This evening's stories are about privacy...or perhaps the lack thereof...especially during transition. Transition is especially a tough time for us as we try to survive the period between when we are identified as a member of one sex and before we become accepted as a member of our target gender.
Up front let me say that I have often been told by people that they think I am very brave to be so outspoken about being a transwoman. I appreciate them telling me that, but the truth is that I had virtually no choice. As a college professor at a state university, if I transitioned, then everyone was going to know. My only option was to give up my profession. And I was not willing to do that.
So we have a story about Devon, a transwoman who went through high school in complete secrecy and Rüzgar a Turkish actor whose recent sex reassignment surgery became fodder for hate speech on Twitter, but was going to be noticed anyway because he was a well-known actress before his surgery.
Devon is now 19, so she is no longer in high school. But she has decided finally that she needs to speak out…to tell her story.
And what better place for her to do that than on the Katie show.
Much of her story was about how her father struggled to accept her.
From the day I could talk I would tell my parents ''mommy daddy, I’m a girl'' there was never a question in my mind, this is who I am.Her father made her wear boys's clothes to school.
I would beg and ask my parents that they would let me be who I truly was... Life with my dad was always a bit of a struggle.
I was like ‘''hey you’re a boy, you can’t be doing this''. It came down to her telling me and with tears '''I can’t help it daddy this is how I am.''At twelve Devon started on a regimen of hormone blockers and began taking female hormones at 14.
It's taken a long time... I had to go into an area that I was not familiar with and let down a lot of walls.
It was a key part in my transition to take these hormones and to acquire the physical body of a female.But her story also was about how, when she was able to go to a new school when she entered high school, nobody knew that she had been born male.
It was like having a clean slate, I could reinvent myself... I won junior class homecoming princess and to me that was the best day of my life.Her father's thought when that happened?
I’m sitting there thinking if this whole place knew what they were looking at.Note how his language usage labels his daughter as a thing, not a person.
Devon has decided that she wants to help others in the same situation…and to do that she has to now speak openly.
Being open is OK with me now... If I can help a young girl or a family accept and love her and help her through a transition that means the world for me.On the other hand, transition can also involve an invasion of privacy…or happen to people for whom privacy is less possible if not being totally not an option.
Rüzgar Erkoçlar recently underwent gender reassignment surgery. At 26 he had developed a life before this transition. He was an actress named Nil.
His family is supportive of his decision.
There is a petition directed at condemning hate speech directed at Rüzgar on Twitter.
Erol Köse disregarded the confidentiality of private life and openly targeted Rüzgar Erkoçlar’s personal rights by disclosing his gender change operation through twitter in a discriminatory manner which attracted hate speech towards him.From what I can discern, Erol Köse is a music producer.
Rüzgar did not do anything bad. We have always supported him. However, some of the news has damaged us a lot. Rüzgar never received death threats. But some people are making that up.Sema says her family would like to find peace. She wants everyone to know that nobody would go through the process her son has for no reason.
--Sema Erkoçlar, his mother
No one wants to live though the pain.Warning: The following video has no sound.
Rüzgar is one of the people featured in a documentary named Benim Çocuğum (MyChild), which was funded through crowd sourcing.
Parents of LGBT’s in Turkey speak out! What happens when your child comes out to you? A feature documentary about five mothers and two fathers of LGBT’s in Istanbul.My Child debuted recently at the !f Istanbul International Independent Film Festival. The movie was directed by Can Candan and features the families (more specifically, seven parents) of LGBT individuals.
There was no room in this vast world for my child!
When I entered into adolescence everything hit me like a ton of bricks. I realized that I liked girls, but I had a women’s body. This was really hard for me.Rüzgar says that as Nil he never had a relationship with a man. He did have some relationships with women but always had to keep them secret.
I felt as if I was born again after the operation. Nil was dead and Rüzgar was born instead.One of the sources describes his sex reassignment as involving a double mastectomy and formation of a penis from part of a leg bone...which is the first time I have heard anything like that. Contrary to popular belief, the penis is not a bone, but a muscle and I have heard of formation of a penis from muscle taken from the thigh...but using bone tissue would seem highly problematic.
I watched it while crying a lot. These are the things that we have gone though. In the past, we entered shops to buy male clothes to say we are buying them for Rüzgar’s father. This is something coming from childhood, this is natal.
Currently, all the news is being reflected in newspapers because Rüzgar is an actor. I have changed his name on my telephone and am not calling him Nil anymore.
I am a believer; I do practice religion also and I know this is natal.
I risked everything by going through this, and I don’t expect everyone to accept me as I am. They are free to accept or refuse me. But I am a man and that is my own reality. Only my body was different. Now I have found myself.
This is my choice, my life, my sexuality. So it doesn’t concern anyone. That’s what I think.