25 Jul 2018

Turkish trans student urgently needs surgery

A Turkish medicine student has launched a crowdsourcing campaign for her sex reassignment surgery. She wants to get her new ID before she graduates, because otherwise she might not be able to practice medicine.

Ans Boersma
Ans Boersma NewsMavens, Turkey
Turkish trans student urgently needs surgery - NewsMavens
Fantasy face, PixaBay

Why this story matters:

As a transgender person in Turkey, you first have to undergo the surgery before you can change the gender on your identity card. Toprak (22) has two years before she graduates. That's why she has started a crowdfunding campaign.

Although insurance covers the surgery, there is no doctor doing the surgery Toprak needs within the scope of her insurance coverage. In the interview below, she explains why she needs a specialist. Operations "involving the creation of something such as vaginoplasty are very risky", says Toprak. Two years ago a transgender woman died during the surgery.

Toprak says that doctors in Turkey have a very limited knowledge about the transgender transition procedure, because Turkish medical schools do not cover it. 

Transgenders face hate speech and violence in Turkey and tcountry has the highest transgender murder rate in Europe. This month a man shot his girlfriend in Turkey after he found out she was a trans woman. He committed the murder because "his manhood was humiliated". Mediaoutlet Bianet reported that two other transgender people were killed in 2017. 

Details from the story:

  • "For transgender people, the most important problem on the diploma is the name. We have to change our names before graduating. If you change it afterwards, there will not remain any indication showing that the diploma is yours; it is as if the diploma automatically becomes invalid," Toprak states in the interview. 
  • Toprak started a crowdfunding campaign in order to finance the surgery. She cannot turn to her family for support. After she came out, they have refused to meet with her. 
  • The medical student wants to "break prejudices and demonstrate what trans women can achieve". Her dream? "A world in which trans people succeed, and are not being burned to death."
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