Transgender sex worker sues Interior Ministry after police fine her for ‘causing disturbance’
İsmail Saymaz ISTANBUL - Radikal
People wave rainbow flags during the Istanbul Gay Parade. AFP Photo / Ozan KöseA transgender sex worker has sued the Interior Ministry, after being fined by police officers on the grounds that she “caused disturbance."
The plaintiff, identified as T.T., was fined twice on April 24 and 25 after locals from the neighborhood in Ankara where she resides filed a complaint by phone to the police.
But both fines were canceled by two separate courts on the grounds that the act of “disturbing” did not have a legal definition. One of the courts also ruled “no fine can be imposed on mere abstract observation.”
T.T.’s lawyer, Ahmet Toköz, said they decided to open a lawsuit, arguing police officers were systematically trying to persecute transgender people for their gender identity.
“The police have not only unjustly fined my client, but have also taken her to the police post and restricted her freedom by detaining her,” said Toköz, noting police frequently fine transgender people for allegedly prostituting themselves.
He stressed no one can be fined on the grounds of prostitution in Turkey for waiting on the street according to the law.
“These officers have repeated their acts many times. My client, who has the right to live in her country as a free individual, feels that she was subjected to discrimination and her freedom restricted due to her gender identity, sexual orientation and the way she expresses her gender. She also thinks her security is under threat by the officers through using public force,” Toköz said.
The police’s attitude toward transgender people has been denounced frequently over the years.
Authorities are also often accused of impunity regarding cases involving violence against transgender people.