A bathhouse owner has been fined 3,000 Turkish Liras (US$1,212) for refusing a transgender woman entry to the facility.
Ebru Kiranci, a transgender woman, and her female friend were turned away when she tried to enter the 500-year-old traditional Galatasaray bathhouse on Dec 26, 2013 in Istanbul. (Traditional bathhouses in Turkey are typically segregated by gender and are non-sexual.)
Article 122 of the Turkish Penal Code prohibits discrimination based on ‘language, race, colour, sex, political opinion, philosophical belief, religion, sect and similar reasons.’
Owner Ahmet Karaquney reportedly told the women, ‘You absolutely cannot enter here. We don’t let trannies here, go to a bath of your own kind,’ reported Dailyxtra.com citing a Turkish-language news report.
Kiranci, who is a transgender rights activist, officially changed her gender to female 20 years ago.
The legal victory has been hailed a small but significant victory for the LGBT community in the secularly ruled, traditionally Muslim country.
Lawyer Eren Keskin, who represented Kiranci in the case, was quoted as saying that she hopes the verdict ‘will give confidence to trans individuals’ and ‘make life a bit easier’ for transgender people.
Transgender people have been able to legally change their gender in 1988 while homosexual relations were decriminalized than 150 years ago in 1858.