The Parliament of Turkey yesterday helped mark international Transgender Day of Remembrance with a special press event in which parliament staff were joined by LGBT activists to discuss the ongoing situation for transgender individuals living in Turkey.
The event was held by leading members of Turkey’s opposition Republican Party and aimed to draw attention to the situation of the country’s Transgender population.
Transgender Day of Remembrance was initially declared as an international day to remember the victims of transphobic attack who had been killed across the world and is now largely used to commemorate as well as advocate for the rights of transgender individuals, who are among the most persecuted people worldwide in terms of violence and lack of opportunity and support.
On the subject of persecution towards trans individuals Republican Party deputy Mahmut Tanal said “All people are born free and equal with regard to honor and rights. Crimes directed against trans citizens should be considered hate crimes”.
Tanal and the LGBT activists invited to the event also used the opportunity to call upon the Turkish authorities to do more to protect transgender individuals. According to one activist at the event over 200 trans individuals have been killed worldwide because of their gender-identities, leading many Turkish activists to label the issue as a political concern.
The event comes shortly after a prominent member of Turkey’s LGBT community was found dead following a suspected murder.
Although the situation for LGBT individuals in Turkey is seen as worrying by the international community the country is many years ahead of its less-progressive neighbors in the Caucasus region. Despite widespread persecution and commonly negative attitudes towards the transgender community some transgender individuals living in Turkey manage to live normal and happy lives. Turkey also has a significantly higher level of transgender visibility than in Armenia, Georgia or Azerbaijan, with a much higher number of openly transgender individuals and even an openly trans member of government and an openly trans television reporter.
The event, held yesterday, is the first of its kind in Turkey and has been seen as a positive step forward by the Turkish LGBT community.