17/03/2023 | Writer: Yıldız Tar

What should a trans woman do to live in this country without being subjected to attacks targeting her human dignity? This country doesn’t offer you an alternative except being a “trans woman” whether you are a sex worker on Bayram Street or you are rich and want to set up a work.

Selin Ciğerci and the dignity mangle Kaos GL - News Portal for LGBTI+

What should a trans woman do to live in this country without being subjected to attacks targeting her human dignity? What is necessary for her to live like an ordinary woman and be treated like them?

When we consider Selin Ciğerci’s experiences, we realize there are no answers to these questions. Being rich, being a philanthropist, getting married, getting divorced, trying not to be in the public eye, not adopting an “extravagant” lifestyle, not being a sex worker, adopting a child, taking up business… None of these protected Selin Ciğerci from being subjected to transphobia. She always fell short.

Selin Ciğerci, whose even breathing makes waves, was subjected to a lynch attempt when she recently set up a shop in Konya, her father’s hometown. Sowing dragon’s teeth by targeting on social media, the incidents went on with scenes reminiscent Madımak massacre[1]. Whereas having seen the reactions on social media, Selin Ciğerci shared a video on her accounts to express her sorrow. May be she hoped to be understood by the “horny minority”.

Unfortunately, it didn’t work out the way she had hoped.

They gave Ciğerci a cold welcome with Allahuekber slogans in Konya, her father’s hometown. They said: “Go away!” They attempted to march towards the beauty center set up by her. Why? Because Ciğerci is a trans woman. Even if the attackers insistently call her gay and use her old name to disregard her womanhood…

This is neither the first nor the last time that Ciğerci has been subjected to this kind of discrimination. Formerly, when she adopted a child, the Ministry of Family and Social Policies had taken action faster than greased lightning. We are talking about the Ministry, which said “That is not our business” regarding the children who were lost or given to the sects after the earthquake. Fortunately, she adopted a child from a country that is not in the Ministry's jurisdiction and they could not take her child away from her.

Since they are lack of satisfaction despite all they did against Ciğerci, they also badgered her husband Gökhan Çıra when they were married, From not being accepted by a football team to insulting during matches…

A short time before the last lynch attempt, in another city, Bayram Street was sealed once again in İstanbul. Don’t say “What is the connection?”, the connection is quite obvious. Sealing has become a routine on Bayram Street, where sex worker trans women live. Attacks to sex worker trans women are gradually increasing all over the country. To cap it all, there is a deepening poverty in the country.

Years ago, when an activist friend of mine had told me that inevitable sex work was the main reason for the majority of problems experienced by trans women, it had not sit right with me. Unfortunately we witness that it is not right over and over again.

It is true that sex work, just like all professions pushed into informal economy, leads precarious work and offers conditions open to violence. However you are the finger of the blame as a trans woman whether you are a sex worker or not.

This country doesn’t offer you an alternative except being a “trans woman” whether you are a sex worker on Bayram Street or you are rich and want to set up a work. Various actors, depending on period and place, line up by shouting “Hit the whore!” These actors are sometimes police, sometimes doctors, and sometimes crowds who stand to attention for lynch as in the case of Selin Ciğerci.

Although lynch attempts firstly against Amedspor, then against Selin Ciğerci make us to think whether someone pull the trigger on something; there is a difference between the two. Following the lynch attempt targeting Amedspor, the third party of the Assembly made a statement. Amedspor has a great public support behind. However Selin Ciğerci is alone. Despite all her wealth and friends from the media and art world, she is alone.

Because Selin Ciğerci is a trans woman. That is why is alone.

Going back to the questions at the beginning of this article, in this country it is clear that whatever trans women do is a misdemeanor, and whatever they do is a crime. Moreover it is not a legally determined crime. It is a crime determined by the most brutal and unwritten traditions of the society. Trans women are fit into a dignity mangle. They are gradually squeezing. When they get rid of and cry out, courts are established and punishments are meted out.

In this country existence of a trans woman is a problem, not what she does. It doesn’t matter whether she is a sex worker, business woman, or a singer. Each of them are temporary titles but they are never made to forget being a trans woman. In order to remind them that they are trans women, the authorities sometimes seal their houses, people sometimes kill them, sometimes don’t allow them in a venue, sometimes attempt to lynch. It all depends on the luck of the draw…

Translation: Selma Koçak

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[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sivas_massacre

Tags: human rights, women