Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Turkey: Another victim in the undeclared war on transgender women

Via Kocaeli Gazetesi, Mynet Haber and Haber 27 comes the sad news of the murder on Monday afternoon (13 February 2012) of Melda Yuksel in Kocaeli, Turkey.

As I understand it, Melda - a 26-year old transgender woman - met her younger brother Murat at a building site to ask his advice on some construction work she had commissioned. It seems that a conversation after the site meeting somehow escalated into an argument between the two about sexual orientation/gender identity, during which Mr Yuksel pulled out a gun and shot Melda five times. She died of her injuries at the scene of the shooting.

Neighbours reported hearing gunfire and officers from the County Police Department were on the scene within minutes, where Mr Yuksel was taken into custody with the gun still in his possession. The police investigation continues.

As regular readers of this blog will know, I believe that murders like this are part of a larger pattern of violence and discrimination against TS/TG people in Turkey and it's disheartening to have to repeat myself yet again:

TS/TG people are human, just like cis people. We have the same civil liberties and human rights as cis people. We're just another face in the crowd, someone you pass on the street every day. And yet, time and again, we are subjected to bigotry and violence simply because we exist. But being TS/TG is not some "lifestyle choice"; it isn't something we can leave at home when we go out into the world each day. And neither is it anything for cis people to react to, not with fear, not with hatred - and especially not with violence.

Transphobia is everywhere and it's way past time that cis people understood this and began to act accordingly, to show us the same respect that they automatically demand for themselves.

The answer is in their hands, not ours.

Cis people, you have to stop the transphobic violence, and you have to stop it now.

I extend my condolences to Melda's loved ones on their sad loss of yet another victim in the apparently endless undeclared war on transgender women in Turkey.


Photo of Melda from Mynet Haber

Thanks to Kemal Ordek, Secretary General of Pembe Hayat for the heads-up

Cross-posted from Bird of Paradox

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