A Turkish trans activist known as Figen has this week reported to have taken her own life following long-running harassment and persecution.
Figen, a member of the the LGBT group ‘7 colours’ was a former board of directors member of Pembe Hayat, Turkey’s first transgender rights organisation.
Figen was previously the victim of abuse at the hands of Turkish police officers that was described as ‘torture’ by some LGBT groups. On the 22nd of July Figen and other trans women were attacked by police wielding batons and tear gas after police deemed the small group to be disturbing the peace while waiting peacefully at a bus stop.
After the group was released from custody an appeal was denied, with police claiming that no such incident occurred.
A recent escalation in violence towards trans people has thought to have contributed to Figen’s suicide. In her local town several recent reports of gang-violence towards trans women have been reported.
Officials from a small coalition of LGBT groups are now attempting to reach her family in order to claim the remains of the activist. Figen’s family did not accept her gender identity and concerns have been raised that her memory will not be respected fully.
Figen’s body was recovered on the coast of the town of Mersin late on the evening of August 24th. It is currently believed that she died after drowning herself.