Turkish transgender actor called to army
ISTANBULTurkish transgender actor Rüzgar Erkoçlar was called to perform his military service after undergoing gender reassignment surgery.
Erkoçlar, who announced last year that he was transgender and replacing his name Rüzgar with Nil, wrote on his blog that he had been called up to the Turkish army.
“After the [gender] change, then came the invitation to army!” he wrote. “Amid all the psychiatric process, hormone process, name change, a series of operations, while the situation is challenging and requiring emotional adaptation, it should not be made any more difficult. People working in those areas should be better informed. It should not be us directing them; it should be them directing us.”
Erkoçlar said that when his gender was changed from female to male, he then had to take a series of tests to get a report to be exempt from doing military service.
“Finally a committee gives you ‘He is not suitable for military service’ report,” he said. “How can we be suitable for military service when we have undergone a series of operations?”
In Turkey, every man over 18 is legally bound to perform mandatory military service. The army’s own health committees give “not suitable” reports only to men with health problems, disabilities or to those who are homosexuals. However, a homosexual is asked to “prove” that he is gay and is required to take several tests, which have been criticized by several organizations, including Human Rights Watch, for being “humiliating and degrading.”
“There are many things that need to be fixed in our system,” Erkoçlar wrote in his blog. “We are here, get used to it.