Turkey/UK: Home Office supports man’s transition

March 17, 2010

Via Hürriyet Daily News:

A Turkish transsexual identified as G.O., 33, has been accepted to a gender-reassignment program and granted a residence permit in England, where he fled eight years ago.

[…] G.O will take the name Dennis after the transition is complete.

The United Kingdom Home Office offered its complete support to G.O and agreed to pay him 60,000 pounds as a first installment for the surgery he needs […].

G.O.’s family in the Black Sea region of Turkey is one with many daughters. When asked how his life was before he fled Turkey, G.O said that he never felt like a girl, even in his early childhood. Because he lived in a conservative community, he said, he felt that running away was his only option to escape scrutiny by those societal values.

If he returned to Turkey after the gender-reassignment procedure, G.O said, it would result in his death. He made his case on that basis to the Home Office, which granted him a residence permit allowing him to stay in the U.K.

This report is a rare example of even the usually fair Hürriyet falling prey to what Julia Serano calls trans-objectification (“reducing a person to their body parts rather than viewing them as a whole person” [Via]), which only furthers the marginalisation experienced by trans people – hence my redaction of certain parts of the quoted article. No doubt the more small-c-conservative elements of the British mass media will have a field day with knee-jerk reactionary ‘shock horror outrage’ stories, unfortunately. I can only hope that the likely hate speech will not add to the distress and trauma that Dennis must already have experienced.

But the underlying facts of the story are encouraging, at least. If only there was a way to make these resources available to all trans people resident in Britain, regardless of their backgrounds – and if only Turkey would step up and take responsibility for its own compliance with EU and Human Rights legislation.

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