09 July 2013

Dora Ozer Murdered In Her Home

Seven years ago, I spent almost a month in Turkey.  I hope to return one day:  There is so much art and architectural achievement, history and natural beauty there.  The food is also great, and the people are the most hospitable and friendly I've met in my travels.

Because of what I've just said about the people, it breaks my heart to read about hate violence in Turkey even more than it pains me to read of such things in other places.  But it seems that transgender people incur violence, and are killed, with alarming frequency in Turkey.

I hasten to add that at no time did I feel that I was in any danger when I was there.  Then again, having spent so much of my life in New York (parts of it in tough neighborhoods), I am alert to my surroundings and the things unscrupulous people try.  Also, I am not boasting when I say that some people--men in particular--were simply intrigued by me.  Although I was there early in my transition, some men--and I have been assured of this by some Turkish men I've met in this country--were inerested in me because I am fair-skinned, more-or-less blonde and taller than about 95 percent of the women there.  Two men engaged in unsavory behavior, but the others were gentlemanly.  

So I can't help but to think that I was lucky or something when I read about the violence against transgender women in that country.  

What makes the killing of Dora Ozer even worse is that it happened right in her home, and her body was found by her housemate.  

In spite of her killing, and others of trans people, the Turkish government says it has no plans to prosecute, let alone pass legislation against, crimes committed on the basis of sexual idenity or gender orientation.  I'd like to hold out some kind of hope but, from what I've been hearing and reading, the government is slipping into the hands of Islamic fundamentalists.  Given that Turkey has long been, arguably, the most secular Muslim-majority country, I can only fear for LGBT people in the Middle East in its neighboring countries.

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