A shelter that began in 2013 in Istanbul, Turkey is providing a safe place for transgender residents in the area. LGBT people in Turkey have struggled throughout the years with discrimination; transgender people are not only discriminated but are often victims of hate crimes. Although hate crimes are actually illegal in Turkey, it doesn’t include crimes against people targeted for their sexual orientation or gender identity. According to Transgender Europe, Turkey has the highest case of transgender murders in Europe and the Middle East. The transgender population struggles to find work and often have to resort to becoming a sex worker because nowhere will hire them. Erbru Kiranci, a well known Turkey LGBT activist, was inspired to open the shelter years ago but didn’t have the proper funding until 2013 after being part a documentary to help her do so. The LGBT community has grown and united greatly since the 1980’s, when police would raid the homes of trans people and torture them, but prejudice is still a huge concern. Last year, over 15,000 supporters marched in honor of ending violence against transgender people at the Trans Pride march in Istanbul. Kivilcim Arat, another young transgender activist, described their constant battle as “being in war” with Turkey. She wants those who commit violence against transgender people to be prosecuted and transgender sex workers to be recognized.
It’s extremely disheartening to me that the LGBT community is still struggling this much today in countries like Turkey. I can only hope that one day, those who commit violence acts against transgender people will be prosecuted. Not only should transgender sex workers should be recognized, since prostitution is legal in Turkey, but trans people shouldn’t have to resort to prostitution because employers won’t hire them.
February 5, 2015