A member of the LGBT+ group Pembe Hayat (Pink Life) was this week barred from entering the Turkish parliament building due to an incident related to her gender-identity.
Buse Kılıçkaya, who identifies as transgender, was visiting the building to attend a meeting on LGBT rights in Turkey when she was stopped by security and asked to use another entrance designated for men only.
The incident arose when security guards noticed Kılıçkaya’s identity card, which identified her as male, despite her actual gender-identity. Because of this the building’s security decided that Ms Kılıçkaya should be treated as a man during security checks and so she was asked to enter via the male-only entrance.
Kılıçkaya reports that this is the first incident of its kind and that such a request has never been made to her, despite the fact that she has visited the government building several times as part of her work.
Further upset came after Kılıçkaya refused to use an alternative entrance due to the fact that she did not wish to be searched by a male guard. “I would consider it sexual harassment”, she later told journalists.
Kılıçkaya later spoke to Turkish LGBT group Kaos GL on the subject, in which she described the initial confusion the guards faced stating “the officers did not know how to handle the situation”.
This case raised several questions among Turkey’s LGBT community, especially on the subject of gender-identity and legal recognition. Although trans individuals in Turkey have the right to change their legal gender they can only obtain that right with official permission and in most cases onlyafter sex-change surgery.
The news of Ms. Kılıçkaya’s ordeal comes just days after prominent trans advocate and journalist Michelle Demishevich was fired from her role on national television.