Şerife and Belgin talk with Kaos-GL about the situation of intersex people in Turkey, bodily interventions without consent and the influences of these on activism.
You can read this interview also on http://intersexday.org/en/intersex-activism-turkey/
Why is intersex awareness important?
Belgin: Intersex awareness is important because intersex people are the most invisible sexual minority group. This is changing nowadays thanks to efforts like Intersex Awareness Day. On this year’s awareness day, as part of the UN “Free & Equal” campaign, a video about intersex has been published for the first time.
Intersex problems originate from invisibility, secrecy, shame and unawareness. Society, governments and even medical professionals don’t know the problems and needs of intersex people. Our right of self-determination is violated, intersex individiuals are condemned to secrecy and silence, so it’s essential to create awareness about intersex. Bu yazının devamını oku
Translation from Turkish: Öner Ceylan
Today, for the 19th time, intersex people, survivors of forced surgical operations, lovers, spouses, families, friends and allies all over the world are celebrating the Intersex Awareness Day and commemorating the first ever intersex protest in the world that took place in Boston on October 26, 1996.
What we did in Turkey Bu yazının devamını oku
For Turkish: https://intersexualshalala.wordpress.com/2011/05/07/cinsiyet-cografyasinin-tampon-bolgesi-intersex/
First Publication Date in Turkish: 07/05/2011
In the light of personal experiences…
Intersex individuals are not just a bunch of reality show materials, they are between us and they are silent. They are the least spoken part of queer world. Most of them live as heterosexual, homosexual, married or single and ordinary citizens. But all of them carry bitter memories, deep traumas. I’ve never met another intersex individual but i’m an intersex and i know that all of us are wounded both physically and emotionally. I know all the things we’ve been through at the cost of normalization.
With these text, my aim is not to expose myself or not to remind myself my bad memories. I write because i want to leave the things that choking me up and that hurts me, behind. Silence poisons us and the antidote is speaking, saying “i exist”. I write because i want you to know what an intersex individiual live. Bu yazının devamını oku
Source: Şerife, “Köyde interseks bir çocuk olmak,” (“To Be an Intersex Child in a Village,”) İnterseksüel ŞaLaLa, 1 October 2013, https://intersexualshalala.wordpress.com/2013/10/01/koyde-interseks-bir-cocuk-olmak/
Do you know what it is like to be an intersex person in Anatolia, in a village in Turkey? I know that pain, I know what it is like to be the kid who got called names or heard a mother’s sigh when she was asked about it.. Listen to it from someone like me who once could not speak Turkish at all.
I guess I was 5 or 6 years old, I remember some women from our village and my mother forcing me to lie down and touching me between my legs while I was crying and screaming, making comments like they were doctors. They were consoling my mother by saying: ‘’Look, it is right there. Doctors will open it with the grace of God’’ and my mother would agree with them with gratitude and say, ‘’Amen, please God.’’
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Source: Lambdaistanbul, “Kız görünümlü erkek, erkek görünümlü kız değil: İNTERSEKS!,” (“Not a girl that looks like a boy or a boy that looks like a girl: INTERSEX!”) 1 October 2013, http://www.lambdaistanbul.org/s/etkinlik/kiz-gorunumlu-erkek-erkek-gorunumlu-kiz-degil-interseks/
During the Gezi Resistance in June, a significant part of society clearly saw how the media can be prejudiced, manipulative, and can choose to ignore certain things. However, this has always been the case for groups who have been made “the other” or silenced. Mainstream media has always ignored what women, unrecognized ethnic groups, LGBT people have said, done and experienced or turned them into circus freaks who can be abused. In general, these groups have tried to overcome this problem by creating their own alternative media outlets. On the other hand, one group has remained more silent, more invisible than the others. They could not even create a safe ghetto, a sub culture to exist in. We will tell you more about intersex people.
Intersex people are born with biological gender differences. They are called hermaphrodites by science, and the public use vulgar colloquial terms that denote an androgenous or monoclinous nature to describe them. Intersex people are living with the loneliness and pain caused by being invisible and the fear of being labeled if they become visible. Last week, mainstream media surprised us by showing us an example of how one can be ignored and labeled at the same time. In a widely publicized story, “He became a boy at age 10,” from Anadolu Agency sources, the experience of an intersex child called R.Y. was reported, without once using the word ‘intersex’ and instead using phrases like “originally a fertile girl,” “a girl that looks like a boy or a boy that looks like a girl” as if R.Y. was a product in a store. R.Y. was operated on without permission or receiving counselling. Not only was the uninformed child subjected to a harsh medical procedure without their opinion or consent, they also became the plaything of the media that used an incorrect and harsh language.
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