Celebrities and women’s rights associations in Turkey have condemned an attempted attack on Selin Ciğerci, a transexual woman, businesswoman and social media celebrity, by a crowd gathered outside a beauty salon she owns in Konya, a conservative city in central Turkey, Turkish Minute reported.
Ciğerci, who acquired fame through social media, owns a cosmetic products firm and the “Selin Beauty” salon chain.
The incident took place on Sunday, when Ciğerci visited the city to attend the opening of a new branch of her salon business. Dozens of people gathered in front of the shop shouted “Get out of Konya” and “We don’t want Selin Ciğerci in Konya,” according to local media reports.
The group then attempted to enter the store, apparently to attack Ciğerci. They were stopped by the police, who then closed the beauty salon for security reasons.
Musicians and women’s rights associations in Turkey have condemned the people from Konya for discriminating against a successful businesswoman.
“We are completely against this attitude towards Selin Ciğerci. … If a protest needs to be held, it should be for individuals who are murdered, raped or psychologically or verbally abused. … We want all forms of discrimination to be a crime,” singer Aleyna Tilki said in a tweet.
Turkish singer and songwriter Edis also condemned the protest against Ciğerci, saying it was “fascist, discriminatory and transphobic.”
“This is shocking anger at a person who is harming no one. Are we never going to change? Will we never learn to love someone for being human?” Turkish singer, songwriter, dancer and actress Zeynep Bastık said in an Instagram story, using the hashtag #selinciğerciyalnızdeğildir (Selin Ciğerci is not alone).
The Turkish Federation of Women’s Organizations (TKDF) said in a tweet that they are addressing all those who “feed this crime with the language of hate, stand by the attack and applaud the hatred” when they say, “Transgender rights are human rights! Selin Cigerci is not alone!”
Another women’s rights organization, the We Will Stop Femicide Platform (KCDP), also expressed support for Ciğerci, saying she has done nothing to deserve such a protest.
“We will continue to stand against those who try to prevent our life and freedom with sexist, discriminatory and racist attacks!” women’s group Mor Dayanışma (Purple Solidarity) also tweeted.
Hate crimes and harassment against the transexual community are common in Turkey, but other members of the LGBT community are also targeted by conservative politicians and law enforcement. The government has been using increasingly harsh rhetoric towards the LGBT+ community.
In February 2021 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said there was no “such thing as LGBT” and that the country was “moral, and it will work with these values.” Erdoğan blasted the LGBT+ movement as incompatible with Turkey’s values.
Homosexuality is not illegal in Turkey, but homophobia is widespread. While there are no official figures, Turkey has slid down the LGBT rights index published by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA). In 2021, it was ranked 48th out of the 49 countries ILGA lists in its Eurasia region.