Post submitted by Associate Director, HRC Global, Jordan Long.

The body of Hande Kader, a prominent LGBTI activist and transgender woman, was found mutilated and burned in a residential neighborhood in Turkey.

Kader was a dedicated advocate for the LGBTI community in Istanbul. When Istanbul Pride was canceled in 2015, Kader was at the forefront of demonstrations demanding protection of the LGBTI community through the historic pride celebration. According to the BBC, Kader was detained at least once as she demanded the right for her and her community to peacefully assemble in Taksim Square.

Chloe Schwenke, a human rights activist and longtime friend of HRC, reflected on Kader’s untimely death in a moving blog post:

“Life for transgender people is hard everywhere. We struggle to find and hold employment, to get access to health care, or to find adequate housing. We struggle to experience safety and to be treated with respect. It’s bad enough to be considered a non-person under the law, and hence unable to participate in the economy, travel, marry, or (in Houston, Texas and some U.S. states) use the public restrooms, but that’s only the surface of a much larger problem. The very presence of transgender people often triggers in those around us who aren’t transgender some deeply buried insecurities and biases about sexuality and gender. These unresolved demons remain entrenched in such people’s psyches, but they make themselves manifest through strident and often vicious stigmatization, humiliation, persecution, exclusion, violence, and even acts of murder targeted at transgender persons. Right here in the United States the levels of violence experienced by transgender women of color are at horrific levels, and are still rising.”

HRC Global has worked closely with activists in Turkey after hosting a fellow from Turkey as part of HRC Global’s Fellowship program. In partnership with the SPoD, an Istanbul-based LGBTI advocacy organization, HRC Global is supporting efforts to adapt HRC’s Municipal Equality Index for use in Turkey.

In recent years, the world has witnessed an increased crackdown on LGBTI organizing in Turkey, including the violent suppression of Istanbul Trans Pride this past June and the cancellation of Istanbul Pride a week later.

Learn more about HRC's work to strengthen the global LGBTQ equality movement through public education, advocacy, fellowships, partnerships and research by visiting www.hrc.org/global.

Read Schwenke’s full blog post and analysis here.


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