Not even one transsexual person that I know died of natural causes

Published: August 22, 2013

 Source: Cank?z Çevik, “Tan?d???m transseksüellerden biri bile eceliyle ölmedi,” (“Not even one transsexual person that I know died of natural causes,”) Türkiye’den ?iddet Hikayeleri, 30 July 2013, http://www.siddethikayeleri.com/tanidigim-transseksuellerden-biri-bile-eceliyle-olmedi/

 
Trans woman and sex worker Dora Özer was stabbed to death at her home in Ku?adas? on July 9, 2013. About 20 days later, another hate killing took place in ?stanbul: a trans woman named Gaye was murdered also at her own home. Even after this series of deaths, hate crimes are still not on the government’s agenda. Demet Yanarda? from the Black Pink Triangle ?zmir Association talked to “Violence Stories From Turkey” about Dora, about trans murders that are “ordinary” in the eyes of the media and the public, and about the justice system that absolves these murders by maintaining their silence.
 
I met Dora 6 or 7 years ago, when I first came to ?zmir from Çanakkale. At that point the circumstances in ?zmir were horrible because Hüseyin Çapk?n was the commissioner. Hüseyin Çapk?n was someone who believed that he was restoring order by oppressing people just like Hortum Süleyman who tormented people in Beyo?lu a while ago.
 
 
 
How was the general atmosphere regarding LGBT people in ?zmir in mid 2000’s?
 
In that period, transsexuals were getting picked up by the police even at daytime and they would be kept waiting in police stations and were tortured. Because of the police’s point system and the  Misdemeanor Law, they would fine us repeatedly during the same day. I was taken into custody with my sweatsuit on, coming back from the grocery carrying yoghurt, bread and a pack of cigarettes. When they could not find trans people on the streets, they would come to our doors in order to score points and yell “give us a girl.” After the cancellation of the point system we were able to walk around more comfortably, at least during daytime. Dora came to ?zmir at a time like this, when she was just 18 or 19.
 
How did Dora build a life in this city after she arrived in ?zmir?
 
She was so young. She did not have career options because of her gender identity so she worked as a sex worker. Because of the constant fines, she had to go out on the streets to work more. You know the saying “where logic ends, soldiery begins,” it is actually not like that because where logic ends the state begins. And these fines are a vicious circle. Some of my friends describe these fines as “taxation” but if you are fined while you are just walking on the street during the day it is extortion and nothing else!
 
When did Dora decide to go to Ku?adas? and why?
 
She was taken to the Public Security and Morality Bureau and her fingerprints were taken, she was labeled. She was kept until the morning and the fines were too much for her. At last she said, “I cannot make it in ?zmir, not only I am unable to build a life here, I am running into debt even more” and settled in Ku?adas?. It had been 3 or 4 years since she had left but we never lost communication. She had a new circle of friends in Ku?adas? and she built a life there. She would visit us in ?zmir from time to time. During her visits we would reminisce about our good times together. Though death is a very common thing for us, we could not have guessed that death would find her in Ku?adas? after she had run away from the pressures of ?zmir.
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