Turkey’s transgender queen says concept of heterosexuality is over
Aslı Barış HÜRRİYET / ISTANBUL
Yankı Bayramoğlu had won the 5th Transgender Beauty contest organized as part of the Pride Week.Yankı Bayramoğlu who won the 5th Transgender Beauty contest organized last week as part of the Pride Week said that the concept of heterosexuality is over, both in Turkey and in the world.
“The feelings that you experience are not a disease. They are not something that you can brush over. I am a very strong woman and I will not give up on myself just because men want me to. Even if I face harassment not only once but a thousand times, I will still be myself. Because I am a woman, that’s what I want to be and what I experience,” Bayramoğlu told daily Hürriyet in an interview.
A dancer and a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTI) activist, Bayramoğlu underwent a gender operation when she was aged 20 and then 21. Now, at 23 she participated for the first time in a Beauty pageant after her friends encouraged her to. She will now represent Turkey at an international contest that will be held in Thailand next November.
Bayramoğlu’s says that contrary to what many people’s perceptions, Turkey is quite open regarding people of transgender. She nevertheless stresses that some people’s openness does not turn into a social behavior.
“Everything is lived behind closed doors. I know many either famous or highly-ranked people, from the show-biz industry or Parliament, who live with their wives but have a transgender girlfriend. There are even people who live in a ménage à trois or even change their partners,” says Bayramoğlu. However, in a public setting people who are transgender or gay constantly receive insults on the streets or on social media.
“The media watchdog [Supreme Board of Radio and Television, RTÜK] exerts pressure on the media. There are bans. But, when you look around a little bit, we are everywhere. I know many transgender people who live secretly to avoid being under pressure in their social life,” she says.
“For example a transgender friend of mine has undergone a sex change operation and became a woman. She has a wife and kid, but they live in different cities. Her wife still doesn’t know that she is a woman.”
She also explained that with time, her family’s unfavorable opinion changed into support. Regarding surgeries, Bayramoğlu says that this should be accepted by society as normal.
“For me they were simple. I never thought of them as ‘it hurts me here and there.’ This should have been lived in some way or another. But those are important decisions whose results we will carry all of our lives,” she says.
Istanbul’s 12th pride week, which opened with the transgender march last week, is set to end with the always colorful Pride March on June 29.