Tina K. Russell

June 18, 2008

Wrongly Persecuted Transsexuals: Bulent Ersoy

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Tina Russell @ 11:55 am

Transsexual Turkish singer on trial for criticizing military service – International Herald Tribune
A popular transsexual Turkish singer went on trial Wednesday on charges of trying to turn the public against military service.

Bulent Ersoy could face more than two years in prison for saying during a live television show that if she had children, she would not want them to join the army to fight Kurdish rebels.

Military service is obligatory for men over the age of 20 in Turkey, and it is a crime to speak against it.

The European Union, which Turkey wants to join, is pressing Turkey to do away with laws that stifle free expression.

Ersoy, who underwent a sex-change operation in 1981 to become a woman, is one of Turkey’s best-loved singers. She was barred from appearing on stage during the 1980s following a military coup by generals who disapproved of her.

In an indictment against Ersoy, prosecutor Ali Cakir accused the singer of “alienating the public toward military service” and of affecting the morale of the soldiers and their families. He asked that the singer be punished with between nine and 30 months in prison.

Imagine if the Dixie Chicks were legally threatened with jail time, and you’ll see how absurd this is.

(Memo to Agance-France Presse: Do you really need to begin the headline and article with that she’s transsexual? Obviously, I put “transsexual” in the headline, but that’s because of this blog that I run. I’d guess the point is that she’s being persecuted for exercising freedom of speech, not that she’s transsexual, but I have a personal stake in societal acceptance of transsexuality as normal, so what do I know?)

(Memo to Turkish government: Heavy-handed crackdowns on dissent insult Turkishness more than any plain-spoken popstar ever could.)

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