Erdogan dines with trans celebrity as Turkish cops supress LGBT protests

Published June 22nd, 2016 - 07:27 GMT
Ersoy enjoys an Iftar with the Turkish President and his wife (Kayhan Özer/AFP)
Ersoy enjoys an Iftar with the Turkish President and his wife (Kayhan Özer/AFP)

On the streets of Istanbul, tear gas, rubber bullets and water canons were the state reception for a gay pride march on Monday.

But in the halls of national power and prestige, a prominent trans celebrity was at the same time enjoying an iftar with none less than President Recep Erdoğan.

Bülent Ersoy, Turkey’s best known transgender celebrity, was among the guests of honour at an iftar hosted by the President’s office and attended by a glittering cast of stars. The star, known as “the Diva”, was photographed enjoying a meal with the President and his wife, just hours after protests for LGBT visibility had violently clashed with police.

Authorities had banned the parade scheduled for June 26, for what they said was security reasons after a spate of bombings across the country, some by Islamist groups. The demonstrators protested in defiance of the ban, and to mark Trans Pride for the beginning of the country’s LGBT week.

Erdogan’s government has been criticised for increasing socially conservative policies in Turkey.

Online, commenters were quick to condemn Ersoy’s double standards, and the fact that she enjoyed a status as an acceptable face of LGBT issues while protesters suffered violence at the hands of the state.

Bulent sister, did you ever ask yourself, I wonder? Why do they find it acceptable to see those causing division? Iftar to the rich, gas to the poor

Bulent Ersoy doesn't care a bit about the LGBT protesters. I guess you forgot you're trans, just breaking into two kilos of meat like a crocodile.

Ersoy isn't the only visible trans star in Turkey: last year, Deva Ozenen became the first transgender person to run for office in the country. 

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