Transphobic Attacks in Turkey Reach Epidemic Levels



Seven transwomen have been stabbed in the first two weeks of May alone, according to transgender advocates in Turkey. On  2 May a transwoman named Gülşen was stabbed in her home by two men wielding a knife and a skewer. She remains in critical condition following surgery. Gülşen, a sex worker as are many low-income transwomen in Turkey, met the suspects through her work.

That same night, a second transwoman was brought to the hospital at around 6AM with a gunshot wound, according to people who were there in support of Gülşen.

Both of these attacks occurred in the city of Şişli.

Also that night, in the city of Izmir, a transwoman was stabbed by multiple suspects, none of whom have been identified, according to LGBTI News. The same day, in Kocaeli, a transwoman was attacked in a home she shared with two other transgender women, which put her in hospital with leg injuries.

A trans sex worker named Ipek was stabbed, beaten, and left to die in a orange grove in Mersin Grove. Ankara progressive news site reported. She had agreed to terms with two male clients who forced her into their car, drove her to the grove where she was viciously attacked and left. She was found by farm hands who work in the grove and rushed to Mersin Government Hospital. She is listed in critical condition with fractured bones in her face and several deep wounds.

The week of 16 May two other transwomen were attacked on the same night in Istanbul in crimes possibly related to their occupations as sex workers, according to LGBTI News Turkey.

One woman, identified as Migel, was attacked in her home in Findikzade, sustaining deep lacerations to several parts of her body. In Işil, five men attacked another transwoman walking on a street, breaking her jaw.

After the attacks on 2 May, over 100 protesters gathered in Ankara to protest the lack of national attention over the rash of violence against transwomen. They were also angered by the 7 April attack on a woman named Bihter, where several mean nearly cut off her left hand in an attempt to steal her wedding ring. When Bihter reported her attack to Police and the Ministry of Justice, the authorities were reportedly apathetic and have made no progress in the case.

“We know that hate attacks [against LGBTI people]have a political base. The state that wants to introduce transgender-only prisons should instead take necessary precautions against hate attacks,” Turkish trans rights activist Dehmat Aksoy told Dicle News Agency at the May 4 rally, adding that the recent rash of violence “prove[s]that transphobic violence is everywhere.”

“The heterosexual patriarchal mentality that ignores LGBTI people is being used every day by the state,” she continued. “LGBTI and sex workers, who are victims of this mentality, are struggling for their lives every day.”

LGBTI news reports that arrests have been made in only one of the attacks, the one on Migel. Multiple suspects were arrested.


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Wynternight is the nom de plume of an Alaskan woman who loves the long, cold, and dark Alaska Winters. She's a fan of movies, music of all kinds and by all kinds she means metal, and various TV shows. She writes fantasy, sci-fi, and horror fiction of dubious quality and hopes to figure out what she wants to do when she grows up. Right now she works as a nurse, which she enjoys, but would much rather make a living as a black metal vocalist and guitar player.

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