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Trans prisoner denied gender affirming surgery goes on hunger strike in Turkey

Trans prisoner denied gender affirming surgery goes on hunger strike in Turkey

two women sitting at a desk draped in a trans flag

A trans prisoner in Turkey has gone on yet another hunger strike as her pleas for gender affirming surgery go ignored.

Buse has been in prison for 23 years after receiving a life sentence at the age of 22. She revealed her gender identity while incarcerated in the men’s prison where she remains. Buse has requested to have the surgery multiple times but had her requests denied.

Last year, a court ruled that preventing Buse from getting gender affirming surgery adversely affected her mental health.

But then the Ministry of Justice stepped in to overrule the decision after it received a petition calling for her surgery to be blocked. Hundreds of people descended on the Tekirdağ F Type Men’s Prison where Buse is in jail to protest the decision.

After that decision Buse started a hunger strike which lasted more than 31 days.

‘I don’t want to live with this body anymore. It’s not certain how long I will live or whether I will get out of prison,’ she said at the time.

Save Buse

Another former trans inmate, Diren Coşkun, who was incarcerated in the same jail as Buse, said the surgery was critical to her friend’s survival.

‘Gender affirming surgery is a vital issue for trans people who want to begin the transition process. This has been documented by medical practitioners and the courts,’ she said.

‘Kadın Buse is a transgender woman who has spent more than 20 years in prison. She filed this case in court and won.

‘Buse’s body may be in prison, but her body is not imprisoned.’

Coşkun urged people to take to social media to plead for Buse’s case.

Buse started her latest hunger strike on 31 January and it is now its third week.

Activists pointed out that denying Buse her right to gender affirming surgery violated Article 40 of the Turkish Civil Code. That article states that a person is able to officially change their gender with permission from the court and approval from the Medical Board. Buse has both.