Outrage at Murder of Transgender Activist in Turkey - #HandeKadereSesVer

The world is left reeling at the inhumanity of the murder and rape of transgender woman, Hande Kader. A 23-year-old LBGT activist and sex worker, Kader's death has sparked indignation and a massive protest in Istanbul, Turkey; the horrible circumstances even drew opposition MPs and political leaders to the protest.

In early August, Kader's badly-burned and maimed body was found in the affluent Zekeriyakoy village in the Sariyer district of the Istanbul municipality. She was last seen getting into a car with an unidentified client. Davut Dengiler, Kader's flatmate, identified the body at the city morgue. Before her brutal end, Kader was submitted to torture and repeated rape from a gang.

A hashtag, #HandeKadereSesVer (Give a voice to Hande Kader), started trending on social media last week. The hashtag revolution served as a precursor to the protests on the 21st of August, which were sparked in response to police inaction. Even still, no one has been held responsible for the obscene crime.

During the 2015 Istanbul Pride parade, police came to shut down the event, firing rubber bullets, water cannons, and pepper spray into the gathering crowd. In this moment, Kader became the face for LGBT rights in Turkey, a predominantly Muslim country, as she stood against the police in unyielding resistance. Additionally, she was a regular protester of violence targeted at the trans community and was documented as such. She spoke against journalists for standing by,

"You take pictures, but you do not publish them. No one is hearing our voices."

In Turkey, homosexuality is legal; however, discrimination still exists and homophobia is a very real problem. Similarly to India, transgender men and women are discriminated against so much so that work is a scarce commodity and living arrangements are naught to be found; "They don't give us any jobs, they don't even let us rent a house or a flat in a decent neighbourhood. So we have to go and look for places in crime-ridden neighbourhoods," says trans journalist and activist Michelle Demishevich in an email to The Guardian.

Turkey has the highest documented rate of transgender murders in Europe, according to a speaker at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). Worryingly enough, this issue has become so widespread that there is a documented trail of killings of trans and gender diverse people: the Trans Murder Monitoring (TMM) project.  Murder, suicide, and torture have become a pox, stemming directly from unfounded discrimination and bigotry. In a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, they found that 78% of Turkey thought that homosexuality should be rejected.

This is not the only sexuality-related hate crime befalling Turkey. Just two weeks after Kader's murder, gay Syrian refugee Muhammed Wisam Sankari was found near the same area Kader's body was discovered.

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