Turkey’s most famous transgender diva Bülent Ersoy gets ‘Chinese-Asian sister’
Even though she comes from a very different culture and tradition, Wongsoy says she sees herself as the 'Chinese-Asian' sister of the Turkish diva and has a lot of respect for her.Turkey’s beloved transgender singer Bülent Ersoy may not be a global star, but she nevertheless has many followers all across the world and even one impersonator: A Singaporen artist living in Berlin and known for her alias Bülent Wongsoy.
Even though she comes from a very different culture and tradition, Wongsoy says she sees herself as the “Chinese-Asian” sister of the Turkish diva and has a lot of respect for her.
Wongsoy dresses, sings and makes albums just like Bülent Ersoy. She even appeared in a photo shot, this time impersonating the iconic “Women in Red” from Turkey’s Gezi Park protests. But instead of tear gas, the person dressed as a police officer is holding a hair spray can in the photo.
“I first discovered Bülent Ersoy when I moved to Berlin six years ago. I live in Kreuzberg and most of my friends and neighbors are Turkish. This is why I started to take an interest in Turkish culture. Then my friends showed me the music of Bülent Ersoy and Zeki Müren,” Wongsoy said in a recent interview.
Müren is another classic Turkish singer known for his unique voice and eccentric personality. He used to appear with make-up and female accessories at a time when homosexuality was a huge taboo in the country, but did not undergo an operation to change his gender like Ersoy.
“Ersoy’s life story gave me inspiration. She has struggled against many difficulties throughout her life just to become the person that she wanted to be. She is still a very interesting individual, always in the center of debates,” Wongsoy said, adding that she even taught her mother how to sing, “Biz Ayrılamayız” (We cannot leave each other).
‘Turning tear gas to hair spray’
Wongsoy also explains that his pictures, which make references to the Gezi protests, were a way to give support to the protesters by turning her character into a superhero.
“Wongsoy has the power of turning tear gas to hair spray. Good humor and beauty are the best weapons against pressure and hopelessness. The artists’ duty is to provide those,” Wongsoy said.
She also recalled her disillusionment when she saw that the Maxim Music Hall, where Ersoy and many others used to perform at in the 1970s and 1980s, no longer existed, during a trip to Istanbul four years ago.
But she is nevertheless hopeful that she can perform in front of the Turkish public one day. “My dream is to give a concert in Turkey as Bülent Wongsoy,” she said.