Turkey's gays, transsexuals decry increasing homophobia

Published: April 3, 2010

Turkey’s gays, transsexuals decry increasing homophobia

ISTANBUL — When Turkey’s family affairs minister recently described homosexuality as a curable disease, she was roundly criticized for discrimination and flouting human rights.

But for activists her remarks only underscore what they say is increasing prejudice, discrimination and violence — even from police — against homosexuals and transgender people in this Muslim-majority country stuck between its conservative roots and flourishing modernism.

A total of 45 gays and transgender people were killed over three years in "hate murders", said Demet Demir, a transsexual and leading activist from Istanbul-LGBTT, a civic body promoting homosexual rights.

"In February alone, five people were killed. In Antalya (southern Turkey), a transsexual friend was brutally murdered; her throat was slit.

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