Trans woman Sinem Kuzucan knew she was different from the other students in high school and so did they. It was very bad but she persevered with the help of a math teacher.
"I finished high school with his help and I went to Istanbul. I worked as a sex worker in Istanbul for two years. You do not have any other choice as a runaway child. You don’t have any other example either, all trans people do this. This was 20 years ago, so there were no rights or any recognized organizations. Your existence or non-existence is barely noticed. It is a dead-end."
This was before the Internet so communication between trans people was limited to personal conversations and long before the world became aware of the inhuman conditions that the Turkish government forces on their transgender citizens.
After two years of living on the street Ms Kuzucan decided she had enough, cut her hair and was accepted to a university. But even with her attempts to physically conform to the gender binary her academic studies were difficult as it was apparent to students she was transgender. They would not sit with her at the lunch table.
Her teachers were even worse. Calling her weekly to meet and slamming the door in her face. Literally.
Eventually she graduated and was employed as a teacher but this was only the beginning of her struggles..
We are taught by society that there is either man or woman. In my teaching job, even though I am a trans person, I was forced to tell the same story about the nuclear family to my students. This is how it was taught to us as well. Egalitarian legal regulations are important for transforming these discriminative attitudes. If this society is in its current situation due to monotypic laws and regulations, then it can be transformed through new regulations. We should start with the law. When it comes to trans murders, they reduced penalties on the pretext of provocation for years. In the past, trans murderers would be sentenced to two years or they would not be punished at all. Now at least they are sentenced to fifteen years. As laws become more egalitarian, society will have to adapt with time. Temporal periods are never easy.
By reading her full heart wrenching yet inspiring story here you are committing a powerful act of advocacy. You are helping to bridge the link, making sure our Turkish trans family is no longer cut off from the world by linguistics, religions or governmental oppression.
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