Mother Pınar is 52 years old. She was born in Kayseri (Mid Anatolian Turkey) and travelled many different cities of Turkey while growing up as a daughter of a soldier. She was raised in a traditional family with “homorable woman”, “not to come home after it’s dark” kind of myths and of course with sins, taboos and disgraces like many of woman in her generation. She was married at the age of 22 without fooling around with guys. Many years later she was divorced. After a risky brain surgery operation, when she came home, her son tell her that her female soul was trapped in a male body, she went through an journey of illumination. This is a process which leds her to build the LISTAG group with another Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transvestite and Transsexual parents.
LİSTAG (Families of LGBTs in İstanbul) is a voluntary suppport and solidarity group for families and friends of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans people in Turkey since January 2008
Gays of Turkey asks Mother Pınar about this eye-opening ride.
-You’ve had a risky brain surgery operation and your enlightment process started after that, right?
Yes, i’ve had my operation in 2006. I can say i was about to “see the light”. When i was in the intensive care unit, i’ve questioned my life. I came to a conclusion that life’s too short to worry about your useless obligations, sorrows and all that stuff. So i was –in a way- ready for my son’s shocking confession, but I did’nt know that yet.
– And when you came home after your healing process, the big confession came…
Yes, he(she) said, if something happens to me, he won’t be able to live with my mom (his grandma) and my ex-husband. So he came out to me that day. Just after i came home.
-Have you noticed his (her) special condition?
No I was’nt but i was feeling it in a way. But we don’t know such a thing then. I mean there’s no concept of “gays” in our mind. We just know this: You’re a boy, play football. Don’t act like a girl. Don’t play with dolls”
What we know is, there’s a woman and a man. They get married and have kids. Men tries to replicate their fathers and women tries to copy their mothers. The feminine guys, homos, faggots are “perverts” for our opinion back then.
Everything in this life is based on incompatibility. I mean if heterosexuality exists than it’s opposite shall exist too. We’ve realised this matter after we took this journey with our kids.
-In my opinion, parents oppose the thought of having a gay /lesbian/transsexual child because they want to protect them
That’s the main issue yes but the primary thought at that moment is “what will the people say?” infact. We usually do “everything” for “the people”. It’s not common only in our society. Also in the world, mostly in Mediterrenean countries. We have control issues. We are control freaks about ourselves. And also we are extremely attached to each other, so attached that we cannot raise a healthy individual.
-Did you ever think that this condition is a result of “childhood trauma” (like all the homophobes or ignorant people used to say)?
No, no such thing happened. If your child tells you that his body is different than his soul, you think that if someone raped him before or does he have a mental disease. Thousands of question comes to your mind. To find the right answers can take time but you must be sure of one thing first, nobody pretends to be like this. Nobody wants to be humilitated in the street, no one can fall on something like this just because they are spoiled.
-You’ve tried to handle this situation right and “solve” the problem. But you were stil in denial. Then one day a doctor tells you that “People can born one way and die in another way. Your child is a transsexual”
Yes that was a slap in the face. I was not thinking about transgender or etc at first.I’ve cried so hard. But at that moment the son i used to know is dead and my daughter is born. But not immediately. She was in purgatory in a while. The world that she was born to is very dark at that moment.
-And your parents, her grandmother and grandfather, how did they react?
My dreams were always postponed and disregarded by my parents because of the “what will people say?”thought. At the moment i’ve realised that i have a transsexual child, i had to make choice. Will i choose “the people” or “my child”? I picked my child. I decided to walk this way with my child, not behind or in front of her but beside her, because i am gonna learn everything with her.
-How was this transition process?
I’ve kept my child away from the enviroment infact. In this time being she knitted her cocoon. She was a silkworm. We’ve tried to make her a butterfly. My child went out of home that she was a man before like Paris Hilton. I was with her. Nobody could say anything because i am her mother and i was walking beside her.
When i’ve learned about this situation first, i was scared to death. I got no one to talk to. I felt i am the only transsexual’s parent in this world. I don’t want anyone to suffer like me. I wanted to be “visible”. So, 1 father and 3 mothers have built this group to help all clueless LGBT parents.
Our main goal is to relieve their stress. Especially the mother’s. They come to visit us from all over Turkey. If their child is the issue, the distance does not matter. We advise them not to estrange their child. Because the process after the “coming out” is very delicate. They must be very careful. The LGBT individuals who cannot gain acceptance from their family can easily take the wrong turns in their life.
Of course, all the parents cannot understand our attitude at first. They may think that “are they perverts too?” But we try to tell them that we’ve walked the same path.
No they did’nt. They cannot do this infact. You know why?
Our secretary of Family and Children, Mrs.Fatma Şahin, i like her (she giggles). She wants to protect the family and the children. Me and my children is also a “ family” and i want to protect them. So she cannot come out against to my demand.
We tried to show them that our LGBT children are not alone and we are supporting them. And also we reminded them that if they need us when they are making changes about this matter in the constitutional law, all of our group would always be there to help.
-I hope that they need you and give you a call. They musn’t ignore your contribution
It’s important to say that we are here. I am a mother also like anyone else. Do i have to give birth to a heterosexual child necessarily?
I am so proud of LISTAG members and so greatful for their support on my behalf. Thanks to Mother Pınar for this great interview.