Via Bianet (link here):
The Prime Ministerial Board for Broadcasts/Publications Harmful to the Underaged has decided that the book “Third Class Woman” (Üçüncü Sınıf Kadın”) written by Anıl Alacaoğlu cannot be sold to under-18-year-olds and cannot be advertised.
The book, so the author, is about “the loves, sexual experiences, separations, discrimination and problems experienced by a transsexual from childhood into their twenties.”
Alacaoğlu said that the ban on the book was “a result of the mentality that presumes that children cannot be homosexual or transsexual.”
“I expected some negative reactions towards the book, but the notification we received made me worried about the outdated restrictions the book faces.”
The author said that he found out from a newspaper that his book had been considered harmful. He was sent a notification ten days later. It reads:
“It praises homosexuality, which Turkish society does not accept as moral, and anal relations with people of the same sex, which is again not normal for Turkish traditions and customs. Of course such abnormal and perverted relations would affect the mental development of children negatively.”
Alacaoğlu argues that this mentality wants to prevent children from discovering their sexual orientations or identities.
“They don’t want children to judge for themselves. They are trying to prevent them from questioning and discovering themselves and trying to keep them uninformed by banning books, films and Internet websites.”
“There is a growing LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) movement in Turkey. This ban is part of the mentality that feels uncomfortable with it.”
The writer said he was not frightened by the ban. “On the contrary, I am happy that I have shared my discomfort, and the discomfort of many others like me, with the public. There is something to be taken serious there.”
Alacaoğlu describes himself as part of the LGBT movement in Turkey. He said that the ban has motivated him to focus on LGBT issues in his second book, too.
The problem with this act of censorship is not only that it’s attempting to suppress thoughts and ideas, freedom of expression (and that in itself is another breach of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights) – but that it’s yet another act of violence against trans people.
I have written too many times about the war being waged against trans women in Turkey (see links below). We have seen state-sanctioned violence carried out by the police as well as citizens, up to and including murder – surely the most final and unarguable form of censorship there is.
Historically, censoring something because it’s perceived to be a threat to “public morals” (read ‘taboo’) is perhaps the most common (and arguably least successful) form of a ban that there is and it’s disappointing that the Turkish thought police have added this weapon to their armoury. But this blatant censorship is just one more battle to be fought – and fight it we will.
Like many cis people, what the censors don’t seem to understand is that it isn’t possible to silence every single trans voice, either by censorship or by murder. These acts of violence are as pointless as they’re unacceptable.
Trans people have been around as long as cis people. Trans people have as much right to exist as cis people. We have as much right to civil liberties and human rights as cis people. We’re not going away and it’s time cis people started to deal with that.
Previous related posts:
- Human rights violations against LGBT individuals in Turkey in 2008 (August 9, 2009)
- Turkey: trials in connection with the murders of two trans women now under way (July 9, 2009)
- Unsafe haven: LGBT asylum seekers and refugees in Turkey (July 8, 2009)
- Turkey – new Chief of Police for Istanbul. Will this bring an end to the “undeclared war” against trans women? (June 15, 2009)
- Turkish policemen on trial for attack on trans woman (May 29, 2009)
- Turkey: another trans woman stabbed to death – UPDATE (May 29, 2009)
- Turkey: another trans woman stabbed to death (May 25, 2009)
- Turkish parliament questioned on trans safety (May 12, 2009)
- Lambda Istanbul granted permission to continue operating (May 7, 2009)
- Suspected murderer of trans rights activist arrested in Turkey (April 21, 2009)
- Every 15 days, another trans person is murdered in Turkey (April 14, 2009)
- The undeclared war against LGBTT people in Turkey continues (March 29, 2009)
- Another trans woman murdered in Turkey (March 14, 2009)
- Trans woman stabbed to death in Istanbul (March 12, 2009)
- Lambda Istanbul wins appeal against closure (January 28, 2009)
- Trans rights abuses in Turkey (November 29, 2008)
Curtsey to Stefani for the heads-up