among ourselves and opened a cafe where LGBTT individuals work under the name of GÜLLÜM KAHVE. I found that injustice was made by us, I filed a criminal complaint about these officials and they were sentenced, but our workplace was not opened.
We also provided language training, literacy course, handicraft course and most importantly psychological and legal support to the illiterate. In this process, Bursa Nilufer Municipality agreed to give us a place from the marketplace, but we could sell our own products but the governor and a minister prevented it.
Turkey’s first official permission 1. Turkish homosexuals have organized a march on 6 August 2006, is a date. But unfortunately, this march was provoked by the fans of Bursaspor and great events happened. After these events, international institutions have reached to the associations that are still present to support us. But we knew about it later. They also benefited from financial support for us. We did not receive any financial support from any institution and organization during the process of the association. In all of our work, I met most of the items myself and some of them were provided with membership dues and voluntary donations.
Can you tell us about the process that led you to go to Thailand?
Activists and associations in Turkey is not so much, although it is unfortunately almost the only one who can express themselves and also that the struggle for rights. For this reason, I was often in the press with our various activities. At the same time in 2007, the first independent lawmaker from Turkey’s candidacy was vetoed by the YSK .Fakat I announced my candidacy from Bursa me why I raised with criminal fines. Then CHP Bursa deputy A. Candidacy was in the year 2011, and then in 2013 in the local elections. After 2011, I was elected as the Bursa Province and Osmangazi district delegate, and in 2013 I entered the district council with the highest votes among women.
Of course, in this process, local, national and international news appeared in the press. And the forces that are disturbed by the existence of LGBTI individuals have taken action. We have been sued for how to silence this woman and destroy it with the claim of 4,770 years. I was imprisoned for 28 months. Later on the search conditions in Turkey no longer deserves the first Brazilian to be possible, I believe, from there I moved to Thailand.
What do you do in Thailand, how do you live?
Of course it is not easy for a trans woman to start a new life in a new country. The money you have is running out after a certain time. early in this process, I have lived my life by giving guidance to people coming from Turkey. I also had rent income. In this process, I trained myself and started to work in a private hospital. I’m the head of department at the hospital where I work. And I was promoted to serve as general manager in our newly opened hospital.
How is life for LGBTI individuals in Thailand? Is it a country that can be called free enough for LGBTI individuals?
-Thailand has a distinct tolerance with the influence of Buddhism culture. Of course, this tolerance is not the same in all Buddhist countries. Like Islam, Buddhism is different in countries. In Thailand, being homosexual or being transgender is not socially strange. A peer or trans can do any profession. Doctor, stewardess, police … can do anything. Nobody would even look back.
I think it’s one of the most tolerant countries in the world. But of course there are some shortcomings. For example, even if a transgender woman changes gender, her official name and identity do not change. They do not have legal special laws, but they also have many rights. But I think there are laws to be enacted.
Do you think the return to Turkey?
I think -Türkiye to arrive, of course, but not now. Justice should come to my country, freedom of thought should come to my country, people in my country should be equal so that I can return to my country. Unfortunately, my country is getting worse every day. People are flocking to Turkey abandoned asylum in other countries. Perhaps never in history did not migrate this far Turkey. We’re going back on human rights. In the past Turkey’s interests as a special guest on all national channels I live broadcast. Now there is little or no LGBTI news or issues. They look at us like the plague. I don’t think we have security.
As a matter of fact, the statements of the Interior Minister on this issue and the statements of some religious groups trigger LGBTI hostility. However, the rulers of my country should support all sectors. LGBTI individuals were not citizens of the Republic of Turkey from space. But unfortunately my country LGBTI individuals have no value until Syrian refugees who migrated to Turkey, unfortunately. Here are all of these reasons I were in Turkey, even now I come or even think that my opportunity to make my struggle for human rights.
I think that justice and democratic rights have been suspended. I do not think that this process will end soon. But I will certainly return to my country, oppressed, despised, not put in place of human being, most importantly, I will continue to return to my LGBTI friends who do not have the right to live humanly. These days will surely pass. The republic founded by Atatürk is a secular and democratic country founded on solid foundations. As in the past, not the reaction will gain light.
Going about sharing your critical LGBT associations in Turkey .. what you want from the association?
-TURKEY associations in Europe and the US as the country and millions of dollars they received from the consulates of these countries that I criticized the AKP’s interior minister confirmed Süleyman Soylu, said 20 million dollars. I don’t make it up, but I’m the only one who makes strong criticisms of this issue, which has sounded strongly for years.
If you pay attention, the people who work in these associations and the salary earners are always the same people. It hasn’t changed in years.
And they do a few seminars apart from a few fake events and distribute condoms. Many of our trans friends are killed, sick, arrested. In spite of these millions of dollars, I support more people through the facebook group called Trans Solidarity Emergency Aid.
A lot of help, such as writing a free petition, providing a free lawyer, raising money for friends in distress, treating someone with a drug problem. But these associations do not act this way. They are not incapable of giving legal support to a trans and are not in a difficult situation.
So why are these associations getting these million dollars ???
Is this money only given to a few association managers to live in luxury?
At the same time, LGBTI associations are not only established for Kurdish LGBTI people.
So why didn’t these associations claim the cases of people who suffered injustice like Eylül Cansın? They didn’t claim it because it wasn’t Kurdish?
However, these associations have been supporting Pınar Selek, who is a non-LGBTI bazaar defendant, for months and still. A Ahmet Yildiz does not value as much for this association of trans women.
Since the AKP came, these associations have hardly even heard voices, but they are taking money. More importantly, they do their best to keep the money they receive from LGBTI individuals. They don’t release their financial reports. Unfortunately, LGBTI individuals in our country are unconscious about these issues. They do not seek the right of the Turkish people.
However, these millions of dollars received by these associations are not given so that only a few associations can receive salaries as much as the executive president. All Turkish for LGBT given. I am against this injustice or I am not against associations.
LGBT associations in Turkey at the moment there is almost a monopolization of the so-called civil society organizations and institutions, which in this case was the rant door. The assets of those working in these associations and their relatives of 1,2,3 degrees should be investigated for 20 years.
Why did the members of these associations fleeing abroad defected? These should be seriously investigated. And associations have been set up for LGBTI rights, not to be the backyard of any political formation or for separatism.
The oldest association has existed for 20 years and the executives are always the same people. What these associations as they obtained the rights for LGBTI individuals in Turkey? What are these acquisitions? These associations want a world without a pimp without a boss. Why don’t they fight for rights in labor laws?
I think what I’m trying to say is clear enough. Any person who already runs the logic can notice them. Nobody needs to say anything.
When work began to be done in Turkey activism for LGBT activism OUT OF MONEY then in Turkey. Activism is for the struggle for voluntary rights, not for money. Activism should not be done as civil servant or private sector labor.
I hope that one day that it FUND MONEY institutions giving off that tap the interests of young LGBT individuals volunteer to do real activism in Turkey.
Like fossilized politicians in political parties, fossilized exploitist activist decay disappears from the exploiters.
Despite everything, I also will change the history of youth from umutluyum.türki trans activists.
We thank you.