‹LKER SOKAK (TV/TS COMMUNITY)

Transvestites and transsexuals of Istanbul who are not members of Lambda, except Demet Demir, experienced different problems that require a different investigation. The fact that they can not hide their orientations because of their dressing and behavior and that they live on prostitution makes them and their problems different from that of gays and lesbians.

The suppression and harassment applied by the police and the state is very obvious and requires no evidence. The only relief for them was to gain the right for sex-change operations and the right to get female identity card . The transvestites and transsexuals as being the direct target of state forces were caught by the police and sent to smaller towns by busses or to the Hospital of Sexual Diseases in 80s because they work as prostitutes.They were hit with iron bars and the police cut their hairs.The reaction came in 15 April of 1987. n1ahuman rights organizations came and showed support. Transvestites came together in Radical Democratic Green Party when they decided to devote themselves to struggle for sexual rights. Radical Democratic Green Party supported the hunger strike. After the hunger strike, there appeared neither an action nor a group composed of transvestites.

Demet Demir who lives in ‹lker Sokak since 1988 is the leading personality among transvestites and transsexuals in Istanbul and has been working in collaboration with various non governmental organizations for equal rights. She became a member of the Human Rights Organization in Istanbul where she worked on establishing a commission for sexual minorities. She and few of her transvestite and transsexual friends have also been working for two years for the Human Resources Development Foundation on ways of protection from sexual diseases.

The phenomenon of ‹lker Sokak in the case of transvestites and transsexuals needs great attention because what people lived in ‹lker Sokak reflects the attitude of the state and society against homosexuals. ‹lker Sokak is a small street where seventy transvestites and transsexuals used to live. There was always pressure by the police. The degree of it changed according to the head officers. In 1995 Suleyman Ulusoy, the team chief in Beyoglu was systematically torturing transgendered people. To protest the violations of transvestites and transsexuals, a meeting was held in ‹lker Sokak where Human Rights Association, AIDS prevention Foundation, ÷DP, Lambda Istanbul and Free Animal Platform came together. They read a press release in which they renounced the harassment of transvestites and transsexuals and requested people to join this struggle of non governmental organizations.

 

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