On behalf of November – The Transgender Awareness Month, HistoriaIme decided to interview some of the members of the trans community coming from different countries. Since we have been focused mostly on the Balkan region, this time we decided to go further. We came across our lovely Svetlana.
She is a transgender woman from Turkey, fierce feminist and sharing her lifestory how she embraced her gender identity.
Coming from Turkey, the first thought crossing our minds would be the innumerable struggles of living as a transgender person in a country like Turkey. On the contrary, Svetlana shared the friendly environment where she lives freely as a transwoman in Turkey. For more details, follow the interview below:
When did you realise that you are a transwoman?
Svetlana is a name that I created when I started to do drag. This happened two years ago, when I came up with the name “Svetlana”. In the meantime, after the creation of Svetlana I started to question my gender. I came to the understanding that Svetlana is more than just a drag queen name, it is someone who I want to be, everyday, every moment.
That is why I struggle to be as much as I can Svetlana in my everyday life rather than S…. I realised that I am a transwoman this summer. So I have started taking hormones this summer.
How did you access these hormones? Have you done any visit to the doctor?
No, I did not go for a visit to the doctor due to the transphobia and they will always convince you that we are not trans. I am taking them on my own because you can access them in every pharmacy and without the doctor prescription. I am fully aware that it would be better to go to a doctor for this process, but I decided to go this way, eventhough there are some doctors who are LGBT+ friendly.
Does your family know about your gender identity?
No, they do not know because I have never come out to them and I do not live with them. I visit my family relatives only twice per year. I didn’t tell them and I don’t know if I will ever tell them. I still feel reluctant. I assume that they won’t react positively towards it.
Maybe when I approach a further stage of my transitioning, before sexual reassingment surgery I will tell them.
What about your studies in the university? Do you express freely your gender identity in the university’s environment?
I study in a progressive university in Turkey. The environment is quite open-minded. I go there with make up, with my wig…I live next to the university building, at the campus. I have never faced harassment from professors, students etc. There is a Sexual Harassment prevention committee within the university but it is also applicable to the whole area around.
They provide advocates, psychological support, application to do emergency call etc.
Have you ever participated in any public manifestation, pride, protest regarding LGBT+ rights in Turkey?
Due to the ban on Pride Parades in Turkey, we usually participate on the Women’s march as the queer allies. We march altogether but we decide during a summer contest for one person who is going to be at the forefront of the queer allies. Next year it will be me, who knows…